Insight without action only gets you so far. In order to grow, self-awareness and self-acceptance must be accompanied by new behavior. This involves taking risks and venturing outside your comfort one. It may involve speaking up, trying something new, going somewhere alone, or setting a boundary. It also means setting internal boundaries by keeping commitments to yourself, or saying “no” to your Critic or other old habits you want to change. Instead of expecting others to meet all your needs and make you happy, you learn to take actions to meet them, and do things that give you fulfillment and satisfaction in your life.Each time you try out new behavior or take a risk, you learn something new about yourself and your feelings and needs. You’re creating a stronger sense of yourself, as well as self-confidence and self-esteem. This builds upon itself in a positive feedback loop vs. the downward spiral of codependency, which creates more fear, depression, and low self-esteem. Words are actions. They have power and reflect your self-esteem. Becoming assertive is a learning process and is perhaps the most powerful tool in recovery. Assertiveness requires that you know yourself and risk making that public. It entails setting limits. This is respecting and honoring yourself. You get to be the author of your life – what you’ll do and not do and how people will treat you. Taken from an article By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT http://psychcentral.com/lib/recovery-from-codependency/00014956
It’s like everyone tells a story
about themselves inside their own head.
Always. All the time.
That story makes you what you are.
We build ourselves out of that story.
Healing essentially involves self-acceptance. This is not only a step, but a life-long journey. People come to therapy to change themselves, not realizing that the work is about accepting themselves. Ironically, before you can change, you have to accept the situation. As they say, “What you resist, persists.”In recovery, more about yourself is revealed that requires acceptance, and life itself presents limitations and losses to accept. This is maturity. Accepting reality opens the doors of possibility. Change then happens. New ideas and energy emerge that previously stagnated from self-blame and fighting reality. For example, when you feel sad, lonely, or guilty, instead of making yourself feel worse, you have self-compassion, soothe yourself, and take steps to feel better. Self-acceptance means that you don’t have to please everyone for fear that they won’t like you. You honor your needs and unpleasant feelings and are forgiving of yourself and others. This goodwill toward yourself allows you to be self-reflective without being self-critical. Your self-esteem and confidence grow, and consequently, you don’t allow others to abuse you or tell you what to do. Instead of manipulating, you become more authentic and assertive, and are capable of greater intimacy. By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT http://psychcentral.com/lib/recovery-from-codependency/00014956
Who looks outside,
who looks inside,
Carl Gustav Jung
Usually adult males who are unable to make emotional connections with the women they choose to be intimate with are frozen in time, unable to allow themselves to love for fear that the loved one will abandon them. If the first woman they passionately loved, the mother, was not true to her bond of love, then how can they trust that their partner will be true to love. Often in their adult relationships these men act out again and again to test their partner’s love. While the rejected adolescent boy imagines that he can no longer receive his mother’s love because he is not worthy, as a grown man he may act out in ways that are unworthy and yet demand of the woman in his life that she offer him unconditional love. This testing does not heal the wound of the past, it merely reenacts it, for ultimately the woman will become weary of being tested and end the relationship, thus reenacting the abandonment. This drama confirms for many men that they cannot put their trust in love. They decide that it is better to put their faith in being powerful, in being dominant. Bell Hooks
Among men, sex sometimes
results in intimacy;
among women, intimacy
sometimes results in sex.
