“How do I work on loving myself?” It’s a question people often ask me. Self-compassion, self-love and self-forgiveness are not skills we readily learn in school, work or society. These were skills so imperative to my healing yet not readily found until I started to do my own inner work and exploration.
First, I dropped the substance use. Using substances was a destructive coping mechanism I used to “get by” and “not feel.” My reality was that I needed to feel. I was keeping myself in the suffering by resisting my process. It terrified me. I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle the feelings. What if I went crazy? The truth is that substance use and any other maladaptive behavior stands in the way of connection to Self.
I was 6 months sober when I started to work with my limiting beliefs and self-judgment. I started with a list of judgments against myself. The list was long, depressing and full of victim consciousness. I had judgments about my judgments, lol! However, I was determined to live a different life and was clear that I had to change my thinking. Changing my thinking meant that I would process my past, accept not condone what had happened and free myself from the bondage of self-hatred. I knew that I would not maintain recovery without coming to acceptance of my Self. Most people want to focus on “fixing” the outside; I had intuitive wisdom that my healing was an inside job.
Once I had my list of limiting beliefs and self-judgments, I began to work self-forgiveness statements around them. I decided to work self-forgiveness around all my judgments. I went through the list writing self-forgiveness statements. I was forgiving myself for buying into these beliefs and judgments as my truth. I was forgiving myself for holding these beliefs and judgments as my identity. I was forgiving myself for treating myself so poorly over the years. It was all a big misunderstanding. As a child I had picked up misinterpretations of myself and solidified these interpretations as the essence of my being. That’s what had been so painful for all these years. I had been connecting with my humanness as truth versus connecting with my divinity as my truth.
Self-forgiveness statements lead into truth statements. There is this process of self-compassion that comes through when I practice self-forgiveness. There is a clearing and an opening in my mind, body and spirit. My breath is deeper. There is love available to me because that is the truth of my essence. That is the truth of your essence too. We simply forgot through all of our life experience and lack of skills to truly understand the human experience.
1. List of self-judgments
2. Self-forgiveness statement
“I forgive myself for buying into the misunderstanding that…”
3. Truth statement
“The truth is that I am..”