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By Jaclyn Durnil, MSW – Dec. 3, 2019

“If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy.” – Kristen Chenowith

Why is it so difficult to love ourselves? Basically, the short answer to this question is that we were raised in a society that didn’t teach us about self-love. This may not seem very important to some, but self-love is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Loving yourself provides you with self-confidence, self-worth, and in general, you feel more positive. If you can learn to love yourself, you will feel happier and will learn to take better care of yourself.

Looking in the mirror, most of us see a lot of different flaws and remember too many past experiences and failings to love ourselves. The less you love yourself, listen to yourself, and understand yourself, the more confused, upset, and frustrated you will be in life. When you begin to love yourself and continue to love yourself more and more each day, things slowly will be a little bit better in every way possible.

Unfortunately, self-love isn’t always easy. 

Accepting the pain and allowing yourself to be honest with who you are is a big step to loving yourself. Forgive yourself for past actions and things you are ashamed of doing.

Carrying a lot of negative emotions like jealousy, disgust, and rage can have a negative impact. We need to learn how to accept not only the emotions that create love, joy, and happiness but also the ones that cause fear, insecurity, and anger in our lives.

While we need to learn how to acknowledge and accept the pain with the love, another step is reconciling with a cold and unopened heart. Asking yourself if you fully love yourself can be very difficult because you must accept your flaws and faults.

Love is something we choose, the same way we choose anger, hate, or sadness. We have the power to forgive someone who has hurt us in the past. We can learn to finally heal from something when we can forgive. We can always choose love.

Learning to love yourself leads to better self-care. Examples of this could be taking a break from time to time and accepting that no one is perfect and things happen.

Another example could be saying no to others when you really don’t have the time or energy to say yes. We often do too much for other people because we want to please everyone. We can forget to look after ourselves and then we become overwhelmed.

Today is the day you can love yourself completely with no expectations. Making the choice right now to choose your own love is the most powerful healing force you have.

By Jaclyn Durnil, MSW, January 15, 2019 –

Telling a child that someone has died can be difficult. Most children are aware of death, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they understand it.

Children may have seen someone die on television or in a movie, or some of their friends may have lost a loved one.

Experiencing grief can be a confusing and scary process for kids.  Grieving is a set of emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and physical reactions that can vary depending on the individual and the nature of the loss.

During the grieving process children may have a difficult time processing the actual event and coping with the loss of the loved one. One of the primary feelings can be fear – fear of not knowing what can happen in the future or fear of the unknown.

Some children might have a more difficult time with the grieving process. It’s very important to be patient and understanding. Long-term denial of death or avoiding grief can be unhealthy for children. Grief can easily resurface and cause more severe problems.

Children experiencing grief may exhibit these types of behaviors:

  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Regression to younger behaviors, such as separation anxiety
  • Expressing a desire to be with the deceased person
  • Lack of interest in playing with friends
  • Changes in grades or school behavior
  • Loss of interest in activities that once excited them

Children are constantly learning and growing and may revisit the grief process several times. Events such as birthdays, graduation, holidays, etc. may be difficult for children at times.  There is no “normal” period of time for someone to grieve.

Simply being present and attentive to a child who is grieving will help as they express their feelings.  At times children may worry about how their parents or caregivers are adjusting. Children may find it safer and easier to talk with someone else such as a teacher, friend, Youth First Social Worker in their school, etc.

No one can prevent a child’s grief, but simply being a source of stability and comfort can be very helpful.  Very young children often do not understand that death is a permanent thing and may they think that a dead loved one will eventually come back.

For many children, the death of a pet will be their first experience with grief. They build a connection with their pet that is very strong, and when they no longer have that bond, it can be extremely upsetting. It is important to let the child grieve for their pet instead of immediately replacing the pet with a new animal.

During that period is an opportunity to teach the child about death and how to deal with grieving in a healthy and emotionally supportive way.  At times, children may seem unusually upset as they are unable to cope with grief, which can lead to adjustment disorder.

Adjustment disorder can be a serious and upsetting condition that some children develop after going through a difficult event. If a child is not recovering from a loss in a healthy way, it is important to consult with your child’s doctor.