Speaking My Truth: I Am Ok, Safe, and Worthy

“If I feel like nothing without you, I have a lot of work to do on myself!” -Wendyne Limber

That sentence really struck me as I did today’s reading recalling the tension I felt in previous relationships, logically knowing when it was time to let go but being unable to because I only felt okay when I was with someone. When I was alone, I was depressed and directionless. I had a savior complex, one that worked both ways in that I felt powerful enough to save someone else and was also in need of saving. My feeling was if we could save each other, we wouldn’t need anything or anyone else.

So desperate was I to live that role that I would do anything to keep my partner, even if that meant tossing aside my values. I don’t drink but I started drinking for a girlfriend who thought I was boring and felt that if only I would drink, I would open up more and be more fun. It was fun, for about a week but I couldn’t sustain it, I didn’t want to and so she ended it.

I begged her to take me back promising to change, to be more fun, and she did but it was a mistake and we both knew it and spent another year in hell.

Write YOUR OWN NEW COMMITMENT to your partner or some person you are in relationship with. What do you really want?

I am not in a relationship currently but know what I want of a future partner and that is a conscious communicator and emotionally healthy being. This is who I’ve committed to being and want no less from a partner.

A conscious communicator shares themselves fully and is both powerful and vulnerable. Their thoughts, feelings, ideas, concerns, and passions are expressed with an intention to grow as an individual and to grow closer in the relationship. They speak and respond with loving kindness for connection and with compassion rather than judgment and blame.

An emotionally healthy being follows their inner guidance and takes responsibility for their feelings, reactions, and path in life. They do not rely on someone else to fulfill their emotional needs, to save, fix or protect them. They actively and consistently work to understand themselves, recognizing their triggers and taking action to resolve them.


 

This concludes my series on Speaking My Truth. The course I’m taking, Intimacy Without Responsibility goes for 7 weeks but I felt this series a very important piece in cultivating healthy relationships. I hope you enjoyed learning more about me and hope you learned something about yourself as well. If you’d like to take the course yourself, you can find the details here.

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Speaking My Truth: Question Your Beliefs

While relationships are a perfect environment for healing and evolving, there’s usually some growing pains that come before that due to our belief system.

I entered relationships with baggage, baggage from my childhood and baggage from previous relationships. That baggage included a distrust of people, a need to be wanted and approved of, a need to appear perfect, a need to be loved, and a need to be right.

When these things were questioned or not provided, I didn’t go within to question what it was about my belief system that led me to feel hurt, betrayed or powerless, rather I blamed others for not meeting my standards or having unresolved issues and therefore weren’t worthy of my time and affection.

It’s only through challenging my belief system that my growth began. Do not be afraid of what you might learn. Being triggered in relationships is an opportunity to heal and transform.

What behaviors in others or in your mate do you GATHER EVIDENCE TO PROVE?

Whenever I felt my partners losing interest, self-doubt turned to jealousy. My lack of self-confidence and self-esteem supported my belief that I was unlovable and not worthy. That belief then supported the belief that my partners didn’t love me or were cheating on me or no longer found me attractive.

I certainly didn’t have hard evidence but so sure was I in my belief that I was not enough that even words of reassurance couldn’t assuage my growing mistrust and malcontent.

Speaking My Truth: I No Longer Give My Power Away

Relationships are the perfect environment to grow as a person when you are willing to hear your partner’s truth without taking offense and are also able to speak your truth without fear.

For many years, I was unwilling to recognize that I carried with me a lot of hurt and pain from my childhood that affected how I showed up in my intimate relationships. I was needy and controlling and both unsure and arrogant at the same time.

If I was ever at fault, I would blame the other. If anyone deigned to look below the surface and not only saw but pointed out my imperfection, that relationship was not long to last.

Becoming emotionally healthy requires you to look within at the roles you play in your relationships, intimate, platonic, familial and work. The responsibility for a successful relationship falls on both parties to show up consciously and fearlessly.

