“Teaching ourselves to like, even to love ourselves is the best gift we can give ourselves!”Tamara Kulish
This morning I read a sentence in a blog post by kegarland which touched my heart and reminded me of myself many years ago! Her post: Monday Notes: 3 Ways Unresolved Trauma Showed Up In My 25-Year Marriage, has 3 points I could relate to: #1: I married out of fear, #2: I thought being married could replace the love I should’ve had for myself, and #3: I thought being married meant melding identities.
#2, “I thought being married could replace the love I should’ve had for myself”, was the point which really got me thinking of my own journey.
I remember the extreme disappointment I felt when I realized that being married wouldn’t heal me or be a replacement for all the work I needed to do for myself.
My expectations were unrealistic
I remember feeling resentment and even anger, that with all the love I was pouring into my spouse that it wasn’t magically changing him, nor helping him not to be an addict, nor was it being reciprocated!
My expectations were completely unrealistic, and I held onto this UNSPOKEN contract with him, for years!
As I slowly started to work through some of my inner healing, I realized that the kind of abuse I had experienced as a child, had obliterated all sense of boundaries, and had created completely skewed ideas of how relationships worked!
I had adopted a kind of magical thinking, whereby through the power and the intensity of my LOVE that I could heal his addictions. I felt that if he LOVED me back the same way, that his love would heal me!
I felt extremely let down when this didn’t happen, putting blame on the love, when in reality, that isn’t how it works, in healthy relationships and unhealthy ones!
Once I started to learn about boundaries and how to set them, things started to change.
In learning the basic principles of how boundaries work, I learned where I finished as an individual, and where the other person started.
Before learning this basic lesson, I experienced a lot of feelings of feeling let down and hurt, because I had very unrealistic expectations of other people, and had no real concept of how healthy relationships worked. It all seemed so mysterious!
I was wracked with GUILT when I set boundaries!
Practicing setting boundaries is very difficult for anyone with very low self worth, for there’s intense feelings of GUILT when we say no!
I practiced setting boundaries, because I learned that was the healthy thing to do in relationships, but my inner reality was still that of much ambivalence to what I was doing, and I continued to struggle with extreme anxiety and depression for many years.
It was only when I started to teach myself to like myself that my inner world started to really change!
Teaching ourselves to like ourselves DOES take time and practice! I’ve shared a number of previous posts (below) where I speak about the process!
When we first start to try to teach ourselves something which is so foreign to us, it doesn’t feel natural or normal!
It feels terrible sometimes! I remember how revolted I felt sometimes when I said something nice to myself! I felt physically sick! I started sweating, and felt a panic attack coming on!
I remember how brutal it felt to say something nice to myself, and not grimace!
It does get better with practice!
Try saying something nice to yourself right now!
How did you feel?
Did it feel good? Were you comfortable saying it?
Or did you struggle, even grimace?
If you struggled saying something nice to yourself, may I suggest starting to set up a gentle practice to do so? Below you’ll find quite a bit of additional help, and in some of those posts are links to other posts!
Trust me, the you will thank yourself in the next few months for starting to do this!
Keep a journal to write your thoughts in, and if you get a Guided Journal or two, all the better!
You can do this! You are worth it!
Guided Journals help you work on a particular issue by answering questions to help see patterns and to find solutions:
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