Learning self acceptance and self love

Written by Amie on July 3, 2013 – 10:12 pm -

the messages that we should not love ourselves “too much”

Learning to love yourself is the single most important lesson. I do not believe a person can fully love someone else or be happy in life if they don’t love themselves. Think about most of the conditioning we receive. It is usually about how we should “be nice”, how we should always think of the other person first, we shouldn’t be too cocky, we shouldn’t come across as being a “know it all”, blah blah blah.  And, I won’t get into how many religions point to the attitude that we should always consider other people before ourselves, we should not speak up too much as it might hurt someone’s feelings, we should listen to the “authority” figure because they were the chosen ones and they know more than you do (they are special and you aren’t), I could go on and on, but you get the idea. We are conditioned from a very young age with the messages that we should not love ourselves “too much”, or others will think we have a “big ego”. Think about how many times you were shining in your own beautiful way and you were shut down, either verbally or non verbally. Think about how many times you were conditioned to feel ashamed if you started getting “too (fill in your word) for your own good”. Think how many times you felt as though you shouldn’t “shout too loud” about something you were proud of because it might make someone else “feel bad”. Again, I could go on and on.

caterpillars

the light we were BORN TO BRING TO THIS WORLD

I am saying all of this to help you see how you may have been conditioned to believe that you aren’t worthy of being happy and loved. So many negative messages are thrown at kids from a very young age (not always, but it was the norm for a very long time and still is for many children). We are more easily accepted in our society if we go along with the status-quo, not rocking the boat too much by shining our own beautiful light. The light we were BORN TO BRING TO THIS WORLD!!!! We are actually conditioned away from realizing our true selves! So to love yourself can feel “wrong” or “bad” to many people. There was a point in my healing process that I actually felt guilty on the days I felt happy! Imagine this! I felt guilty! There was a very strong message in my head that told me, “but so and so isn’t happy, so you shouldn’t be. It isn’t fair that she isn’t.” So, when I spoke to someone who wasn’t feeling good, I tapered my mood so that I didn’t appear too happy. I didn’t want them to feel bad because of me! Oh dear. So, learning to love yourself is the process. When you begin to feel love for yourself, your depression will begin to lift because you will automatically begin doing things for yourself that feel good. You will begin setting boundaries so that people can’t be in a position to hurt you, because you will care too much about yourself to allow that to happen. You begin filling your soul with words, music, people, and situations that feed you. You begin saying no to things that don’t feel good to you. You learn to notice the things that make your body feel dread and guilt and shame, and you begin telling yourself that these things do not feed you, they hurt you. Trust the process.

Be curious, ask yourself where the message originated

Self love starts to blossom each time you honor your inner voice, your soul. It takes practice to re-train your brain. Every little thing you can do that feeds you helps your self love get stronger. Learning to say “I accept myself exactly as I am” is very helpful. Accepting exactly where you are in your process is so important. Giving yourself a break and loving yourself as you would a tiny baby when you feel you made a mistake. Telling yourself, “It’s okay, I am learning to love myself. I was taught that I shouldn’t love myself, and I am changing that.” Every time you catch yourself belittling yourself and accusing yourself of doing something others don’t like, remind yourself, “I am honoring my soul. I will follow my inner voice even if others don’t like it.” The more often you can do this, the more empowered you will feel. You will most likely hear a voice or get a feeling in your body when you feel good (even if it is a split second of feeling good) that tells you something like, ‘oh here you go, thinking you know it all or getting too confident. What do you think you are doing, this isn’t right, it won’t work.” Tell that voice to please go somewhere else, you are no longer interested in negative messages. It works if you keep practicing. The more you do this, the more you will notice patterns in your life that don’t feel good. This is a great time to process those messages. Be curious, ask yourself where the message originated and if it is time to let it go. It is time to give yourself a break and to feel the love that is just waiting there, ready for you to absorb every bit of it.

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Posted in Awareness, Connection, Depression, healing from depression, Help with depression, Self hate | No Comments »

Depression and the game of “pretend”

Written by Amie on April 1, 2013 – 3:04 am -

 playing the “fine” game

Pretend as though everything is “fine”? No thanks.  Just hearing the word “fine”still triggers a bit of anger in me. How many times did I answer the question, “How are you?” with “FINE”, when in fact, I was far from feeling fine! I quit. I quit the game. The game of pretend is over for me. I refuse to do it. I choose healthy behavior, and pretending is not a part of healthy behavior. I will only choose to answer “fine” if I am just not in the mood to give someone my energy. I spent years playing the “fine” game, and it is a really unhealthy game. I understand why we do it. We do it to avoid having to feel the truth of any given situation. We do it to avoid being vulnerable. Most of us have been trained well at the game of pretend. A few years ago I changed the rules. Many people around me were not too happy. That’s okay. If they choose to continue playing, that is their choice. For me, the game of pretend equals suffering. I no longer choose to suffer. I chose the path of looking at my life and feeling the pain that was blocking my authenticity. I chose the path of truth.  In order to be authentic, we have to feel. We have to be real with the emotions that come up in our lives. I didn’t know how to do that until a few years ago. I’m still learning.

