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I've recently reached the place where I can honestly and genuinely say that, or anything good about myself. It's been a long process to get here. To give you an idea of where I've come from...a couple of years ago I thought I was so awful that I didn't want anyone to get close to me because I truly believed that if they touched me or got too close I would somehow turn them bad with all my internal "badness." It sounds so strange to say but I truly believed that I was poison. Along with some very intense therapy (12+ hours/week between individual and groups) and working with an amazing mentor, I was able to overcome a lot of that. As I told someone the other day, I wish I could figure out exactly where and how the transition happened...if I could I would bottle it up and sell it! (So I'm not a perfect person...I'd still want the profit...lol). Anyway...I'll tell you some of the things that have happened to me through my transition time that helped me reach where I am now...maybe some of it will connect for you. Just as an advance warning...I tend to be "direct" when I talk, so please don't take offense to any of this, it's just what worked for me. My mentor was/is also the very direct type, which was a bit shocking to me at first but it really helped.
1. Think about other people you know that are similar to you. Would you see any of them as unlovable? Would you say the kind of things you say about yourself to any of them? Maybe start trying to see yourself from an outsiders perspective. This was nearly impossible for me at first, and something I still struggle with, but it gave me a starting point. I remember saying something bad about myself and having a friend say "hey don't talk about my friend like that!" It may be silly but it's really stuck with me. I would never say that kind of stuff to a friend, and I would defend a friend if I heard anyone saying that stuff to them.
2. Ego. This was a weird one for me. My mentor told me I had to get rid of my ego. I said how can I have an ego? I can't think of even one thing good about myself, and you're saying i'm full of myself? She explained that there's negative ego...basically saying that I thought I was somehow sooooo bad that I was worse than EVERYONE else on the planet and had the absolute monopoly on all badness everywhere. I started to realize (over time) how ridiculous that idea was. I had to learn to accept that I'm human...with good qualities and bad...I don't get to claim to be better than anyone nor worse...I just am. I also had to see that I'm not the center of the universe, and that I didn't have the power to make people do certain things, good or bad. I couldn't change outcomes when other people were involved...I could only decide on my own actions and nothing beyond that...so if I wasn't the cause of a friend getting upset with me (when they'd actually had a really bad morning that i was unaware of and had nothing to do with me), how could I have possibly caused the terrible things that happened to me when I was just a kid? If I can't make other adults do things now, how could I have possibly made them do anything when I was a kid?
3. My mentor had me write a list of all of my good qualities. I honestly couldn't think of any so she had me go interview my friends and write down what they said in my journal. Talk about your awkward conversations, but I loved that list and would read through it often until I could start believing it myself. We eventually slowly went through my list of "bad" stuff I'd done. She was really amazing in that when I would tell her these things that I thought were so horrible that she'd scream and run for the hills she would reply with "oh, ok. What's next?" And I would sit there dumbfounded and say "really?" lol Seeing her stick with me through all of that was a huge sign that I was in fact lovable because someone could hear all the "horrible" things in my life and stick with me. i used to call her regularly and ask if she still liked me. (I still hate the word love on the whole, so i've learned other words to use to get around it....it's just a loaded word to me). Along with talking to her I had to start opening up to people in therapy and in my other support group I went to. This doesn't mean telling my whole story or anything, but just talking and putting myself out there. It's scary as h*ll, but it's given me the chance to see that people will stick with me when I speak openly and honestly. And even better, I can help people through what I have to say.
4. This goes along with #3, but helping others has been huge for me. When I feel my most useless, being able to help someone else who is struggling even more than me is the one thing that can really help me out. When I would feel broken my mentor would tell me to call someone else and ask how I can help them. If I couldn't do that or there wasn't someone I could help then I would find little things to do like pick up trash around my apartment complex...put carts away at the grocery store...little things like that that would make the world around me a little nicer and help me feel good about myself. I still do that stuff a lot. Whenever I go to the store I park far away by a cart that needs to be brought in....or if I see a piece of trash...or something that's not where it should be...i'll take the extra few seconds to take care of it. It gives me the power to make things around me a little nicer and just help me feel better inside. As far as helping ppl directly, it's been amazing...lately I've had people tell me that I'm an inspiration, that my words have been life-changing for them, etc. Ironically I still have to convince myself repeatedly that I'm doing something useful, but it's amazing to hear things like that...and all because I was willing to put myself out there and use my experiences to help others. (again this doesn't mean telling my story, just being able to be empathetic towards others, which I never could before. I could use my experiences of being hurt to understand the hurt others were experiencing...)
5. Finding things that I like to do...developing myself as a person. Lately I've been really in to art and writing to express myself. It helps me get all that yucky stuff out that keeps me feeling ugly inside. Once its out I just feel so much clearer and I'm able to think better and just feel less "gross." I've also been working out a lot more which helps clear my head and gives me the emotional release I need.
6. Gratitude list. I recommend gratitude lists for everything, and I think they work for most everything. At first I thought I didn't have much to be grateful for, but then I started recognizing the little things...how the sun felt on my face when I'd stand outside...the comfort of my blanket at night...the colors of the sunrise...the food I had to eat and the feeling full afterwards....etc. I think just appreciating the wonderful things going on around me allowed me to appreciate myself as well. I also started to feel like I was being given all these gifts in my life, and realized I must be worth something for the universe to be blessing me with so much amazing-ness.
Sorry this is probably way more than what you were looking for, but it's been such an incredible transition for me that I love to share what I can of it (though hopefully it makes sense...it's past my bedtime! lol). Funny story, I got an email the other day from someone I had met in a support group that I'm no longer going to, asking if we could still be friends. I could tell she was VERY nervous to be writing it, and it was so interesting for me to receive it because i've always had people that I've looked up to as examples of where I want to be but thought I could never get there. When I try to talk to them I tend to end up sounding like this woman did towards me. It hit me as I was reading her email that I'm becoming one of "those" people that others look up to, and what an amazing place that is for me to be. Just a little more than a year and a half ago I felt my life was over because I had nothing to offer....now I actually have people looking up to me and wanting to hear from me. I still struggle hugely with making friends, but I have relationships through therapy groups and stuff with people who know me on a deeper level than most friends do and still care about me and hug me when they see me and support me and all of that. But yeah I'm totally with ya on the kindergarten thing! lol Anyway stick with it...it gets better! :)/>/>
Source: Do you believe that you are loveable?