90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 29 – How I Abuse Myself

Letters from A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 29: How I Abuse Myself

Dear Self,

Looking in the mirror, I’ve never met someone as cruel to me as I am to myself. I couldn’t imagine talking to a friend like I talk to me. I can’t believe I never noticed how bad I abuse myself.

I abuse myself physically by not taking care of my body and internal health. I make everyone else more important than making sure I’m in the best possible health. I don’t give myself any time to properly take care of my body. I spend money on things that contribute to the abuse of my body inside instead of investing in my health. I push myself to the point of crashing and my body pays the price.

I abuse myself emotionally by choosing belief systems and behavior patterns that contribute to my suffering. I push myself with my cruel and hurtful self-talk.  Then I go out and attract people to my life that reflect how bad I feel about myself. Then I blame them for the way I feel. Really…I’m the one responsible for me suffering.

I abuse myself mentally by blaming myself for things I can’t control. I don’t accept myself exactly the way I am and my mental well-being suffers for it. I know I’m responsible for my feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions, so abusing myself for not being more than I am is mentally exhausting. My fuse is short because I’m constantly attacking myself, so I end up attacking others either passive aggressively or aggressively, but I don’t attack anyone more than I attack me.

I’ve carried such guilt with all the blame I’ve been holding onto. It’s time to let it all go and start treating myself with the love and respect that I deserve. It’s time for me to stop abusing the one person that I AM responsible for. I know that this will take some time to change patterns that I’ve been holding onto for so long. I will commit to being patient with myself and do the best I can.

I’m ready to become aware of how I’m abusing myself on a regular basis. My hope is that with my awareness I will be able to spot what’s not working and start picking up new healthier patterns that do. I’m grateful that I can see myself, so that I can heal myself.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

A Better Me

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Did you read today’s companion piece? 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 29 – Self-Abuse

Don’t miss a day of the 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series and 90-Day A Better Me Series. Catch yourself up by exploring FromALovingPlace.com, Facebook, and/or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 29 – Self-Abuse

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 29: Self-Abuse

“If you abuse yourself very badly, you can even tolerate someone who beats you up, humiliates you, and treats you like dirt. Why? Because in your belief system you say, ‘I deserve it. This person is doing me a favor by being with me. I’m not worthy of love and respect. I’m not good enough.’”

-Don Miguel Ruiz

In The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, he wrote a few paragraphs about abuse. Reading the passage up above broke my whole world wide open. I felt the foundation under me shake and my house of fear began to crack apart. That is exactly how I felt, Like I deserved being emotionally beaten down. I had to face that I was allowing him to continue to talk to me like I was a piece of trash is because that is how I felt about myself.

 Side Note:

If you have a similar reaction to the material, please exhale now. Make sure to do it all the way. Get all the air pushed out of you and take a few deep breaths. If you need to stop reading and take a break because this passage triggered you, do it. Even after all this time and all the progress I have made, I can’t even believe how awful I was to myself, and how much pain I would allow myself to go through to prove it.

If we don’t want to be treated badly, we have to stop abusing ourselves. If we can’t look in the mirror and be kind to ourselves, we are attracting the energy of hate into our realities. This can come in a variety of ways. People may see us as having a chip on our shoulder. If we have friends they are the kind that will commiserate in our victimhood. We attract toxic relationships. We attract bosses who disrespect us. We have drama all around us. We might not experience it in all these areas, if there is a place we feel confident, we won’t experience it there. What areas we do feel it, we sit and blame the world without taking responsibility for the real person who is hurting us—Ourselves. Our own personal perspective of pain, fear, and suffering is hurting us. We believe someone’s view that says we HAVE to blame someone else for our pain, but the truth is suffering starts in the mirror.

If our perception of ourselves is abusive and full of fear, shame, blame, judgment and hate (like I’ve covered over the last 28 days) we will perceive the world outside of us according to how we evaluate our inner world. If we are abusive to ourselves, emotionally, physically, and/or psychologically we will sabotage everything that will take us to a level of happiness that we are uncomfortable with. The outside world treats us the way we tell it to.

