Nurturing yourself takes practice; learning self-love

Written by Amie on January 17, 2014 – 3:22 am -

You won’t have to try so hard

Learning self-love and self nurture takes practice. Loving and nurturing yourself doesn’t mean you have to forget everyone else in your life. It just means that you begin being kind to yourself internally and you begin taking your own needs and feelings into account. This is not done by “thinking positive” or by avoiding “negative” things. Yes, it helps to think positive and it helps to avoid negative situations whenever possible. However, usually when someone says, “think positive”, this means ignore your truth and pretend as though everything is great! This creates resentment, self-hate, and more dysfunction. The first step to creating a life that feels positive is to learn self-love and self-nurture. Once you begin loving yourself, you will automatically think positive and avoid negativity. You won’t have to try so hard. I don’t want to make it sound like learning to love yourself is simple and it happens overnight. Mostly, that doesn’t happen. It is a process of “unlearning” conditioned thoughts and beliefs, and then discovering your true thoughts and beliefs.

The root of self love

Once you begin discovering your true beliefs, things will start to fall into place. You will not want to be around people who tell you to ,”just think positive! Stop dwelling on the negative and maybe you won’t feel depressed”, or “do something fun for yourself and that might help you feel happy”. None of these work long term. The root of self love is pure acceptance of who you really are at your core. Pure acceptance of who you really are means you voice your truth, you own your experiences, you inquire into what your conditioned beliefs are and your question everything! Self-love happens gradually as you begin discovering and revealing your truth. Self-love will gradually happen as you begin uncovering the conditioned beliefs that are at the root of self-hate.

Self-hate is an accumulation of traumas, conditioned beliefs, unhealthy messages received both verbally and non-verbally, dysfunctional environments, lack of feeling safe, lack of being nurtured, not feeling free to be who you really are, not feeling safe to voice your needs, and many others possibilities depending on your situation. We are not born hating ourselves, we learn to hate ourselves because of the situations mentioned above. Learning self-love means undoing all of these learned dysfunctions.

How to begin the process of self- love?

To begin the process of learning to love yourself, you must first own your experience. You most definitely were not responsible for the negative situations that happened to you. However, this is YOUR life, and in order to learn to love yourself, you must own it. All of it. Is this easy? No! Does this mean you shouldn’t feel angry? Absolutely not! Anger is usually a huge part of the process of healing. Once you allow yourself to feel what is underneath the anger, you start getting to those things I mentioned above. You start questioning your beliefs that were given to you. You truly are allowed to feel your feelings! Depression and self hate will stay with you as long as you keep denying your truth. Its okay to feel angry! It is what you do with your anger that is important. Learn to get underneath the anger. What is really under the anger? Disappointment? Sadness? Fear? Journaling can be helpful in this situation. Owning your experience may include allowing yourself to become angry with those who wronged you. (This does not mean you have to confront them, unless you feel it would help your process. But most of the time, there are other ways to get through this without having to confront them. If the people who wronged you are still in a dysfunctional state, you may end up more hurt by speaking to them, because they are not going to be able to really “hear you”. ) Most people have great intentions, sometimes they are just not capable of giving the love others need. I have compassion for them, I really do. But, this absolutely does not mean I don’t have a right to heal by going through the process of being angry. Going through it is the only way to heal, in my opinion. Once you get through the anger, it can be released and you can move on.

your nurturing guidance

Once you own your experience, you can begin practicing other ways to love yourself. This will feel “weird” for awhile, but that is only because it is different and you aren’t used to it. Let it be “your little secret”. You don’t have to tell anyone what you are doing unless you trust that they will accept you exactly as you are. One very  important step in learning to love yourself is cultivating a loving, gentle voice inside you. This voice only speaks love and gentleness to you. It is your nurturing guidance. If you are upset, use this voice to comfort yourself. This takes practice! And it takes time and practice to even remember to do it! Other ways to practice self-love are to learn to meditate. This will connect you with the loving presence that is always available to you. Learn to sit in silence. Make a list of activities or things you have always loved but never allow yourself to make time to do. Do these things as often as possible, even when that conditioned voice inside is saying you don’t deserve to take time to do something you love. If the voice of self-hate pops in, tell it no thank you, I got this one! Journal every day. If you are afraid someone will find it, just promise yourself that after you write, you will burn it or throw it away, and then do that. This cultivates self-trust. Very important.

begin your journey to self-love

It is unfortunate that most people have to learn how to love themselves, but this is where we are, so there is less suffering if we accept it, and then own what we need to do in order to heal. It is possible to love yourself, I promise! It takes time, gentleness, patience, acceptance, and practice, practice, practice! The more you listen to what is going on in your thoughts and you question where they come from, the easier it will get for you to begin to change them. It helps me to sing (or scream sing!), dance, move, exercise…anything that will help me feel the sensation (emotions) in my body and release them. It helps to remind yourself that you are absolutely not a victim any longer! You are your own best friend, you are loved no matter what, always, and you are capable of undoing the conditioned junk that you learned. Nurturing yourself will become second nature once you become aware, and begin your journey to self-love.

