I am writing this blog to share with you my experiences about how I learned to love and accept myself for exactly who I am.
I ain’t going to lie to you, it did not happen over night and it wasn’t an easy process but it has been one of the best things that I have ever done for myself.
Like all Human Beings I still have my up day’s and my down day’s but I feel that I have learned the tools to get me to a place of love and acceptance for myself.
Please remember that everyone is different and heals in different ways so I hope that you can find something useful within this blog that resonates with you.
I was skeptical about journaling at first as I did not know if this would help me in anyway, however it helped me tremendously. How? When I was having those down days, I would sit with my feelings and acknowledge them. The feelings that I had were valid and I had spent so many years avoiding them, which made me feel worse.
Holding in and suppressing those feelings cause us more pain, depression and anxiety. All of those feelings eventually come to the surface at some point in our lives and mine happened to me in the form of a breakdown and burnout.
In 2019 I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Depression. I was signed off of work and had been prescribed with anti-depressants. I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I had a mental health issue and felt that I had lost control of my thoughts and feelings.
After completing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy I felt more in control of my thoughts, however I knew that I had issues stemming from my childhood that needed to be addressed.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy had a positive effect on my life, as I was now able to control my thoughts and focus on what was important in the present, however it did not cover my past experiences where most of my issues had developed.
I started journaling when I was having my down days. I would write my thoughts down about how I was feeling and I was surprised as to what I learned about myself.
An exercise that I used was one I had found in the book, “Self love & Spiritual Alchemy: Strengthen your self worth, master your mindset and manifest the life you desire, (Page 92, by Dani Watson 2020.)
There is an exercise within the book that encourages you to write down all of your negative thoughts for a 24 hour period. She then asks you to look at all of the negative thoughts that you have written about yourself and then write down how this belief is holding you back in your life now and in the future.
A limiting belief that I had about myself was, “I am not worthy of having my voice heard”. This was holding me back because I would not express my thoughts and feelings. At the time I realised that if I continued to hold on to this limiting belief I would end up having a really unhappy life as I would settle for anything and everything.
The transformation came where the next part of the exercise asks you to write down your Childhood experiences that were negative or traumatic, and then try to identify where these limiting beliefs had come from, and what you was told as a Child growing up from family, friends, teachers etc.
I discovered that as a Child, I was scared to voice my feelings and opinions as I had been shut down and judged so many times from some of the adults within my life. The beliefs that these adults had were, “Children should be seen and not heard”, so I would keep all of my feelings inside in the fear of being judged.
This exercise was a huge eye opener for me and it helped me to identify what was holding me back from being true to myself.
From the negative beliefs that I had discovered that I was carrying about myself, I started writing a new set of positive, empowering beliefs. Every day I will stand in the mirror and tell myself words of affirmation like “I am worthy, I am enough, it is safe for me to express my thoughts and feelings and I am loving and lovable”.
I will be honest with you, after listening to the negative beliefs that I had carried around with me for so long, it was hard to really believe these new ones. However, when you are looking in the mirror and telling yourself these things every single day, you start to believe it.
When you make a commitment to yourself to show up everyday and tell yourself that you are enough and you are worthy of living an amazing life, you will not need to attach yourself to others for confirmation that you are good enough.
It all starts with you, when you start showing up for yourself you will start to build the most important relationship in your life, the relationship you have with yourself.
We live in a society that focuses on the negative things within our lives. We mostly hear bad news in the media, and we tend to focus on the things that are going wrong within our lives without looking at what is going right.
I was guilty of this and would be constantly worrying about the past and the future, but never taking that the time to stop and really focus on my present and what I had to be grateful for in this moment.
I believe in the law of attraction and that we do have the ability to create our lives, just by our thoughts and feelings. Of course action is also needed, but its easier to take action when you are thinking and feeling positive thoughts.