This doesn’t mean that once we have a good self-concept and we take the time to take care of ourselves that challenges won’t come our way. Whatever comes our way has the opportunity to help us grow or allows us to sink back into old patterns so we get the chance to go deeper. Sometimes the greatest challenges help us find the path to serving the world in the healthiest way possible.

A friend of mine once gave me the suggestion to get a picture of myself as a little girl and talk to her in the way I think she deserves. Our emotional maturity stops the second we stop looking at ourselves for the answers and start blaming the world for how it treats us, this is the time we become vulnerable to addictions and abusive cycles in our relationships.

When we are victims of trauma early in our lives, it is very challenging to come into adulthood with a healthy self-concept. We weren’t emotionally mature enough to see beyond the black and white. This person did this to me or this happened to me, so it is the fault of the person or event. It is easy to stay the victim once we have been a victim. We don’t know better. I know I didn’t! I tried everything I could think of to try to help myself like therapy, church, spiritual groups, reading, in-treatment programs, outpatient programs, affirmations, writing, reiki, healings, and meditation.  Even with all I tried, I had to go through years of suffering to finally get that my problem was how horrible I was to myself. None of the help I got stuck, because I was still abusing myself.

After focusing my unhappiness on someone else’s drinking for way too many years and letting that be my excuse for treating the situation with hateful energy, I finally reached the point I needed dig down through the rocky foundation and get rid of all the hate making my life so miserable. The 12-steps of AL-ANON helped me dig myself out of the hole I created. I didn’t realize how powerful my shame cycle was until I dug myself deep into the work.

I didn’t go through this phase of my journey alone. That helped me see that I wasn’t the only one who beat themselves down. I started looking at the world differently. I wanted to live a healthier life, so I started seeking different ways to view the world. Everyone is different, but what I realized is that I needed examples of different ways to do things. I needed to see relationships that were healthy even in the midst of struggle. I had to teach myself a new way of looking at myself. Otherwise, I would continue to send this hateful energy out just for it to be returned back to me. I was done with this vicious cycle.

After peeling away layer after layer I started to see patterns of self-hate that went back beyond me. I saw how toxic my parents relationship was and how I continued that cycle because it felt normal to me. I had belief systems that worked against me in so many different ways to squash my value and self-worth. It was important to me to acknowledge the beliefs that hurt my view of myself.

img_3481

We will get the lessons we are ready to learn from. We might need to build some strength and courage before we can go deeper into what we are feeling. I got to the point that I attracted a narcissist to my life, because I needed to see just how far my darkness went. If it wasn’t for that extreme lesson, I don’t know if I ever would have figured out how cruel I was to myself. If you haven’t read the shame section in 90-Day A Better Me Series, it is an important one to look at in order to set yourself free from the self-abuse cycle. Shame was covered on Days 7-12.

Just for Today

Get out a piece a paper or a notebook. Look in the mirror. STAY THERE! What is coming up? If it gets uncomfortable stay longer! Write down how you are talking to yourself. This can be a layered process. If you feel like this is too intense to do right now, Louise Hay has a book called Mirror Work. It guides the reader through a whole program of doing the work in the mirror, one day at a time. On your journey with me, I don’t spend too much time here, but it is an important place to go back to make sure you are being honest with how you really feel about yourself.

Come back later to see today’s Letter from A Better Me. If you are ready to really dive into the work, you can sign-up with me to do the 35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp (click here for details).

When you are doing this work it is very important to be gentle with yourself. Don’t abuse yourself for abusing yourself. Our pasts can help us grow or hinder us from growing. It’s all in our hands.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Did you read today’s companion piece? 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 29 – How I Abuse Myself

 

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 19 – Using Judgment to Act Against Myself

Letters From A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 19: Using Judgment to Act Against Myself

Dear Self,

I now see how I’ve been using judgment both towards myself and towards others to tear myself down. I see where the energy of judging has kept me trapped in a place I’ve been struggling to get out of. I see that my judgments don’t change anything. They just make my problems bigger.

