Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fear and Loathing in Baton Rouge

"Every time you substitute kindness for criticism you improve your relationship with yourself.
When you feel depressed, abandoned, anxious, or worthless that’s a big clue you are telling yourself something harsh and untrue. Challenge your beliefs vociferously in the context of unconditional self love and watch your life improve"
~♥ Nicole S. Urdang

Unconditional self-love.  I believe for the first forty years of my life, I practiced unconditional self-loathing.

I didn't even realize what I was doing.

Looking back, I lived in fear and talked to myself ALL THE TIME about how I didn't measure up to others, how I couldn't do whatever was placed before me.  So many, many moments of my life were spent worrying about the next ones (and not being present).

It is no way to live.

I wouldn't speak up.  It didn't matter the situation, or to whom I was speaking.   I would never lead ANYTHING.  It made me nervous just to participate.   There was no way I could lead, even though I could see better ways to do certain things, I would never voice the thoughts in my head.  When I had to call someone on the phone or address someone about something relatively important, it was a capital H,  Huge deal.  I would agonize over it for hours or days and procrastinate.  My husband commented to me how I freeze in my tracks and just don't move.

It seems every interaction I had with others, I felt like I would be found out.  I wasn't who I appeared to be.  I had made good grades, I was cute and had pretty hair.  I was a cheerleader for gosh sakes.  (That's another entire issue there)  I lived by all of the externals - anything that was on the outside: from what groups I associated with, to the name brands I wore, to how I looked.

It is makes me sad to think how little I thought of myself.

How do you come out of that, especially if you don't even have the awareness that it's going on?

For me it was therapy.  And like most people, usually something has to hit a breaking point for anyone to head to therapy, rehab, treatment.  I wanted to find out why I couldn't lose weight and keep it off.  I knew there was something much deeper to my relationship with food.  And that is where my journey to shift from fear to love began.  I didn't even know that's what I was doing.    What I found out was why I couldn't love myself, and the stories I told myself in my head.  I began the process of becoming who I AUTHENTICALLY am.

And the bizarre thing to me, was that my spiritual journey was one and the same as my therapy.  I unintentionally ended up at church in studies that matched exactly what I was learning on the "outside" and I didn't know those studies existed inside the church.  But it is all one and the same.

You know "God is love." {smile} {wink}

At the core of spirituality and therapy is love.  It had been lost for me for a really long time but it's coming back!  Now, when I judge myself or another person, I stop, and think, Hmmm,  oh yeah, that's fear talking.  And these days, the thoughts just flow right out again.  In the beginning of practicing mindfulness, it might take a few days when someone or something really got in my craw.  But lately, it's down to a few hours and for small issues, it takes minutes or seconds.  

It's been a slow journey and at times painful but one that I am gloriously happy to be on.

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