Do not be afraid to know yourself and allow others the wonderful opportunity to know themselves through relationship with you.

What things do you REACT to in communication and relationship with others? Where is your judgment? What kinds of behaviors and other stuff really trigger you with a partner, friend or family member?

In intimate relationships, whenever I felt less than perfect or when I had disappointed someone, I would go into panic mode and do anything to prove myself. I would get very defensive, unwilling to hear if I had done or said something that was unfair or incorrect or hurtful.

If the relationship was ending because I wasn’t right for someone, I carried around anger for that person, picking apart their words and behavior, making them the one with fault and imperfection.

I wanted to be wanted. I wanted to be my partner’s everything and in turn, they became my everything so much so that when I wasn’t enough, I became very jealous and controlling.

Speaking My Truth: I Am No Longer Burdened in My Heart

Do you shield your loved one from their own pain? How do you feel about this? How does your body feel about this?

As a people pleaser, this definitely rings true, for one person in particular, my mother. I grew up not knowing who my father was but there were moments as I grew up that I learned a few tidbits.

I knew the only person who could tell me what I needed to know was my mom but I didn’t want to cause trouble. When I moved away from home in my 20’s, similar to when I went away to college, I fell into depression.

Being on my own allowed me to feel my pain and I had a lot of it and part of it was not knowing my father. One Christmas I tried bringing up the topic with my mother but I sensed a hesitation and a discomfort so I didn’t press the issue.

A couple of years later, while living in Boston, I shared my story with a friend and she urged me to talk with my mom. The words promising that I would were just to close the subject since I didn’t feel I had built up enough courage to broach the topic.

My own hesitation stemmed from not wanting to force my mother to relive her painful past, some of which I knew about. I simply wanted to spare her any pain.

I finally learned who my dad was and met him for the first time 7 years ago but it wasn’t through a conversation with my mother but that’s a story for another time.

This experience of shielding someone else from feeling their hurt did both them and I a disservice; for me, losing years of a possible relationship with my father and for my mother, the chance to face her demons.

Now having found the courage to take responsibility for my feelings while allowing others that freedom as well, I am no longer burdened in my heart, soul, and body with regret and sorrow.

You decide when the time is right

I know it gets scary sometimes, at times lonely and overwhelming but don’t let anyone set your timetable for you. Only you can decide when you’re ready to let go, make a change and find a way out of your sorrow but until then, have a support system around you, to encourage you, to be a shoulder to lean on and to be there for you propping you up when you are ready to decide, because believe me, you may falter and you will need a foundation of support to help you keep moving forward.

So yes, I will talk a lot about healing and why it’s important but I can’t tell you when is right for you. Just know that I am here when you do feel it is the right time.

Rebuilding Your Emotional Immune System

Your emotional immune system is restored when it’s rebuilt on a foundation of self-love. Self-love is made up of self-worth, self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence. For survivors of abuse especially in childhood, like myself, our emotional immune system was damaged at essential stages during our development. Self-love can be cultivated through practicing elf-compassion, self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, and self-trust.

#1 Benefit of Self-Love: SELF-WORTH

When we believe we are inherently defective, we then have to hide our real self, our essence, and try to become what we think we need to be, to be acceptable. The wounded self takes over and loses touch with our core Self – who we really are. We are stuck defining ourselves through our looks and performance, and we are stuck suffering the anxiety that comes from being so vulnerable to others’ disapproval. – Dr. Margaret Paul

For many years, I allowed my value to be defined by my ability to please others. It made me physically ill to disappoint those I looked to to give me a sense of value, my friends, parents, teachers, bosses and my intimate partners. I made everyone I came into contact with responsible for my feelings and tried to control how they felt about me by being who they wanted me to be.

The fear that they would see me the way I saw myself, as worthless, was so great, it took all my strength and focus to keep up the pretense that I was perfect. I lived this way for so long, I forgot who I was and how to be me. I was unable to see myself through the eyes of pure love. Relationships based on external approval will never survive. The real you, your essence will always seek to be seen, heard and felt and the discord this creates between the pull to be free and the push to suppress facing your truth will always cause you pain.

