You know how some people will ask how you’re doing, and when you start to tell them honestly, they respond in irritation with, “Everyone’s got problems!” Whatever the context, I’m quite sure all of us have heard this from time to time. Either directed at ourselves, or someone else who can’t seem to keep it together.
I was pondering this the other day. Yes, everyone has problems, but why do they seem so HUGE for some, myself, at times, included? As I type this, I realize the answer is obvious, but it seemed novel to me at the time. Yes, everyone has problems, but not everyone is equipped to deal with their problems. Not everyone has the tools to solve their problems and keep them from returning.
Up until recently, I thought it was impossible for ME to learn to use these tools on a regular basis. I knew that the way I was raised caused me to wrongly react to things, but I also thought that I could sit back and blame the way I was raised. I was not taught how to deal with many situations. I was not taught how to act in interpersonal relationships. I was taught to be critical and negative so as not to become disappointed. That doesn’t mean I can’t change any of that, though. Yes, I had a screwed up childhood. No, I do not have to have a screwed up life.
When I started reading “You Can Heal Your Life”, I was depressed and angry. I was considering starting to self harm again. I thought there was no way out, and nothing I could do to change anything. I had tried desperately to change what I said and how I acted. All I managed to do was frustrate, become angry at, and blame myself for not being what I thought I “should” be.
As I began reading, though, my outlook started to change. I realized I had the ability to change what was going on with me. The author says that one has to change how they think about themselves before they can expect their lives to change. I thought it was a lot of touchy-feely-sit-around-a-camp-fire-naked-and-cry-while-singing-koom-by-ya kinda thing. It seems silly that just being nice to yourself and liking yourself is going to change anything. It seems IMPOSSIBLE to me, as a borderline, to even begin to show self-love. The entire concept seemed foreign.
It starts off with baby steps, though. Not being critical of yourself, not having negative views about yourself, only telling yourself nice things, repeating affirmations, etc. If one goes through life thinking they are shit and don’t deserve happiness, they will never obtain happiness. If one thinks that everyone is out to get them, that is what they will see in their life. What you view about yourself will manifest in your life. I KNOW this seems crazy, but it really seems to work!
Think about it, though. If you believe, deep down, that you will never be happy, how will you be able to LET yourself be happy? Letting yourself be happy would go against everything you truly believe! If you believe everyone is out to get you, that is all that you will see in each interaction with people.
Conversely, if you tell yourself you deserve to be happy, it will come. If you tell yourself that you love yourself, you will not see a need to be overly critical. If you forgive other people for their faults, you’ll be more able to forgive yourself the faults you possess.
I have been repeating affirmations to myself over the past week. “I completely love and accept myself.” “I deserve to be _____, and I accept it now.” “I am willing to release the need to be unworthy. I am worthy of the very best in life and I now lovingly allow myself to accept it.” I think you get the point. I have seen a difference in how I treat myself since I’ve started doing this. I have been showering on a daily basis, and using smelly bath stuff. I have been using lotions. I have been exercising some. I have been eating better. I have been sleeping better. It’s like I finally convinced myself that I am WORTHY of being treated well, and I am doing that for myself. The above things have been difficult for me in the past because I never thought I was worthy of anything other than pain and misery, and that’s how I treated myself.
I have also been treating other people better. I do not get as frustrated with my coworkers, and I have not been lashing out at Crazy Jay. I do not look for the negative in everything and find ways to tell others that they’re wrong. I am not as critical, and am more willing to over look things others do that bother me.
Here’s something else COMPLETELY CRAZY: Crappy things have happened this past week, but I am not really bothered by them. Jay and I have had a tiff or two, but it was quickly nipped in the bud, and I didn’t brood about it all day. I am not as stressed out at work, even though there is a HUGE invoicing mess that I’ve been dealing with. Everything seems to roll off my back much easier than it ever has in my life. Maybe this is what my unconventional therapist meant when she told me to “be an observer”. It’s like the bullshit that other people throw my way doesn’t even touch me.
I guess maybe I should have started with this next part. Then maybe people would have read all the way through. I am not struggling and straining to “get through” each problem that comes my way. I do not have to bite my tongue or deeply consider what I say. Because I have changed my outlook on things, and the way I view myself, it’s not hard to be nice, because I FEEL nice. It’s not hard to contain my frustration, because I don’t FEEL it anywhere near the same level I used to. It’s not hard to “act” happy, because I AM happy. I am not trying to twist my mind into doing something that it doesn’t want to do. I am in the process of retraining my mind so that it wants to do what I want it to do, and not just react to things that trigger childhood memories. I changed my fundamental beliefs about myself and my life, and I have seen an almost immediate change. It helps that Jay is going through the same book as me, and is seeing things the same way. Even if he wasn’t, though, I think I would be ok. I think I am going to get through all this. In fact, I can see it as I look over my shoulder, getting smaller in the distance. I AM going to have a full, happy life. I AM worthy, and deserve good things. I AM lovable and capable of showing love. I AM willing to release the negative patterns in my mind. Holy shit…I think I can do this thing, after all.