One of the most important things I learned this time around at treatment was to really begin to love myself. I have this huge capacity to love people and nurture them, but I failed miserably when it came to showing myself that same compassion and nurturing because for so long I didn’t feel or believe that I was worthy of such love.
Here’s five ways that I’m showing myself that I care:
1. Healthy habits. At treatment we were required to participate in 30 minutes of psychical activity every morning and failure to do so meant a loss of your privledges until you could see your doctor at four that afternoon. I’m not an active person but I am a rule follower and I walked every single morning for 22 days and since being home I’ve maintained that routine. And I’m doing it because I love myself and it’s up to me to take care of myself physically. Nobody is going to come and magically make my body ache less or melt away the extra pounds I carry – it’s up to me to do it. There are times when I think that I might skip it but then I remind myself that I am worth the half hour that it will take me to do my walk and how good I feel once it is done and I just do it.
2. Saying No. This one is a tough one. I never want to say no to any request because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but far too often I was forgetting about my own feelings! It’s ok…..in fact, absolutely necessary, to have boundaries and say no to some requests. Now, when someone asks me for something, I ask for time to think about it and I weigh the decision carefully before deciding if I can meet their request or not. Sometimes I can and I am happier to help out and sometimes I can’t and I don’t feel guilty by setting limits.
3. Being Honest. This one is tough for me in the sense that I would lie to myself about what I was feeling all the time. I would deny feelings of fear or sadness and tell myself that I was “fine” and would often find unhealthy ways to numb the uncomfortable feelings that I didn’t want to cope with. At treatment I learned to listen to what those feelings were trying to tell me and I use them as a guide now to let me know that something is askew in my world. Feelings come and go and I’m much more accepting of letting them into my world. I’ve learned to not judge them and that while they can be intense and sometimes overwhelming, I am strong enough to handle their intensity and they too will pass.
4. Expressing Myself. For too long, I chose not to express myself for I feared that doing so would cause the people I loved to stop loving me. Instead I chose to suppress my thoughts and feelings and often times this led to me being passive aggressive or inappropriate in how I expressed my anger or sadness. I’ve learned that I need to express myself as I go along so that things don’t build up and explode. This means that I’m dealing with stuff as it happens rather than bottling it up and it’s working for me. Things don’t blow up out of proportion any more and I’m no longer at the mercy of my moods.
5. Accepting Myself. This was and continues to be a big one. At treatment I discovered that I am a beautiful and kind person with many gifts to offer the world. And that’s how I choose to see and accept myself. I no longer need the outside world to accept me to get my self-worth…..I’m understanding that self-worth comes from within.
I’m really falling in love with this person that I am. I think she’s fabulous and special and unique.