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#2 Benefit of Self-Love: SELF-RESPECT

Your values and beliefs determine how you see yourself and your place in the world and go hand in hand with what you deem acceptable behavior and treatment. As children, we were unable to protect ourselves from those who were stronger than us and meant to do us harm. As adults, we alone are responsible for our path in life because we have freedom of choice.

Our experiences in childhood shaped our values and beliefs so if your experience as an adult is less than desirable, do a self-inventory to determine what your values and beliefs are. What, where and with whom you spend your time and money on will tell you your values. Your results in health, wealth and love will clue you in to your beliefs about your self-worth.

An aspect of cultivating self-love is liking, accepting and honoring who you are and where you are in life even as you take steps to change your adult experience into one that is more loving and supportive to your well-being. As you like, accept and honor yourself, you become intolerant to anyone or anything that is not in accordance with that. As you journey on your path to self-improvement, self-respect will help keep you grounded and protected from those who wish you harm.

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#3 Benefit of Self-Love: SELF-ESTEEM

Self-esteem is the result of taking loving action, not the cause of it. It doesn’t matter how badly you were treated as a child, or how badly your parents treated themselves. Your actions need never be governed by your past. When taking loving action in your own behalf replaces your inattentive and judgmental behavior toward yourself, you will discover that the result is high self-esteem. – Dr. Margaret Paul

Are you more critical and judgmental of yourself or more loving towards yourself? Do you treat yourself and allow others to treat you in ways that build up your spirit or in ways that tear you down? Think of the thoughts you have about yourself when you stand naked and look in the mirror or when you make a mistake at work or have an argument with your partner. How many of your daily thoughts carry negative energy? Do you think things like “You’re so fat” or “You’re so stupid” or “Why can’t you ever do anything right” or “That was a dumb thing to say”?

It’s been said that if you tell a child they’re stupid enough, they start to believe it and I believe that’s true. As a child, I received a lot of mixed messages that I carried with me into adulthood. I was told I could accomplish anything I set my mind to and that I was smart but I was also told that I couldn’t run, had a big forehead, big eyes and wouldn’t be loved if I was fat. The positive messages made me successful in school and work but only when I wasn’t weighed down in sadness because of the emotional pain I carried from the negative messages and the abuse I suffered in childhood.

In order to remove the unsupportive beliefs we have about ourselves, we first need to become aware of them and then take repeated steps, “loving action” to replace them with supportive beliefs because if you tell yourself something enough, you start to believe it. Actions speak louder than words so in order to change your negatively charged thoughts, do things that nourish your mind, body and spirit, that make you feel good about yourself, happy and at peace like acknowledging your feelings, eating right, exercising, meditating, going for a stroll in nature, listening to music, joining a support group, going to church, practicing gratitude, not allowing others to mistreat you.

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#4 Benefit of Self-Love: SELF-CONFIDENCE

Self-esteem is believing that you are worthy and deserving. The combination of believing you are worthy and deserving along with the belief that you are capable creates self-confidence.

Self-esteem is something I still struggle with which is why sometimes I come off as cocky and a know-it-all. I know I’m capable, there’s never been any doubt of that and I received positive messages about my intellectual brilliance from a very young age. I excel in anything I put my mind and effort into yet there was always a part of me that was clouded by self-doubt and a feeling of unworthiness. I always worried about what other people would think. Would I be congratulated or made to feel like I could have done better? Would they see how hard I worked or would they be dismissive of my efforts?

My dependence on other people’s approval and trying to prove my worth created a lot of stress on my psyche. I became a workaholic so my bosses would recognize what a dedicated worker I was. I became addicted to love and sex to please partners so they would love and appreciate me. I learned how to become someone else in public, putting on a smile, being the good girl and the accomplished woman. All that effort created a wall between the persona I’d created and the person I really was inside.

