Tuesday, February 9, 2010
In our healing process we hear lots of beautiful, positive self affirming messages. "You deserve to be happy" or "It wasn't your fault" and the list goes on. I can't tell you many times I've heard women in their healing process say..."I get the concept intellectually, but I don't really believe it in my heart". Believe me I have struggled with this myself! Over the years of participating in my own healing process and those of others I've come to this conclusion: none of this will really "sink in" to our hearts until we form a loving, respectful and healthy relationship with ourselves. Now we are told, and know intellectually at least, that to form healthy loving relationships with others, we must take time to get to really know them. Well guess what? The same is true for ourselves. How many of us truly know and appreciate who we are? Especially after years of co-dependence, addiction, being who someone else wanted us to be so they wouldn't hurt us. These roles, forged in desperation and need for survival are deeply embedded in our psyche. It wasn't until years after being freed from my abuser and free of alcohol that I found myself "stuck", wondering why I still wasn't happy. With the help of my wonderful therapist I realized that I didn't know how to be happy because I didn't know what I needed to be happy....because I didn't really know ME. So how do we get to know ourselves? Here are a few tips that have worked for myself and my clients: Think back to when you were little. What did you want to be when you grew up? What books or movies did you like? What games did you play? What music moved you? Now go ahead and find a copy of that book (mine was Little House on the Prairie) read it. Remember how it made you feel? What about the book inspired you? You will be surprised at what you find, I promise. Draw pictures, make art without judging the content. A wise man once said "everyone can draw, we all have our own style" don't try to copy someones style, just be YOU. Keep a journal. This is one the most helpful tools I know of. If you've kept journals over the years look back at them. Maybe it was the one place you felt safe enough to be authentic. When you go shopping look at those items you always wanted. but "couldn't afford" or didn't feel you deserved. Make a point of treating yourself to one of these items. If it is out of your budget range ask for someone to buy it for your birthday or mother's day. Also resale shops can have some great bargains on items that you may want. Go ahead and make a "wish list" this step alone validates your desires, your style, your unique taste in clothing, furniture, whatever. Pay attention to your dreams as you embark on this process of self discovery. Dreams hold many answers if we pay attention. It helps to keep a dream journal because oftentimes the messages don't immediately make sense, but become startlingly clear at a later time. Finally, I know this sounds cheesy and may feel uncomfortable at first, but go ahead and tell yourself "I love you...." Be sure you say your name. You can add other affirmations as well. (More on affirmations coming soon!) If you try these steps you will find that there is an authentic YOU inside and you will begin to know, enjoy and who knows, maybe even fall in love!