Many of us understand that positive affirmations can change the way we see ourselves and, in so doing, how we see others. But how many of us actually practice these? Daily, I mean. Taking them like a spiritual prescription, to be repeated aloud a dozen times, three times a day, every day. It's hard to keep that up, right? What makes it so hard is not just as simple as introducing a new habit, like adding them onto your morning/lunch/bedtime routine - it's the embarrassment, the guilt, maybe even the shame of saying something good to ourselves out loud and definitely not in front of another person. After a lifetime of self-loathing, in whatever manifestation that takes, it's incredibly difficult to begin what seems to be an arduous struggle for self-love, self-compassion, self-worth.
After soaking up years of negative messages, snippets of insults and/or aggression or just feeling invisible, it can feel as if you don't count - as if your thoughts, your feelings just don't count. Even years after the death of an abusive parent or other significant figure in your life, the story of "I don't matter" has become so embedded that they don't need to be around anymore to tell you this because you've learned to take hold of the stick and beat yourself with it.
Affirmations help us to put down the stick. They move us from losing the battle to winning the war raging within ourselves. They can bring us to peace.
The first few times you affirm something positive about yourself, your mind will invariably reject it: "Huh? What a load of bullshit! That's not you!!". Why does it do that? Because it's so used to the pain of the stick that it can't comprehend this new positive and information which can offer an antidote to the pain. Your mind will try hard to keep you stuck, depressed, sad, angry, hopeless, fearful... so much so that you'll give in and think, "Oh, what's the point?" because there is comfort in discomfort. It's what we've come to know - the insecurity blanket shielding us from healthy relationships with others.
It's time to let go of the blanket now. So... stick and blanket dropped, get yourself into a confident pose, take a deep breath, affirm: "I LOVE AND RESPECT MYSELF!" (say it loud and proud) and, above all, SMILE!! It can help to do it dramatically - when you begin to laugh (or maybe even cry), you know it's penetrated. It's broken through. It's landed. But like any new road, it must be travelled down regularly in order to form a more direct route to peace.
When you discover that that's your authentic path - to love and respect yourself NO MATTER WHAT HAS GONE BEFORE, you'll feel more peaceful inside. Because you've uncovered a truth. You ARE worthy of love. You ARE worthy of respect. And if you want it from others (let's be clear, you don't NEED it from others when you have your own), it begins with you. Charity begins at home. Be charitable and compassionate to yourself first and foremost and wait and see what treasures begin to unfold in your life. Infinite riches await - are you willing to take that first step? Start your spiritual prescription to day and see how much better you feel 3 months from now.
Although many might suggest that codependency is a curse, I prefer to believe that it is - at least in part - a gift. There are many wonderful pay-offs for individuals who receive from the codependent - gifts of undivided attention, one's needs pre-empted and ministered to, one's thinking done for one... that kinda thing. Oh wait... erm... what was that last one? Oh yes... 'one's thinking done for one'.... hmm.
"Help..." someone once said, "..is the sunny side of control" and this would appear to lie at the very heart of the problem with codependence - and let's face it, there's a lot of heart in it. The more the codependent feels out of control, the greater she attempts to regain some control, some firm-footing... and the only sure foothold she seems to find is when her feet are planted firmly in someone else's business. "They need to be taken care of... I know what's best for them... I can fix their problems... if only they'd listen to me, their life would be so much better...". She is unable to stay in her own business or 'fix' her own problems - that's way too painful... and she's undeserving of all that attention. Any attention she might give to herself means less time given to others and well, quite frankly, she's not worth that because... she's not good enough.
All this giving and over-caring and the codependent often cannot see that they're actually taking.... Taking away an individual's right to make his/her own decisions, meet their own needs and yes... do their own thinking. When the gift of giving is given to oneself, the rewards are indeed bountiful. And what the actively addicted codependent doesn't realise is that she has more to offer those around her when she begins to meet her own needs and allow others to take responsibility for meeting their own needs too.
So if help really is the sunny side of control... Does it follow then that with self-help begins self-control...? Getting a handle on those chaotic feelings and behaviours and letting go of feeling solely responsible for others' well-being... Wow... I have a feeling this could be a greater gift indeed...