Sunday, January 15, 2012
It's An Inside Job
I've been following along with Ellen's Hate Loss Challenge. Actually, I got waylaid on the very first one, as there was some neat convergence of worlds that led me back to a certain point in my life. Ellen's challenge brought up bullying, an experience that I endured for a number of years in elementary school and into middle school. The bullying came at a time when other chaotic things were going on in my life and perhaps, if events had been singular rather than compound, it would have been easier. Anyway, I hadn't really realized how the school experiences were so intertwined with the other experiences.
The other neon flashing arrow came from a recovery book I was reading and it asked the question: "When did you start believing that you weren't good enough?" So here was the burning bush. It was at the aforementioned point in my life when I started to believe that I was not good enough, that I was flawed in some horrific way. And while I forgave the bullies and did the whole "best revenge is living well" thing, I had not directly confronted and refuted and expelled their assertions to myself. I just wanted it to stop, but I completely accepted and internalized what was being said. Because parts of it were true and therefore, it all must be true. There was just no core of self-esteem to shield it from me. I needed to go back and dispel each of those beliefs that I'd taken on as being true.
And over the years, I latched on to every external reason that I wasn't okay. I would be okay when/if:
I was skinny
I was popular
I was a success professionally
I was pretty
I got asked out a lot
I had a nice car
I had a boyfriend/partner/spouse
I had money/out of debt
I had a nice house
And as I achieved/attained most of those things, it did nothing to change my core relationship/beliefs about myself. I had no real foundation upon which to construct my self-esteem/positive self-beliefs. It's only been with in the last few years that I've began to understand and espouse "take good care of yourself". It really means, for me, if I get myself right with myself, all the rest will follow.
And none of this protects me from life's trials and troubles. Life happens. To everyone. There is no protection or way to control it. Good things as well as painful things are a part of the human existence. My default position was to view pain as a deep personal failing, that if I was better,different,less this, more that, if I had said this, if I had done that, all things that my unhealthy self tries to tell my healthier self, when the truth is I have NO control or power over the situation - but I do have some control, through doing the work, on how it affects me. To learn that I can be sad and that is not a personal failure is huge. To not internalize everything thing that happens, but to just feel whatever real thing it is.
Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Shore up your core.