I can’t fight other people’s judgments about me. That is their own issue. I can simply be and do the best I can to lead the life I want to live. I don’t have to take any of their judgments personally, because how they see me is a reflection on them. If they are a person who is meant to be in my life, they will appreciate my value. If they don’t, they won’t. That’s okay! They are doing me a favor by showing me who they are. That way I can decide what place they will have in our out of my life without letting their views affect my inner world.

I’m committed to putting out the energy that will lead me to being the best version of myself. This means I need to be aware of how I’m using my judgments at all times.

If I’m not, I can easily slip back into unhealthy thought cycles. I know the power is in my hands to change.

I’m grateful I’ve seen my choice in this situation, so that I have space to come up with solutions that will work in and for my life. I’m so grateful for the understanding that nobody has the power of my thoughts, feelings, actions, and reactions except for me. This gives me a sense of freedom that no one will be able to take away from me.

With Love and Gratitude,

A Better Me

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Are you keeping up with the daily letters and messages? If not, simply explore the blog and go back through. You can start at Day 1 or pick and choose topics based on what you want to focus on. Enjoy the journey any way you want to! Don’t you love having choices??

Today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 19 – Being Judgmental is an Act Against Ourselves

5 Ways to Stop Abusing Ourselves: How to Bring Healthy Relationships into Our lives

If you are one of the many people who have wondered what a healthy relationship looks like, more than likely you are guilty of abusing yourself. Why do I say this? Because healthy people don’t have to ask the question, they just have healthy relationships. This isn’t just an outer appearance healthy; this is the healthy that comes from the core. Those of us who struggle with issues of self-worth, guilt, and shame have to dig really deep to even figure out where these insecurities come from and have to do even more digging and work to figure out ways to let these past struggles go in order to move on and have healthy relationships. I will give you some of the tools I used to break the horrible cycle of self-abuse, but I can’t do the work for you. If you don’t do it, you will continue on the same path and continue to ask yourself the question, what do healthy relationships even look like? I don’t know what the result will be for you, but for me…It was AMAZING!!!!!

1. Become AWARE of Your Part

img_5942

I know it is so much easier to blame the other person involved, but we are treated the way we project out. What does this mean? Watch how you are talking, communicating, and acting towards yourself. I’ve read so many relationship books throughout the years and whether the author was talking about it in ways I didn’t understand or I was focused on the outward goal that I ignored the inner work. I don’t know, but seriously I didn’t see this clearly until I was taking a college course at 38 years old. A college professor told the class how “We’re as sick or as healthy as our partners.” WHAT????? I didn’t realize my sickness was my feeling of having no value to someone else. I didn’t know that my sickness wanted credit for making other people better. I didn’t realize how utterly unlovable I felt. I was one sick puppy who spoke horribly to myself and treated my body like a giant punching bag.

The way we treat ourselves is like any other habit. Somewhere we pick up an action or behavior. We start repeating it daily. Once we can do it on autopilot, BANG!!! It’s now a habit. Habits of self-abuse tend to hide under rocks, so we don’t tend to see them until we are ready to start looking under rocks to find them. If you’re ready to start, here are some good questions to bring out some of the hard to see habits that have been taking over your psyche:

  • How do I talk to myself when I make a mistake?
  • How do I treat myself when I do something nice for myself?
  • How often do I do something nice for myself?
  • Do I feel guilty about doing something nice for myself?
  • Do I exercise my body and mind so that it can function at its best ability?
  • Do I talk to myself in ways that I wouldn’t accept people talking to my best friend?
  • Do I talk to myself in ways that if a partner, parent, or stranger did it, it would be called emotional abuse?
  • When I look in the mirror, what do I see?
  • When I let other people’s behaviors stir me up, what thoughts about myself are going through my head?
  • Do I take responsibility for other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions?
  • Do I mentally beat myself up?
  • Does my eating support a healthy mental outlook?
  • Do I criticize myself when I don’t exercise, eat right, or have unhealthy encounters with others?

