For most of my life I have hated myself. I can remember not hating myself, when the world had more color, before I was abused. Everything changed then including how I felt about myself. Through the abuse I was told and taught many incorrect things about myself. I mean really, how could anyone know what I would become. I was 2 years old then.
A few years ago, after I decided not to kill myself(again), I slowly started to make friends with myself. I had a lot of conversations and many times it was a harsh and cold conversation ending in tears. The self directed hate is difficult to live with but when I got down to the reasons why I was so unempathetic with myself it broke my heart all over again. I was trying to protect myself but it had manifested into self harm.
I was mean and hypervigilant to any “weakness” that “they” would perceive and attack me for. In self defense I policed myself and didn’t allow for a lot of normal human feeling and behavior because of “they” and “they” are all of you out there. It’s fear because I know what humans are capable of. I’ve experienced it 1st hand. My aversion to being kind to myself and allowing myself anything came from fear of being harmed again.
Coping with that fear has been a constant in my life and a major source of the anxiety. Knowing why I am doing something can help my inner counselor go to work to encourage me to be patient and compassionate to that little girl. I am no longer that little girl but many of the struggles I have come from the CPTSD I have had since childhood. Mindfulness and grounding are essential when I am doing this type of work with myself. I have to be aware of the thoughts instead of just acting on them, I wait and think about the urge to be cruel to myself, what I said, where it comes from and I guide myself to a more compassionate response to myself.
Little by little I made friends with myself. I wrote down the facts of who I am and what I do to prove to myself that I am not a terrible person. I do my best to be kind to other people and I deserve to have that kindness directed toward myself. It doesn’t take away from anyone to give to me. It actually makes it possible for me to be more giving. Put your mask 1st before helping anyone with theirs. More can be done this way.
After time and repetitive kindness to myself I started to warm up to the idea of being friends. Maybe I wasn’t so bad. Maybe I wouldn’t be a horrible shit if if I ease up on being so strict. In this work, I have realized some thing I do like about myself. This was really difficult at 1st because I wasn’t really allowed to be proud of myself for anything in the abusive relationships I was in. I had carried that on in making sure to not do anything that might upset the violent people.
I also write this in defiance of all the shitty things that the world tells us all about our worth. A big ol’ FUCK YOU to everyone who tried and FAILED to silence me. I will not be shut up. I will not go away. I am still here. I like that about myself too. Here is a list of more things that I like about myself.
I like that I am strong.
I survived. I have have been through many instances of severe abuse that could have resulted in my death. My body wants to live and so does more of me than ever has!
I like that I love to learn.
When I was 4 years old, I promised myself that I would learn new things everyday and make an effort to find out how things work. This really helped me when I committed myself to healing and improving my mental health.
I like that I have an iron will.
I am determined to practice the things I need to do to help myself through the pain. I hated all the coping skills and everything that went against how I was already coping. I fought against it but my iron willpower to keep practicing made sure that I didn’t give up even when I wanted to. Now that I have practiced the coping skills, meditations, and mindfulness practices daily I am finding a sense of calm that I have never felt before. I keep going because I want more peace and calm. I need it to go on. I also stopped drinking alcohol, stopped smoking, and stopped being in relationships with people who hurt me.
There is more that I like about myself, surprisingly, but that is all I can think to put into words right now. I’ll probably write a follow up post to thing later on down the healing line.