Accepting yourself for who you are is the first major step of your amazing journey.
“I wish I was skinnier/ less weird/taller/better/stronger. I could never do that I am too busy/built like this/upset” Does this sound familiar? This was the way I spoke to myself. When I first realised that I was suffering with postnatal depression, I dismissed it. I told myself that I was always weird and that I had never been right. I told myself I wasn't looking after myself because I didn't deserve it, I wanted so bad to be different but had no ability to change. Through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy I learned how to face my problems and confront my fears and instead of wishing I was different accepting that right now, I have an illness. It is not my fault. I am not feeling well and so I have to make the best of what I've got and slowly improve me..for me. Don't get me wrong, this is not an easy task and sure I still needed medication after but accepting myself allowed me to tell the truth..to myself, my family and the doctors and therefore got me the help I required.
My therapist laid out my thought process for me in a simple diagram:
Worry (I hope I don't get an illness I cant control) →
Anxiety( OH MY GOD I had some very intrusive thoughts that
I cant get rid of there must be something seriously wrong with me)→
Panic Attack (now I am dying, I cant breathe and I just know
something bad is going to happen) →
Feeling bad (pains aches, sickness, dizziness) →
Back to worry and the cycle continues and spirals out of control.
So how do we over come this?
- Accept yourself and write out what's holding you back eg.I started out in therapy saying that low confidence was holding me back, I decided to start a journal that night and just let myself go. Get to the root of your fears and accept that these things may have hurt you once and cant be forgotten but can be acknowledged, accepted and you can begin to think how you can assure this doesn't happen again.
- Set small goals..don't start big..buildI realised it was unrealistic for me to want to own a business if I wasn't physically able to leave the house and deal with people.. instead of beating myself up I made a ladder of change for myself where I would start at the bottom and work my way to the top.
____Reach out and be myself on social media____
____Showing my talent to people___
____Talk to People_____
____Try new things____
____Believe in myself__
____Stop comparing myself to others____
___Write a journal____
- When I was told to practice meditation and mindfulness I thought, yea right I cant go to the toilet alone as a mother, How will I find time for meditation? Easy..
- Start a grateful box, write out each day something you are grateful for and put away to remind yourself in the dark days.
- When someone compliments you, dwell on it. Write it down later if you have to just really concentrate on it and you will start to believe it.
- The famous “superhero pose” really by literally acting out the pose of a proud superhero it has been proven that you will become more confident and happy.
- Do not dismiss your thoughts. If you feel you were treated badly then that's just how you feel..you do not owe anybody an apology for your feelings. If you are hurt you are hurt go away cool down and move on.
- Change the world.. We dwell so much on what we can change, why not evaluate what you can change? Volunteer, visit someone you know is lonely, smile at people, give compliments – these are all contributions to making people feel better and making life better for others.
- Most importantly- respect yourself. Don't put yourself down to others, and don't allow them to put you down. You are a fighter, a survivor and you are strong. You can overcome and don't need to put others down to lift yourself up.
Remember, everyone is different. Everyone has battles to fights, big or small, secretly or otherwise. You are no “weirder” than the next person. You are not the cause of your illness. You are not to be laughed at at the expense of others. You are not a scapegoat. You are not a pushover. You are not flawed. You are not ugly. You are not alone.