Be honest and write the answers out. Really become aware of how you are treating yourself. It matters, because if you accept that treatment from the one person you are with from the cradle to the grave, you will make it acceptable for others to take your lead.

2. Accept Responsibility for Your Choices

img_0154-001

If you are anything like me, that list above revealed a lot of not so nice truths about how you treat yourself. Some of them were very well hidden. Don’t use this list as yet another reason to beat yourself up. You are finding your way out, which is something to be celebrated!

The way I started accepting my responsibility is by seeing my relationships as lessons of how I was treating myself. I used a method by Byron Katie called “The Work” (click on it and it will take you to her site). The method consists of four questions and then a turn around. This process REALLY helped me to start to accept the responsibility for what I was putting out there. It helped me see what these partners were latching onto and flinging right back at me.

Now, when I’m being triggered its my sign to look at myself. I’ve accepted that my lack of self-care can lead me to be mistreated by others. My critical eye on myself can create me to have a critical eye on the relationships in my life. If I’m judging others, I’m judging myself worse. One of the questions I used to ask myself was why did I choose him? I even wrote a piece on it.

Every partner we choose gives us great lessons. We just have to open our eyes wide enough to see them. When a relationship is unhealthy, we aren’t healthy. Healthy people don’t attract unhealthy partners. Accepting our contribution to the chaos is the way out of the ugly patterns that keep us making the same mistakes over and over.

Now, here’s the trick: We can’t beat ourselves up over the choices we’ve made to get us where we are now. If we do that, we stay in the cycle of self-abuse. We have to forgive ourselves, find the lessons, and move on.

3. Take Action on Your Personal Journey

img_0840

We can’t do this for anyone else. No one can do this for us either. No friend can tell us enough times. No mom or dad can forbid us from getting treated badly again. No therapist can listen to our problems enough to support us not doing any work. We have to do the work. We will stay unhealthy until we decide with all our convictions that we truly want something better than we have right now. Nothing will change until we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “I love you exactly the way you are” and more importantly, mean it. If you, like I did, struggle with this part of the journey, Louise Hay recently wrote a book called Mirror Work. She’s been doing seminars on this for decades, but she finally came out with a book that has a 21-day process. It took me a little longer than 21 days to accomplish what I wanted to, but this offers a great start and if you can stick to it, you will start treating yourself better.

We can’t blame anybody else for where we are right now. We all make choices to contribute to our best or worst attributes. We all have the opportunity to make an ugly past into something beautiful or to let it be our excuse to hold us hostage to our misery. We also each get to make the choice of the life we want for ourselves. As long as our actions follow the path of what we want, we can achieve it. As for healthy relationships, we can only attract healthy partners if we become a healthy partner. We can’t tell the Universe we want healthy lungs and then pick up a pack of cigarettes everyday. If we want healthy lungs we need to do a good cardio routine, drink water, and stay where there is good air quality. Take responsibility for your actions. The relationship with yourself has to be fixed before any other healthy relationship is possible.

This is your journey! A couple techniques that may help you commit to taking positive actions are:

  • Practicing Positive self-talk
  • Writing a list of all the positive attributes you would like to see in a partner, then start taking action steps to make sure you yourself are portraying those attributes.
  • Write a story of a positive life you would like to see for yourself. Make sure you are the hero in your own story. Don’t put the power of happiness in someone else’s hands.
  • Make a list of three things you like about yourself EVERY day for 60 days. This is you doing one thing for yourself daily to take care of your emotional and mental well-being.
  • Make a daily gratitude list
  • Walk 10,000 steps a day
  • Get outdoors and just watch nature unfold
  • SLOW DOWN and be Present
  • Meditate
  • Pray

WAIT!!! This list is not meant to be taken on all at once. Pick a couple of things and start there. I like change right now, so sometimes when I start looking at positive outlets for change, I want to take them on all at once. Then the second I fail, I use it as an excuse to get back into the pattern of self-talk that says, I’m not enough. I can’t do it. Don’t go there. Of course if we take on too much it will be too much. Start small, we can’t fix ourselves overnight. A friend once enlightened me on how the process of personal growth takes time. The longer we’ve had these self-sabotaging habits, the longer it will take to unlearn them and replace them with healthier ones. BE PATIENT!