 suppressing all of my innate needs and emotions

I know for certain that my depression was the accumulation of years of pretending. I pretended I was feeling fine, I pretended as though I didn’t have needs, I pretended as though nothing bothered me, I pretended I was happy, I pretended like I was fulfilled…..I could go on and on. Pretending is another way of saying I was suppressing all of my innate needs and emotions. We all desire (need)to be with like minded people who love and support us. This is being human. We all desire(need) to be seen and heard. We all desire (need) to feel safe to express who we are. We all have needs, this is what we do as humans. It is healthy. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have needs. When we pretend, we stuff all of our needs and then try to talk ourselves into believing we don’t need anything, and that we are “fine”. And then when one of these needs speaks really loud, we tell ourselves we are being too needy, too sensitive, too…fill in the blank. We have been conditioned to feel shame and guilt for having needs! We have learned to feel bad about having real human needs. We have been conditioned to think we should be perfect….which means we shouldn’t have needs. If we don’t have needs, then we don’t have emotions, right? How can you have emotions if you don’t need anything? How can I be disappointed or sad when someone who says they care about me is disrespectful? If I don’t have the need for respect and safety, then I shouldn’t feel anything when these things don’t happen.  But the truth is, we all have needs! Just because we have been taught to ignore our needs, doesn’t mean we don’t have them. It just means we are pretending, so that we appear “normal”. (whatever that is! There is no such thing, in my opinion)

guilt and shame galore

We have been conditioned to judge ourselves for needing, and then judging and shaming ourselves for having emotions over the fact that we aren’t getting our needs met. If we continue this pattern, self-hate sets in. We think we “shouldn’t” feel a certain way, and when we do feel that way, we hate ourselves for having those feelings. It is a vicious cycle. Guilt and shame galore! Guilt and shame are learned “emotions” (it can be argued whether or not they are even true emotions). Guilt and shame are used to control others and to condition people. Guilt and shame are used to get a person to feel bad enough about themselves that they will comply with what someone wants them to do. Think about a situation with a child. If the child is doing something “undesirable” in the eyes of an adult, so often the adult will use tactics that actually teach the child to start feeling bad about themselves. For example, the adult may say, “but I will be so sad if you don’t stop doing that”, or “that is bad, you are bad for doing that”, or “why would you even think of doing that?” All of these examples begin the process of conditioning a child to feel guilt and shame. They learn to feel responsible for others’ well being. The adult is conditioning them to believe they should act accordingly so that the adult is comfortable. Therefore, the child starts thinking they are bad for expressing their own truth. If a person lives many years this way, they are in the habit of hiding their own truth in order to please those around them. They hide their true self, their true needs, their true desires, because they want to avoid feeling “bad”, and they want to avoid upsetting others. This is how we begin feeling ashamed and feeling as though our needs make no difference. Others’ feelings are more important than ours.

it is easier to isolate than to reach out

It is not surprising to me at all that depression is rampant. The majority of people go through their days pretending as though they are fine, feeling afraid to reach out to others for fear of being shamed, or labeled as weak. This is so sad. I understand how it is easier to isolate than to reach out. I did it for years. I pretended as though things were great, when inside myself I was feeling so lost and so sad. I reached out and started getting help, I read every book I could get my hands on, I began learning how to love myself and nurture myself, and I began seeking others who were on the same path. I sought out others who also wanted to stop pretending. I need authentic people in my life, and I am not going to pretend that I don’t. Once I opened my heart to this fact, some really wonderful people started to show up for me. Although it is sad to let go of those who would rather I pretend, I knew in my heart that I had to let them go with love. I have compassion for their struggles, but I can no longer stay in their stories with them. I have to take care of myself. I will allow people in my life who are authentic and respectful of the real me. They love and support me for who I am. They encourage me and lift me up. They show up for me in ways that I never thought possible. I also know and understand that I am responsible for my feelings, and others are responsible for theirs. Knowing this gives me the confidence to express who I really am. For this, I am grateful.

 

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Posted in Awareness, Depression, healing from depression, Help with depression | 2 Comments »
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