Self-love

A few weeks ago the Strong One brought a little book to Group. It’s called “When I loved myself enough” by Kim McMillen. It’s filled with “wisdom” on filling our lives with self-love and with peace and joy.

Before you vomit, it’s actually just a book of nice little quotes. Literary genius they probably aren’t, but they are helpful, at least they have been for me. Here are some of my favourites.

When I loved myself enough, I began leave whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.

When I loved myself enough, I learned to stop what I am doing, if even for a moment, and comfort that part of me that is scared.

When I loved myself enough, I gave up perfectionism – that killer of joy.

When I loved myself enough, I quit rehashing the past and worrying about the future which keeps me in the present where aliveness lives.

When I loved myself enough, I learned to ask ‘Who in me is feeling this way?’ when I feel anxious, angry, restless or sad. If I listen patiently I discover who needs my love.

When I loved myself enough, I quit exhausting myself by trying so hard.

When I loved myself enough, I quit having to be right which makes being wrong meaningless.

When I loved myself enough, I quit wishing my life looked some other way and began to see that as it is, my life serves my evolution.

When I loved myself enough, I began feeling such relief.

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A shift

So, the Group was ok last night. I credit David with helping me to see the obvious – that I didn’t need to go to places that were too painful, or disclose anything I wasn’t comfortable disclosing. I was conscious of this, and it was ok. Not exactly what I’d call “fun”, but much less distressing than I had anticipated. Phew!

Something weird happened afterwards, though. I feel like there was a quantum shift in my thinking.

Perhaps it was the Pregnant One (who I think really seems to have her sh** together; have this healing jag pretty much nailed) saying things that I often think – like wishing she had the courage to ring her friends and say, “hey, let’s go out for dinner.”

Or perhaps it was the one I call the Unstable One (which isn’t very flattering, or very accurate), but perhaps it was her saying how “unstable” she is and how her life is completely in the toilet, when it very clearly isn’t.

Perhaps it was the little book of affirmations that the Angry One brought in to show us.

Or perhaps it was all of these things stirred together in a big pot.

I came away from the Group thinking that I might finally believe – and I mean REALLY believe:

  • I am a good person
  • I have achieved a lot in my life, against the odds
  • I am loveable
  • I can look after myself, physically and emotionally (well, with a little help on the latter)
  • I accept who I am (though there will always be room for growth)
  • I am safe

I’m sure the Wonder Therapist would be pleased to hear this – it’s only taken me 18-odd months of therapy to realise it!

The elastic band

I’m home. I’m still magically in love with the place I went to for a mini-holiday. It’s such a calming, nurturing, wonderful place. Sadly, much of the warmth I found evaporated once I came home, both literally (because I went from warmth and sunshine to Antarctic blasts and rain) and also figuratively (because the darkness I left behind was waiting for me when I returned). But I’m trying not to forget my Special Place. I haven’t had a chance to post any photos yet, but I will. I promise.

It’s been a big week for me – coming home, my first session with the Back Up Therapist (which was just a lot of catching up, really), getting hammered at work….

But the thing I most want to talk about is The Group. About twelve months ago my therapist suggested I do some group therapy/support group work. I tried and tried to find a group, but could find nothing at the time. And I mean NOTHING. I rang just about every organisation in my State, even some interstate, but nothing. Nada. Zip.

Finally something came up with one of the sexual assault organisations here. The first session was tonight. (I should have warned you that this post is a pretty random dump, but I need to process it a bit before my brain will rest for the night.)

I was incredibly anxious beforehand… what will it be like? What if I’m a freak? What if … what if … what if…

But, it was good. More than good. It’s a group for women who experienced hideous cr@p in their childhoods. There are eight of us. It’s weird sitting in a room full of women who know – and I mean really KNOW – what this is like; who understand the weirdness in my head, and the strangeness in my life. The isolation. The obstacles. The mixed up stuff of my life that I’m learning actually has a root cause. They get it – they REALLY get it.

The group facilitators are lovely and are doing all sorts of things to make us feel welcome and comfortable and safe – even offering to walk us to our cars afterwards, if that will help us feel safe. I’ve never experienced this sort of thing before.

We spent the time tonight getting to know each other (in safe, non-disclosing ways), agreeing on our “rules” and brainstorming issues we might want to discuss over the next eight weeks.

Of course some of the things we talked about were confronting, and brought up stuff I thought I’d laid to rest. The Wonder Therapist said this might happen – she said it might be like an “elastic band” that pulls me back to places I don’t necessarily want to go. Of course there were tears (which was initially quite embarrassing for me until I realised that no one else was embarrassed by my “weakness”, and that others were teary as well).

We brainstormed a whole lot of issues that we might want to talk about over the coming weeks. I was interested in both the sameness of issues on my list and the lists of others … as well as the differences.

For instance, one of the things that is important to me is doing something positive with my hideous cr@p, helping other people in some way (even if I don’t know how yet). Though some others in the group said this is the last thing they want – they just want closure.

And some of the others want to take legal action against their perpetrator, but I am so totally NOT interested in this. For me it just feels like I’d be dragging myself through a whole lot of negative shyte, when I have enough of that in my life already and find more “peace” in the positive elements of my healing.

One thing I learned was that even though these differences exist, we can accept those differences in an open and non-judgemental way. That in itself is a new experience for me, because I’ve always thought that if someone didn’t agree with me, then it meant that I was somehow “wrong.”

I think the biggest thing for me was feeling comfortable with this group. Even after one meeting. I almost always feel awkward and anxious and scared in group situations. But here everyone is so accepting and warm and open. The anxieties I normally feel just weren’t there tonight, which felt totally weird, but very nice. I felt… safe. I’m not sure I’ve ever really felt like that. It felt… good. 🙂 I can honestly say I’m looking forward to doing this, even if it’s going to be hard at times.

One thing came up that I can’t quite process yet… the idea that I will never be “cured” or “better”. I’m not sure what to make of this. On the one hand, of course I won’t ever be “cured” – this isn’t an illness; this isn’t something that can be “fixed” in the same way a disease can be fixed. But, on the other hand, if I am irreparably broken, then what is the point? I need to sit on this one for a bit.

I’m sorry this is such a long post. If you’ve stuck with my ramblings, then thank you (but I won’t hold it against you if you haven’t).

Stay tuned, because I’m sure I’ll talk more about The Group in the coming weeks.