Thursday, August 18, 2011
One of my favorite songs goes "Let's start at the very
beginning...a very good place to start!"
For me, finding the secret to controlling my desire to
self-medicate came from addressing an innate dislike
for myself; No one ever taught me how to love myself.
As a child, I learned to distrust my own emotions,
feel shame, keep quiet, stifle creativity, be ashamed
of desire, fear people, and hate every unique part
of me. Those old thoughts became so ingrained, I
never knew how much of my misery I carried around
with me out of habit.
You would think that loving self, like survival skills, would
be fundamentally inscribed in our DNA, but aversion to
hunger and cold have nothing to do with a healthy, genuine
love for self. Look at how many 'successful' people are
obviously missing any real esteem.
So, I like to suggest that looking at what is 'okay' about
ourselves is a great starting point for finding a reason
to go on, a reason to care, a reason to take good care of
self, and so on.
For many of us, really looking at self and liking what we
see is something we have avoided for a very long time.
It is something that scares us senseless.
Developing a positive outlook on self, a forgiveness
for past mistakes, releasing anger about abuse and
harms we have endured...these are all healthy habits
that can--in time--help us to change how we look
at us and life itself. As another fave song says; "Change
the voices in your head, make them like you instead."
This is one of those slow, difficult processes, but it is
worth the effort and pain. Those old negative tapes
are playing, whether we acknowledge them or not.
The sooner we deal with it, the easier everything else
falls into place.
If I don't love myself, through and through, how
can I know what I have to offer? If my sense of
self is made stable by another or several others,
how can I cope on my own?