I had an inherent fear that even if I accomplished everything my heart desired that it would all fall apart because I didn’t deserve to have it.

Understanding how and why I had compartmentalized so much of myself that I couldn’t find my way back to me through hypnotherapy and NLP has helped tremendously in restoring my self-worth and letting go of my addictions but it’s an ongoing process. My message to you is that you can heal, you will feel better but you have to choose to make yourself a priority.

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Below are four practices you can start today to build a foundation of self-love including self-worth, self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence.

Lastly, I also recommend reading Pema Chodron’s “Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1590306260?ie)

Self-Love, demystified

Self-love demystified

Consider this and imagine yourself as a container, any size will do. What makes this container so special is that it contains love. What does love feel like to you? To me, love is warm and safe, it’s laughter and joy, it’s bright and calm and it’s ever flowing.

When we’re born, our containers are full, overflowing with love but the walls of our container are thin which makes the walls of our container susceptible to tears and holes if our container isn’t well taken care of. Our caretakers are meant to be the protectors of our container, their job is to make the walls of our container strong and impenetrable and they do that by reinforcing what’s already in our container, love.

Our container walls need to be strong and impenetrable because the world can be harsh and rightly so. We can only grow and learn when we’re challenged. When our container walls are fortified, we can get through any challenge in time but when our container walls are thin and have tears and holes, it makes it very difficult for us to get through challenges. We lose our way, we fall into depression, we look for any and everything to plug up our holes and repair our tears and sometimes those quick fixes work but eventually they fail and leave even bigger holes and larger tears.

Every time we get picked on and called names, every time we’re made to feel small and less than beautiful or smart, every time we don’t feel protected, seen or listened to creates a small tear or hole in our container and love spills out. The holes and tears created in childhood are the most impactful because our container walls are thinnest in childhood. Our caretakers are our shields and we look to them for protection and comfort. If our caretakers do a great job, the challenges we face in childhood are filtered through the containers of our caretakers so the impact is not as great and even if we do sustain a tear, it’s quickly repaired and that impact area is fortified by the care we receive.

Because we’re so dependent on our caretakers to protect us, when the damage comes directly from them, we have no shield and the damage can be catastrophic, losing our essence in gallons.

Because love is what we’re made up of, when we lose too much of it we forget who we are and in the forgetting become vulnerable to emotional vampires. Emotional vampires are people who have also forgotten who they are because they’ve lost their essence and in trying to get it back, pull whatever you have left out of you but one’s essence cannot be replaced by someone else’s.

The beautiful thing about your container is that it can be repaired even if it’s riddled with holes and tears, it may take some time but it can be done and the way to do that is with self-love. I think of self-love as the act of nourishing your emotional body, feeding it the nutrients it needs to get strong and be able to face challenges head-on without forgetting who you are.

While there are practical things we can do to practice self-love like taking care of our bodies by eating right, exercising and practicing good hygiene, surrounding ourselves with positive, supportive people, staying away from emotional vampires, using affirmations and more; for these solutions to be successful long-term, you must truly believe you are worthy.

If you have a core belief that you do not deserve to be loved, these surface solutions will not hold up very long because they depend on willpower to remain focused and on track. Willpower requires the effort of your conscious mind, the part of you that thinks logically and practically. Think about the last time you tried to not do something because you knew it was bad for you but you did it anyway. Your conscious mind makes up only 15-20% of who you are you. It helps you make logical decisions and solve problems, it helps you remember your way home, buy groceries and pick up the dry cleaning. What it doesn’t do is help you change habits, behaviors, and beliefs that are tied to your emotional state and your subconscious mind.

The coaching work I do uses hypnotherapy to access the subconscious mind, the seat of your emotions and beliefs which drive the motives behind your habits and behaviors. Repairing and fortifying the damaged walls of your container means revisiting what caused the holes and tears in your container, which are the experiences stored in the subconscious mind, then reprogramming your subconscious to adopt more positive, supportive, loving beliefs thereby creating new motives which lead to new habits and behaviors.