Tuesday, 20 August 2013

How Do I Begin To Learn To Love Myself??

This week I want to share a story with you.  It's a love story. It's an "in progress" tale. It's my story.  

I wasn't always in love with myself. My family and my University roommates will testify to that for sure. There were a few dark years in there. I had been a fun loving yet responsible student in my first year, but that changed as a darkness set in.  It was heavy and I was not equipped in any manner to love myself through it.  It took over my so-called life for a few years.  Now that I have found my way back to me I write about there being many ways in which we can sort through the grey stuff and get to the good stuff. I have done the work and I know that to be true, even though at the time my stuff felt darker than grey. I understand depression, in a way that surprises those who know the me of now.  

I judged myself harshly. I was sweet and easy going and full of understanding for others.  In fact part of what has drawn me to coaching is the part of me that puts other people at ease.  I have a calm way about me that seems to invite friends and even strangers  to share some of their most personal thoughts. But I didn't show that same patient kindness to myself. Why not?

To be truthful, I have no idea. Still.  I come from a loving and supportive family who have strong values and morals and yet, I wasn't always very nice to me. Over the past few years I have uncovered a lot about my own limiting beliefs and I have changed a lot of the language I use in my "self-talk". I know that I am not done, but I have made such huge changes for me that I wanted to share with you what I believe has been KEY for me.

I think that one of the biggest and most important questions to ask yourself is, is the boy across the classroom, the girl in the next cubicle, or the man in the bank really any different, any better or any more worthy than anyone else in the room, including yourself??  And if the answer to that is in fact No, then why is it that his or her opinion about you should hold so much power??Logically speaking, that doesn't make much sense. Emotionally speaking it makes NO sense. And yet it just was that way for me. It just mattered.

And it showed up in all of my relationships.  I was quiet and let others pick the movie, choose the restaurant, decide if I was invited or if he would go on without me.  I rationalized everything of course so that it made sense and felt as OK as it could, but really, I knew that they were excuses mostly.  I was far from empowered in my own life. I had no direction or real goals. I let others make the call. I didn't like myself for it, but that was how I rolled and I didn't expect it to ever be different.

A few bad years and more than one heartache later, when that thought pattern, belief system, idea habit became apparent to me I knew right away that it was definitely not one that was doing me any favors. I wanted to switch it up. But I had been doing it that way for years and years. HOW was my question. How do I change that??  Where do I even begin?? 

Louise Hay posted a Facebook status last week that brought the humble beginnings of my journey to the front lines when she said a "part of self-acceptance is releasing other people's opinions." From where I stand now, that makes total sense. But I remember a time when I would have followed that up with a "Yeah, but.....".

Many of the things we chose to believe about ourselves have absolutely no basis in truth. Just like my belief about anyone being any better or more worthy than I also had no basis in truth. It lived only in MY perception. So that is where I started. With perception. Perception didn't seem too heavy. It seemed like something I could handle and as good a starting place as any, so I began there.

I began reminding myself that to those same people who I felt had a power in my life, I was the other person across the desk. Chances were, if we really aren't so different from one and other, that they were worried about MY opinions. I also forced myself to stop and to take a moment to think about me as those who love me would. They are of course biased to my awesomeness. So I used that to slant my own biased opinion of me.  For me, if I aimed for a high 9/10 score on my personal awesome scale and I came out really believing at a 6/10 it was a step in the right forward direction.

I never tried to see myself as being better than anyone. After all my goal was not to flip the script completely, it was to find balance. I wanted to feel that I was just as good as anyone else. Equally worthy. Equally Awesome. 

That was the first chapter of the story in which I humbly began to fall in love with me. And now, many chapters later, I like myself too. Equally Awesome is a perception of myself that IS doing me favors and serving me well. Stay tuned for the rest. There are a few nail biting moments for sure, but it's turning out well and I am predicting a happy ending.

Now it's your turn.  Have you written your first chapter or are you currently working it out??  I'd be so glad to have you share your inspirational tale here in the comment section or over on my Facebook page, after all, you're equally awesome too!  

OR - If you need help figuring out where to begin to learn to love yourself, I have been there and done that and I would be honored to help you to sort through your grey stuff, and then to find and create more good stuff. Add your name and email above and maybe you'll win a free 1 on 1 discovery hour to get the ball rolling.