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.
How can we truly love another when we don't love ourselves first and foremost?
We seem to take it for granted that the word "love" is understood to mean the same thing for all people. But what if you've been brought up in a chaotic household? What if "love" had conditions attached to it? "If you behave in this way, then you are worthy of my love...". Those beliefs often go unquestioned right into adulthood and so the way we relate to others will invariably have some aspect of this to it. It could be that we're drawn to those who attach conditions to their love... It could also be that we attach conditions to our love. At the heart of these controlling and manipulative behaviours is fear... and, as a codependent, searching around for crumbs of affection is the norm. Trying to get people to like you by over-caring... by being the best partner/lover/friend/daughter/ son/workmate etc, we stand a chance of securing love. Is that true?
When we don't love ourselves, first and foremost, a huge chasm is felt inside and someone who experiences codependency will attempt to fill it by giving their all to someone - or something - leaving nothing for themselves. Low self-esteem, a lack of self-confidence and little or no self-belief are symptomatic of this behaviour.
What one thing could you do for yourself today?
Try one of the affirmations in this photo, as an "I am.."
"I am awesome!"
"I am appreciated!"
"I am loved!"
"I am enough!"
"I have enough!"
How does that feel? If you're having trouble even saying this, let alone believing it, maybe you could benefit from recovery coaching and start to work on your most important relationship - the one you have with yourself. In relearning love and letting go of conditions (the opposite of being a doormat!), your life becomes more joyful and less stressful, as you become more accepting of others and begin to let go of the need to control.
I would urge you to see your Doctor (if you haven't already) if you are feeling overwhelmed and have considered hurting yourself - or others.