There is a growing trend on social media that promotes affirmations of self-love. And while this is helping with awareness of how we want to treat ourselves, it is only half the truth. We cannot suddenly love ourselves, no matter how many affirmations we read or vocalize per day, if we have not healed the self-hatred and self-destructive patterns that are still deep inside of us. We cannot gloss over the deep wounds we suffered, and just jump into the self-love suit and ignore the cause of our self-rejection, self-doubt and self-sabotage.
For most of us it goes back to a childhood in which we felt abandoned, neglected, unwanted and unloved, perhaps regardless of appearances of a seemingly normal family life. Generation after generation has projected their own dysfunction and self-hate onto their children for whom this way of thinking about themselves became all they knew. Many who have suffered through physical and emotional abuse, including sexual abuse or beatings by parents, relatives or caregivers, actually believe that they deserved what happened to them and took responsibility for the horrendous acts committed against them. They felt guilty and ashamed, and believed that they deserved punishment. They exonerated the abusers and laid the burden on themselves. What broke in the process, if not their spirit, was their self-esteem, their trust in themselves, their inner guidance system, and their love for themselves and their bodies.
We not only had to live with these terrible memories, physical and emotional injuries, broken trust and growing isolation, but also ended up with a nervous system locked in fight or flight mode, dissociated emotions, severe survival defenses, and increasing control issues in an attempt to regulate the shocked system and survive. The belief in being unworthy and deserving of punishment often was carried silently into adulthood where it festered and attracted relationships with narcissistic or abusive people. Feeling guilty for who we are, we apologized for the “burden” of our presence, and felt that we owed others our lives. We disliked ourselves and couldn’t see reasons for others to love us, as much as we yearned for acceptance and real love. Carrying forth the critical voices of harsh and perfectionistic parents, caregiver and teachers during our upbringing, our inner self-talk was negative and shaming. A self-sabotaging and self-defeating attitude kept us locked in dissatisfying, unhealthy circumstances and relationships that we thought were all we deserved.
Many women and man have recently pealed themselves out of relationships with narcissistic, abusive and selfish people, walked away from unhealthy work and family environments, and are trying to change their lives. And while walking away from what is not good for us this is certainly the first step to a better life, we must take responsibility for our enabling, co-dependent or otherwise unhealthy behavior, both toward ourselves and others, and heal the patterns that kept us trapped, for otherwise we are bound to attract these unpleasant, self-destructive circumstances in just another form.
It is now time to take a deeper look and do the deep inner healing work that will allow you to rebuild what has been broken and to evolve and grow from the survival mechanisms and projected self-defeating patterns that were adopted. Honesty is always the first step to healing. So take off the rose colored glasses and roll up your sleeves. Commit to your own healing. You are worthy of your efforts and you do deserve a life of true freedom, happiness and abundance. But these things have to come from within. We build that life by healing what is blocking us from our authentic self and our recognition of our own wholeness.
Allow yourself to connect with your emotions and you inner child. No matter how deep the abyss of pain and trauma, allow the repressed memories to surface. Get help from a friend, therapist or healer with it if you need, but use discernment in choosing your healing companion. There is no other way for you to truly heal than to go there and excavate your lost emotions. You don’t have to relive the physical pain, but you need to allow yourself to feel all that needs to be felt, all that has been repressed and dissociated and feel the anger, the sadness and grief, the betrayal and whatever else comes up for you. All of the popular healing modes, from Reiki, acupuncture and yoga to crystals, healthy living and natural foods and such, have a place and may be important stepping stones on your journey, and can help soothe the pain, but nothing can or will replace the necessity to do the deep emotional healing so that you can be whole again.
Find forgiveness for the perpetrators in your heart, not because they deserve it, but because you deserve peace. You can condemn the acts of violence, but you must forgive the ones who hurt you so that you are not energetically tied to them anymore. Ask Mother and Father God for help with all aspects of your healing. It’s not easy, but you are not alone.
Self-love will fill your body, mind and heart naturally once the emotional blocks have been removed, because your true essence is love. During the process of healing, however, you must find within yourself the love and nurturing that you needed as a child and in your earlier adult years, and give love and compassion to all of yourself, the hurt and broken pieces, the abused and betrayed parts, the inner child, the body…, and forgive yourself for everything that you went through. It was not your fault. And it is time to lay down the burdens you have carried for a lifetime. I am certain that you will find your freedom, and deep self-love and self-respect if you are willing to do the “dirty” work of emotional healing. The most loving thing you can do for yourself is indeed to go buy yourself a family pack of tissues and let the healing begin…
Many gifted healers, including myself, have had to go to the depth of the experience of human cruelty and learn to heal from those atrocities. We had to find within ourselves the strength and love to do this, and figure out how to heal the broken pieces of our spirits, minds and hearts, and how to release the damaging patterns that only kept us half alive and stuck in survival mode. We had to heal our ancestral line and release the projected ways of self-destruction, and surrender our fervent need for control. We had to tear off bit by bit the limitations that we were born into. We had to put our bodies back together anew, rewire our brains and let our DNA be changed. We had to overcome incredible odds and yet here we are, stronger than ever. We have found our will and we are unstoppable in our determination to help others heal themselves and be free.