We all come into this imperfect world, in imperfect families, as imperfect versions of ourselves. Not one of us is without a story or two about family dysfunction, economic hardships, medical limitations, self-esteem challenges and more. Through conscious choices, personal commitment and hard work, we all can experience the world as fully competent, secure, loving and loved individuals. With a fervent belief in ourselves and a commitment to becoming the very best version of ourselves, we can achieve our God-given right to experience joy and healthy love. Taking good care of yourself, healing your emotional wounds, and unconditionally loving yourself, will bring you closer to your dreams. My very favorite quote by George Eliot exemplifies the malleable and indomitable nature of the human psyche/human spirit: “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” As a survivor of some rather challenging relationships with emotional manipulators, I must say to the codependent readers there is most definitely hope for healthy love! I am living proof that if you make a commitment to a healing and transformational process, it is possible to squelch, if not completely stop, the dysfunctional voices that our emotional manipulator parents instilled in our minds. We all have the power to terminate the commanding unconscious force that compels us to replicate our childhood trauma through our choices of dysfunctional adult romantic partners. With the help of loved ones and qualified professional services, it is possible to heal those childhood wounds that have unconsciously directed you to “dance” with the same dysfunctional partner over and over again. Stopping your own personal insanity will take perseverance and courage. It will require dedication, diligence, endurance, patience and probably a stint or two of psychotherapy. From an article by Ross A. Rosenberg http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ross-a-rosenberg/dealing-with-codependency-_b_3854196.html
Better a diamond
with a flaw
than a pebble
A self-loathing person, by definition, feels essentially inadequate in some way. I say “essentially” because this is a feeling that is deeply ingrained and therefore resistant to persuasion or evidence. No matter how successful the self-loather is or how much praise he or she receives from other people, something prevents the self-loather from believing he or she has value or worth. If the self-loather wants to overcome this problem, he or she will have to get to the source of the self-loathing—most likely with the help of a therapist—rather than simply try to beat it down with praise. Just as you can’t tell someone suffering from depression to “cheer up,” you can’t tell a self-loather that “you’re great.” Both problems run much deeper than that. In the meantime, however, there may be a way that the self-loather can look at himself or herself that can help to lessen the feelings of inadequacy. Ironically, it is based on humility, which self-loathers often have lots of. But instead of humility about one’s attributes and abilities, let’s think about humility with respect to self-knowledge, or recognizing that we don’t know ourselves nearly as well as we think we do. When we say that people see us differently than we see ourselves, we may be assuming that our self-perception is accurate or “correct” and other people’s perceptions being not only different but “wrong.” But there is no right or wrong way to see you… Taken from an article by Mark D. White, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/maybe-its-just-me/201306/do-the-self-loathing-see-the-same-self-others-do
If you had a person
in your life treating
you the way you
you would have
gotten rid of them
a long time ago…
To be true to yourself means to act in accordance with who you are and what you believe. If you know and love yourself you will find it effortless to be true to yourself. Just as you cannot love anyone else until you love yourself, you cannot be true to anyone else until you are true to yourself. Be who you are! Have the courage to accept yourself as you really are, not as someone else thinks you should be. Do not take action or pretend to be someone else for the sake of gaining acceptance. When you do things that are not genuine or a reflection of the real you, you will not be happy with yourself and will end up confused. You’ll be confused because you won’t know whom to please, or how. Self-respect comes from being true to who you really are and from acting in accordance with your fundamental nature. When you respect yourself, others will respect you. They will sense that you are strong and capable of standing up for yourself and your beliefs. When you are true to yourself, you allow your individuality and uniqueness to shine through. You respect the opinions of others but do not conform to stereotypes or their expectations of you. To be true to yourself takes courage. It requires you to be introspective, sincere, open-minded and fair. It does not mean that you are inconsiderate or disrespectful of others. It means that you will not let others define you or make decisions for you that you should make for yourself. http://www.essentiallifeskills.net/betruetoyourself.html
He who trims himself
to suit everyone
will soon whittle
Self-critical over-achievers are not the only ones that lack self-compassion. Some of the kindest people do as well. (Associate professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas, Kristin Neff’s) work confirms this observation: There is no correlation between the trait of self-compassion and feelings of compassion towards others. Many people, women in particular, are far more compassionate and kinder towards others than to themselves. Fortunately, self-compassion can be learned. It is a practice that can help us all become less self-critical and, by preventing the stress and turmoil thereof, allow us to be happier, more successful, and of greater service to others. Self-compassion does not mean we stop working hard and aiming for success. Instead, it is a change in attitude and is linked with greater well-being as well as superior performance outcomes. Nor does self-compassion imply self-indulgence. For example, a parent who cares about her child will insist on the child eating vegetables and doing her homework, no matter how unpleasant these experiences are for the child. Similarly, taking it easy on yourself may be appropriate in some situations, but in times of over-indulgence and laziness, self-compassion involves toughening up and taking responsibility. When you are motivated by self-compassion, you understand failure not as a painful indicator of defeat but as a learning opportunity from which growth can follow. Whereas self-criticism leads to painful and self-defeating emotions in the face of failure, Self-Compassion therefore embraces challenge. People with higher self-compassion are therefore more likely to improve their performance after failure! Moreover, by preventing the defeating effects of self-criticism, self-compassion allows us to maintain peace of mind and thereby retain our energy. By remaining calm and understanding in the face of rejection, failure or criticism, we develop level-headedness, strength and emotional stability which allow us to have higher well-being and to be more productive and successful. From “Overcoming Shame: The Powerful Benefits of a Little Self-Love” by Emma Seppala, Ph.D http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201211/overcoming-shame-the-powerfulbenefits-little-self-love
Most men lead lives
of quiet desperation
and go to the grave
with the song still in them.