In my first Blog “Recovering from traumatic experiences” I shared my morning routine which also includes writing three things that I am grateful for every single day. I can honestly say that this has improved my life dramatically.
There is always something to feel grateful for, even in the hardest of times. Just being grateful for being alive, being healthy, having a support network, having a roof over our heads etc.
When you start being grateful for the things that you do have, more good will start to show up in your life. It is the same for when you are thinking about the things that you do not want in your life, more negative things will keep showing up.
Dating yourself! Yes I know it sounds a bit crazy but trust me it works!
When you start dating someone new you want to get to know everything about that person, you look your absolute best, you are on your best behaviour and at times we pretend to be someone that we are not, in the perception that we may not be good enough for this person.
Have you ever sat down by yourself and really got to know yourself entirely?
What are you like as a person?
What are your interests?
What qualities do you have that you really like about yourself?
What are your dreams, goals and aspirations?
What values and beliefs do you have?
What have you always wanted to do that you have not done yet?
I started writing in my journal, answering all of the questions that I wanted to discover about myself, as I had spent so long trying to be someone else to fit in with people I was dating.
When you know yourself and do the work to discover who you are as a person, you will start to have a different kind of respect for yourself. You will start to build that relationship with yourself.
There were so many times in my single life that I would be sitting at home thinking I want to be wined and dined, I would love them to buy me flowers, run me a bath, cook me a romantic meal. It never happened, because I did not have the love and respect for myself.
I began doing those things for myself and will continue to do so. I cook myself new recipes while playing my favorite music. I will light candles and sit in a hot bath for as long as I like. I buy myself gifts and flowers. I will go for long walks in nature and really enjoy spending time in my own company.
Because I make the time to do these things for myself I know what I like and I no longer search for someone outside of myself to treat me the way I want to be treated.
I honestly wish they would teach this stuff at school as it would save a lot of hurt and pain in so many peoples lives.
I was a huge people pleaser, I wanted everyone else to be happy with no regard for my feelings or wishes. When I was in a relationship with someone, I wanted to be the best Girlfriend they ever had.
If I was tired after a long day at work, I would still go and see them. If they needed money I would give it to them. I would buy them gifts and take them out for dinner and for the majority of the time my actions were not reciprocated.
I would attract people who were hurting or struggling with their own demons and I wanted to be their savior. All I did was give, because I wanted to make them happy. I never realised that it was so important to set boundaries to protect myself. Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way.
When you are a people pleaser and have been in an abusive relationship, it is hard to actually set boundaries at first, but this is something that gets better over time. It is that process of asking yourself the right questions to find out what your boundaries are.
What values do you want in your partner?
What values do you not want in a partner?
How do you wish to be treated in a relationship?
What things will you not tolerate in a relationship?
What do you hope to get out of a relationship?
By asking yourself questions and spending that quality time alone you will find out what you really want from a relationship. From this you can set healthy boundaries to protect yourself.
I believe actions and not just words.
I will not accept any forms of abuse towards myself, others or animals.
I will not be cheated on or lied to.
I will not be in a relationship with anyone who is married or already in a relationship with someone else.
I will not lend out any money to anyone I have not known and do not trust.
When getting to know someone new I will only meet them in a public place.
I have the right to say no to sex.
Another great tool for finding out what your boundaries are, is to look at your past relationships and write down how that person hurt you, disrespected you and how they made you feel. Then write down what you will not stand for and make that vow to yourself to let go of anyone who does not respect you or your boundaries.
“By creating your boundaries, you have accomplished something profoundly important. You have decided to take a stand for yourself and your life, and have come up with a real and practical way to do that” Adelyn Birch
Always be true to you beautiful, you are so deserving of having a loving, trusting and respectful relationship with yourself and others. Do not be afraid to to set boundaries and leave any kind of relationship when they disrespect you. By giving them chance after chance after chance, you are giving them the permission to continue to disrespect you.
I believe in you beautiful! You have got this!
I love you!
Love always from Rebecca xxx