You may experience big changes, then follow it up with a little step backwards in order to take the lesson a little deeper. Remember, we will only be given the lessons we are ready for.

4. Put Yourself on top of Your Own Priority List

img_3506

Don’t think I don’t know how hard we can make this one. Believe me, I know and as mom and a partner, I can definitely challenge myself to stay on my own priority list. With awareness, acceptance, and action I get see my progress. Now, I see a lot faster when I haven’t made my needs and myself a priority. I see when my kids are suffering, because I’m stretching myself too thin and making us all crazy for it. I can see it with my partner when I start expecting him to be someone he’s not and resenting him for taking care of his own needs. All signs lead to me not being at the top of my own priority list. My most recent lesson with this has led me to see that I just need to focus on the 24 hours ahead of me.

We don’t need to get caught up in any unknown future that keeps us from being available today. That’s what a calendar is for. Taking on only one day at a time makes self-care possible. The second we get into future thinking, all the sudden our time magically disappears to do anything to take care of our own personal needs. Just today, what are you going to do to take care of you?

Oh the excuses we can come up with to not do this one. Please, stop. If we have the time to do things for others that they can do for themselves; let them do it! They can be responsible for their own stuff; we have to be responsible for ours. If it means we need to get up 30 minutes earlier to do a meditation, exercise, or read a chapter in a book that contributes to the life we want to have; MAKE TIME FOR IT! We may need to use our lunch break or come up with a different routine at bedtime, but whatever it takes. We are all WORTH IT!! If we truly want to attract a healthier lifestyle, our life has to project it. We can only do that if our own life becomes a priority.

5. Be KIND to Yourself!

img_3481

Developing self-care, self-respect, self-love, and self-worth are all big tasks for people who have to ask themselves, “What does a healthy relationship look like?” We took a long time to get so down on ourselves that we don’t even know what healthy is anymore, some of us may have never known. We can’t expect anything to change over night. Just like anything else, we have to build up muscles that are weak or have never used before. The only way to keep going in the right direction is to practice, practice, and practice. We are going to make mistakes, but they are there to help us learn what we need to work on. We may go back to unhealthy relationships and be shunned by the people who love us, but if we need to do it to learn, then that is our journey. We may go for a person who is worse for us than any other person prior, but we brought the relationship there for a reason. Maybe, just maybe, we are ready to see what we need to do to break the cycle. Any way if happens, be kind to yourself.

Self-Abuse gets us nowhere and will keep us stuck wondering if we will ever be truly loved. We all get to choose how we will be treated by the people we love. When we love ourselves, we won’t attempt to hurt others or ourselves. We will not attract others who are looking to hurt us. They aren’t even meaning to hurt us. They, like us, are caught in a cycle of self-abuse caused by shame and guilt. Some people’s shame is so deep seeded it causes them to mentally and/or physically abuse others. Most of these people are burying their shame so deep that they have no idea how badly they are abusing themselves. They are projecting hate and rage that is stirring inside of them. It’s very sad to see, but they will only get help when they are ready to change. Our job is to stop focusing on the relationship that is causing us pain on the outside and start focusing on the one that we can change, the one we have created for ourselves on the inside. The first step is start figuring out ways you can be kinder to yourself.

img_3486

We will project a person who people respect, because we respect ourselves. We will project a person who inspires love, because we know how to love ourselves. We can’t fake this, if we try, the truth will come out. We will continue to get lessons to help us see the beautiful person that lies within the walls we’ve created. Trust the process! You are Worth it!

If you are in a situation where your physical safety is at risk, PLEASE seek help from an abuse shelter in your area. They are trained to help to keep you safe. If this process is too much for you to do on your own, please seek help from a professional. The key is for you to get the help you need to stop the cycle.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Facebook.com/FromALovingPlace