Monday, May 7, 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays!

I've been doing daily, positive affirmations with some of my DHC friends. The purpose is to literally change our mind about ourselves by replacing all of the negative things we say with positive ones. One of the people participating suggested that this was both delusional and vain. I told them that it isn't false bravado but rather really seeing yourself as you really are not as your self imposed negative thoughts and opinions make you feel you are. I always like the example that we tend to see other people's best qualities and features but we rarely see our own. We tend to judge ourselves not from the sincere compliments we get but often by the tainted insults from others, who almost always have their own agendas and issues, and ourselves and the way we've been conditioned to feel. I was raised to think that pride and confidence were bad things, pure vanity. Whenever I accomplished something as a child, it wasn't met with praise or pride in me but rather with criticism of how I could have done even better or I'd better not let this achievement or honor go to my head. I was always told that I was ugly and flawed so when someone complimented me, those were the people I was suspicious of. I spent most of my twenties just trying to figure out who I was and still, even though I was still accomplishing a lot and gaining success, I never enjoyed it, I never thought I deserved it even though I worked very hard for it. Even though, I had lots of friends who genuinely seemed to love me, I always felt less than them. I felt like I wasn't as good as everyone else and that my entire personality and outward appearance were just a fake facade. I talk about my happiest days in my mid-thirties, well they were in a way and in another way, they were just pretend because I felt like I was having to run to keep up with everyone else and that I never quite measured up. After my father's death, I suddenly developed strong phobias that really affected my life. Looking back, I realize that it was those years of pressure trying to measure up and feeling like I was only a shell, an illusion of a real person that was ready to implode that caused all of my problems. I went to a therapist to deal with the phobias and she told me that I still had issues with my father. I wasn't ready to face that yet but eventually have...but that's another story for another time. She told me something else which has stuck with me for years. We were discussing my insecurities and lack of self esteem. I was telling her about seeing another couple while we were bike riding in the mountains the previous weekend. I said, "They're the type of people I've always envied so much. They were a perfect couple. They were perfect people." She looked perplexed and asked me what I meant. I said, "They are who I would love to be. They look like they have it all together. They and their lives are perfect." My therapist actually started laughing. I asked, what was so funny? She smiled and I said, "You aren't saying that you think I'm one of those people?!" She said, "You would be extremely surprised by how others see you, how many people look up to you and admire you. How many people envy you and your life." I wasn't ready to see that then. I just thought she was crazy. I'd listened to so many years of criticism from family and a few "friends" that I was deaf to the truth. Now, I can look back and see why people would have envied me. I'm not that person any longer or living that life that someone would envy any more but I don't  think their perception of me has changed. The problem is, in the end, it doesn't really matter what any of them, good or bad, think of me. Trite as it sounds, what matters is truly what I think of myself. That is what I hope to change with the daily affirmations. I want to accept myself, love myself, and admire myself to the point that I know I'm a strong and capable person who can accomplish her goals.

In the past few days, I've realized so much about me and my life. I'd never talked to anyone about the criticism which was a constant part of my life for so long. Of course, even though I was miserable doing it, I probably wouldn't have accomplished so much if I hadn't had that push of insecurity, of trying to catch up or prove something. Still, that success was fleeting because I was dead set on sabotaging myself but you know what? I think I can achieve it again and this time around I will enjoy it and appreciate it and most importantly, feel I deserve it! I can find balance in my life,too and I can lose weight and be fit and energetic again. In fact, I feel like I can do anything I want.

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