I love myself, who I am, and what I have to offer myself and others. Did I always believe that? Nope! Can you say that you love yourself? If you are with Ed, then I can imagine that it is difficult to do. I’m sure he is telling you that you aren’t loveable and can’t offer anything; he told me that when I was with him. If he is telling you that, I am here to tell you that HE IS WRONG. You CAN love yourself. You ARE loveable. You DO have something to offer others.
It was hard to love myself during the recovery process because Ed was loud with his demeaning words that were hard to ignore him. However, I kept my eye on the goal, which was recovery, and pushed ahead through the noise. Remember, most everything we do in our recovery is uncomfortable but over time it gets easier. Here are a few things I did to help in learning to love myself. If they resonate with you, give them a try.
First, I started a gratitude journal. I wrote 3-5 things each night before bed that I was grateful for, no matter how small I thought they were. Something like: “I am grateful for the Chapstick I have to keep my lips from drying out.” “I am grateful for my cozy slipper socks.” “I am grateful for the conversation with Melissa today.” “I am grateful for the values I live by.” “I am grateful that I can smile.” As I wrote down things I was grateful for, I began to not only appreciate all the positive things I had in my life but began to see that my life mattered…that I mattered. I re-read these things and began to feel differently with a positive outlook on myself and the world.
Another thing that I did to help love myself was to say/write/see positive affirmations about myself DAILY. When I opened my eyes in the morning, I would begin my day by saying a positive affirmation like “I am worthy” or “I am good enough” or “I love myself.” I would repeat these affirmations ALL DAY, multiple times a day. In addition, I would also write them down that day in various places so they would always be in my head, taking space away from Ed. I wanted to fill my mind with recovery words, not Ed words. Now, did I believe the things I said, no, not at first, however, the more I said them and worked my recovery, I did end up realizing they were true and I did believe them. You can too. Give it a try.
Also at times, it was hard for me to see the good in myself or see anything positive about or in me, so to help me begin to see what I had within myself, I reached out to my friends and family for support (which was hard to do). I asked them to write down on an index card 5 things that they loved about me and how I make a difference. Then, I had them read the card to me. It was uncomfortable hearing it and I didn’t believe what they wrote, but I let it happen as I knew it was a step forward in my recovery and learning to love myself. After they read the card, I took the cards with me, decorated them, and carried them in my purse. I then read the cards EVERY DAY to myself so I could begin to hear in other peoples words how I make a difference and how to love myself. It was a hard exercise to do but I slowly began to see that they were right and that helped me begin to look at myself differently and begin to see the “real” me, not the one Ed told me I was. Ed lies and I needed to remind myself of that.
Remember, you CAN love yourself; you ARE loveable and you DO have something to offer others.
With love, hope and strength,