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.
Someone once asked me if I believed there was some kinda “cure” for co-dependency. I answered that I didn’t believe so. To date, after years of extensive research and practice, I have not – as yet - come across a one-size-fits-all cure for a given addiction… but I do know of many, many methods which can offer a way back from the brink and a step towards the peace and contentment which follows many of us in recovery, once the chaos of addiction is quietened, soothed and put back in its box . A customised lid can be found to contain it. Sometimes our triggers will lift the lid. Sometimes they’ll blow the lid right off and it’s Groundhog Day all over again… feeling those Codependent Crazies… people-pleasing… going along with things but feeling that old familiar resentment… over-caring… over-committing… over-working….over-analysing… overdoing it… over and over and over again. I know I've said it all before... ;)
The difference in recovery? We know that the chaos can be held in abeyance – that it can be contained again. That we can put a lid on it… when we learn how. Today I’m the Comeback Coach… coming back healed and restored after a long break, some of which was spent, admittedly, in a codependent cycle. I fell into it. I climbed out of it. It’s been tough, as great loss and resultant grief were in the mix but I didn’t pick up… I didn’t return to my drug of choice… and that’s thanks to healthy relationships which support my recovery, combined with the tools I've come to know and love, which help me to know and love myself once again. Each time codependency strikes, the gaps between episodes become wider. Peace is louder and the volume is turned down to a whisper on crazy... And I remind myself each and every day… It’s a great life in recovery!
Hey-la! Hey-la! It’s good to be back! :)