Henry David Thoreau
Self-consciousness keeps us fighting that battle to control our self-image. But obsessing over our shortcomings inevitably traps us in embarrassment and shame. The difference between embarrassment and shame is slight but significant, and the distinction is crucial for building a protective armor of self-esteem. When we introduce our friends to a colleague and forget her name, it’s an embarrassing blow to our image, because we think others are viewing us in a negative light. If there are enough embarrassing moments that we begin viewing ourselves badly, then our self-image collapses and we feel that heavy weight of shame. Kill shame-inducing situations before they become a threat, advises David Allyn, Ph.D., a Harvard-trained social scientist and visiting scholar at Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy. His book, I Can’t Believe I Just Did That, includes a few pointers:
- Be on time. Punctuality creates self-discipline and impresses both others and yourself.
- Stick to the facts. You’re bound to get caught lying, so why bother? Lies just set you up with unnecessary opportunities to feel ashamed.
- Cut the gossip. Comments made behind your back sting, and don’t forget how you feel about those who talked about you. Focus on deep, meaningful talk…
- Keep your word. It feels good to be considered reliable, so honor your word no matter what the reasons are for disregarding them.
If the damage is already done and you find yourself at the tail end of an embarrassing situation… Don’t lash out in defense or lie to cover your tracks—you’ll just end up feeling worse and likely complicate a relationship that doesn’t need complicating. Try laughing it off or explaining why you made the mistake. Here’s a very important point to remember: People tend to forget others’ mistakes and obsess over their own. From an article by Neil Parmar http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200406/self-conscious-get-over-it
Don’t worry about what
others think about you;
worry about what they think
of themselves when they’re with you.
Sexual abuse by a brother or sister is not uncommon, with studies suggesting it is more common than parent-child incest. Some studies contend it is the most common form of child abuse. Sibling sexual abuse can have serious immediate and long-term effects on victims. Many survivors state that they feel they were in some way to blame for their abuse. This can be particularly so when they were close in age to the abusive sibling. This feeling of “being in it together”, of being a co-conspirator rather than a victim, does not acknowledge the power dynamics that existed, and further adds to feelings of guilt, shame and embarrassment. Some survivors may feel responsible for the “fall out” that follows a disclosure of sibling abuse, or may feel responsible for keeping the family together. Sibling sexual abuse is a gross abuse of trust. Survivors often reveal feeling betrayed by their sibling who they feel they should have been able to love and trust. They may also feel betrayed by parents who failed to protect them. Many survivors describe their childhood as a lonely time, with their experiences of abuse leaving them feeling isolated from, and different to other children. Survivors will often reveal feelings of shame and deep embarrassment connected to being sexually assaulted by a brother or sister. Adult survivors can wrestle with especially shameful feelings if they feel they did not fight off a sibling’s sexual advances or if they sought out that affection. These feelings can be particularly strong if the age difference between the siblings is not great. Feelings of grief for the past and future relationship can be deep. For some, the realization that their relationship with a brother or sister, their closest genetic relative, is not as they wished or hoped it to be, comes with an enormous sense of sorrow. http://www.secasa.com.au/pages/sibling-sexual-abuse-information-for-adults-abused-as-children/
What distresses me at times
is that I meet a lot of people
in their 40′s, 50′s, 60′s,
who still say they’re
a victim of child abuse.
The approach of dissolving our image of perfection sounds contrary to our sense of logic about building confidence and esteem. This is because we have the belief that achieving the image of perfection will result in positive happy emotions and feeling confident with our success. We desire to feel these feelings and chase the image of perfection we have attached to them. What we may not be aware of is that achieving our image of success doesn’t effectively change our emotional state. It doesn’t do anything to permanently change the way the voice in our head speaks to us or what we believe about our self. Many times people have achieved their goals only to find themselves still unfulfilled. Your emotional state may briefly change in the euphoria if the immediate success. But the core belief of not being good enough and your long term habit of self rejection in the mind hasn’t been altered. The critical voice in our head is more likely to put a higher goal in front of us to achieve. The second belief to dissolve is that we are inadequate and somehow not good enough. These are the beliefs that create emotions of insecurity and fear. The emotions are not the problem they are just the resulting symptom of negative core beliefs. The “not good enough” image is a construct of our imagination. It is a belief about ourselves created by the mind concluding that we are “not good enough to meet the image of perfection.” A step to changing this belief is to recognize that we the one observing the “self” image. We can not be the “self” image we are looking at. We are the one doing the looking. This means the “self image we create is really a “non self” image. Taken from “Insecurity and Confidence” http://www.pathwaytohappiness.com/writings-insecurity.htm
I’m interested in the fact
that the less secure a man is,
the more likely he is
to have extreme prejudice.