 

I absolutely love this song right now! Let your truth be heard!!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Awareness, Depression, healing from depression, Nurture yourself, Self hate, Self-love | 2 Comments »

“It could be so much worse”; words used to diminish your experience

Written by Amie on August 3, 2013 – 3:20 am -

Diminishing my feelings

A few years ago in therapy I uncovered a conditioned belief that was ingrained very deep inside me. It came with the message, “be thankful, you don’t have it nearly as bad as many other people have it, it could be so much worse.”  This message felt so real to me that I also began to use it against myself. I would remind myself, “this isn’t that bad, you shouldn’t feel so bad because you know there are other people who have it way worse than you do.” It took me a long time to dissect the shame and guilt wrapped up in this little package of words that was used by others in my life to try to diminish my feelings and experiences. I believe these words were said with a goal in mind. (maybe on a subconscious level, maybe not). The goal in my opinion, was to allow the person saying these words to remain in denial. If only I would just stay quiet, if I would just swallow my thoughts and feelings about any given situation, if only I would just pretend that everything is “normal”, then the people around me could remain in denial. If I spoke the truth about the dysfunctional behavior, others might be forced to face the truth of certain situations.

how do you define “worse” in this situation?

This phrase has popped up again a couple of times in the last few months. I thought I would write about my experience because I’m thinking there are others who are familiar with these words and are in the process of figuring out why they trigger a feeling of shame or maybe anger. I want to validate your feelings of confusion around this.  If someone tries to diminish your experiences and emotions by telling you, “it could be so much worse”, please know they are trying to avoid facing something in themselves. These words are used when someone is trying to avoid feeling their own truth, when someone is denying what is true in their life. These words are used to project a person’s discomfort onto the person speaking the truth, in hopes of lessening their own inner feelings of truth. Your feelings are valid, you have a right to feel as you feel, no matter how bad other people have it. There are always going to be people who have things worse than you do, or I do,etc.  Also, how do you define “worse” in this situation? That could be another discussion by itself!  The fact that someone else may “have it worse” doesn’t change your feelings! You have a right to your feelings no matter what someone else’s situation is. (and feeling your feelings and talking about them does not mean you don’t have compassion for others and their experiences).

guess what happens when a person keeps “shutting up”? 

It took me so long to understand what was really going on when I was told to “be thankful, it could be worse”. I internalized shame and guilt when I heard these words. I felt ashamed that I could be “so selfish” as to think *my* feelings should matter. Who was I to think I could have any issues at all when there were so many others whose issues were way worse than mine! I am so grateful I figured this out and unraveled the insanity of this brilliant little phrase used to manipulate and control. I was able to step back to see the big picture. By diminishing my experience, it shut me up. When I shut up, others around me could stay in denial. If I shut up, we could keep playing the pretend game of “everything is so great! our situation is normal! I didn’t do or say anything hurtful.” And guess what happens when a person keeps “shutting up”? Depression. In a big way. By being told numerous times that my experiences and feelings were nothing compared to others, I internalized the message, “I don’t matter, my voice does not matter. If I keep everything inside, it will make others happy”. And so I learned to not “rock the boat”.

until I started rocking the boat

That is, until I started rocking the boat. And really, “rocking the boat” to me just means I started speaking up and saying what is true for me. I think of this as a positive thing, but not everyone agrees. Some are not yet willing to own their words and actions, and that’s okay, I understand. But that doesn’t mean I am going to stop saying what’s true for me. And it doesn’t mean I will go back to pretending all is well. It is interesting that if a person is not ready to hear the truth, they instead decide to blame the people who are speaking their truth. The message being sent is something along the lines of, “if you speak up and tell the truth, you are a bad person. You are a trouble maker, why can’t you just “forgive”, *you* are ruining relationships, it is your fault we are divided.” This is unfortunate, and sad.

All I really want

Because I remember very vividly what it feels like to protect myself at all costs, I understand being in denial and I understand not wanting to feel the pain of my experiences and truths. Because of this, I really can’t be angry with people who are not ready to face their pain (even though it could mean an end to their suffering). Being vulnerable and taking ownership of your experiences is not easy work. It can be very difficult, in fact. But it is part of being a healthy human being. Feeling the pain of things we are faced with in life is part of the process while on the path to finding the truth of who we really are. It is part of the process of taking back the power we give away when we suppress our emotions so that someone else can remain in denial. All I really want from others is for them to show up in an authentic way and to be vulnerable enough to own their experiences.

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Awareness, Depression, healing from depression, Help with depression, Self-love | 3 Comments »
RSS