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…
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
Are you highly self-critical? Do you beat yourself up over failures? Do you work too much and push too hard without giving yourself time to breathe? Do you feel the need to compete, outperform others, and move ahead of the pack? Do you live with shame or a sense of not being good enough? We live in a society that regularly sends us the message to achieve more, work harder, win, be perfect, be the best. There is of course nothing wrong with having goals and dreams to pursue. However, most of us don’t stop to consider whether our self-critical and competitive attitude is actually helping us achieve these goals or whether it might actually be standing in our way. New research suggests self-compassion may be a far superior alternative. Kristin Neff, associate professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas and pioneer of research on self-compassion, has shown that when our self-worth depends on out-competing others, we actually become more insecure and anxious: if we fail, we become highly self-critical, adding to our misery. Faced with criticism, we become defensive and feel crushed. We give up in the face of challenge. Moreover, competition fosters disconnection: rather than building social connection which research shows is essential to well-being, we view others as obstacles to overcome and we ultimately feel more separate from others. The primary goal of our desire for success is to be successful, to belong, and to be loved yet ironically self-criticism and competition end up having the reverse effect. Where self-criticism leaves us powerless and distraught, self-compassion is at the root of empowerment, learning, and inner strength. With self-compassion, we value yourself not because we’ve judged ourselves positively and others negatively but because we are intrinsically deserving of care and concern just like everyone else. Self-compassion means treating ourselves as we would a friend. Rather than berating, judging, or adding to a friend’s despair, we listen with empathy and understanding, encourage them to remember that mistakes are normal, and validate their emotions without adding fuel to the fire. Neff defines self-compassion as “being kind and understanding toward oneself in instances of pain or failure rather than being harshly self-critical; perceiving one’s experiences as part of the larger human experience rather than seeing them as isolating; and holding painful thoughts and feelings in mindful awareness rather than over-identifying with them.” 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
Criticism, like rain,
should be gentle enough
to nourish a man’s growth
without destroying his roots.
Frank A. Clark
Most people who are addicted to being right never even get to this point. They never become conscious of the fact that they may just possibly have a flaw. As my late father would say, “I am never wrong, except when I think I am wrong.” He was addicted to being right, but never admitted it. It’s too bad because character flaws definitely make life more difficult. You might agree that they make like more interesting too, but life is interesting enough without having a lot of baggage to carry around. It is far wiser to release your own and observe the flaws of others. So ask yourself this unusual question: How is addicted to being right useful? Every flaw serves a purpose. Your mind doesn’t bother going through the trouble of obsessing about being right without some perceived payback. What is the reward? Addicted to being right often signals the need to tread lightly. It shows that the person has issues. One might be trying to save face or hold on to self-esteem. What ever the reason is for you, next time you are caught being addicted to being right, try a new tact. Try seeing it as an opportunity to admit you’re wrong. Admitting you are wrong shows you’re human. Admitting you are wrong is a way of being real with people. Admitting you are wrong requires less maintenance. How often have you met someone who demanded perfection of themselves. These unfortunate types flip-flop between demanding perfection and giving up. They demand so much of themselves that they prime themselves for failure. Accepting our own imperfections requires honesty. Admitting you are wrong is associated with high self-esteem. Self-esteem is that feeling of value you place on yourself based on your view of your past history, your body, and your thoughts. On a deeper level it has to do with who you believe you are in the depths of your being. People with high self-esteem are rarely addicted to being right. By Louis Tartaglia, M.D. http://www.tartaglia.com/pages/admitting.html
Those who never
retract their opinions
more than they
If we find ourselves… feeling trapped or clung to by our partner, we may want to consider how much we were intruded on as kids. Did we have a parent or caretaker who was overbearing and imposed on us for attention or reassurance? Are we now reacting (or overreacting) to our partner, because he or she is looking to us for similar qualities? While we aim to find partners who complement us in a positive way, we often wind up finding people whose opposing traits can rouse negative dynamics between us. For example, how many couples do we know, where one person does the talking, and the other stays quiet? While one person tells the stories and attracts attention, the other acts as a listener and falls into the background. We frequently choose people who fill out our personalities, then resent them for the very traits that make them our “other half.” Even when we choose partners who complement us positively, we run the risk of eventually distorting them or provoking them to become someone who we are less compatible with. This is often not the case when we first get involved with someone. In the beginning of a relationship, we naturally step out of our comfort zones, forcing ourselves outside our own heads and into an interaction with someone unfamiliar. The scenario of getting to know a stranger forces us to push ourselves, to be our best selves, and to treat the other person with respect and interest. As we get closer, our defenses start to arise. We start to feel more vulnerable, and influences from our past start to seep in. We must be wary in this stage of how we can distort our partners. We may start to insert hidden meaning into their words that suit a way we feel about ourselves. We may start to project qualities onto them or exaggerate characteristics they possess. Dr. Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/relationship-advice_b_824879.html
What you see is only half of what I am.
I have a hundred different faces,
a million different personalities.
Only a part of me is what I show you.
I display a fraction of my true self.
Everything is just a façade.
It’s not the truth of me.
You don’t know me.
You never will.
Self-esteem is your overall opinion of yourself — how you honestly feel about your abilities and limitations. When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel good about yourself and see yourself as deserving the respect of others. When you have low self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas. You might constantly worry that you aren’t “good enough.” Self-esteem begins to form in early childhood. Factors that can influence self-esteem include:
* Your own thoughts and perceptions
* How other people react to you
* Experiences at school, work and in the community
* Illness, disability or injury
* Role and status in society
Relationships with those close to you — parents, siblings, peers, teachers and other important contacts — are especially important to your self-esteem. Many beliefs you hold about yourself today reflect messages you’ve received from these people over time. If your close relationships are strong and you receive generally positive feedback, you’re more likely to see yourself as worthwhile and have healthier self-esteem. If you receive mostly negative feedback and are often criticized, teased or devalued by others, you’re more likely to struggle with poor self-esteem. Still, your own thoughts have perhaps the biggest impact on self-esteem — and these thoughts are within your control. If you tend to focus on your weaknesses or flaws, you can learn to reframe negative thoughts and focus instead on your positive qualities. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/self-esteem/MH00128
The man who does not value himself,
cannot value anything or anyone.
Healthy self-esteem is created within an individual who knows that he has inherent worth that is equal to others. It cannot be altered by his failings or strengths, which I call a person’s humanity. Parents who are able to affirm, nurture and set limits for their children without dis-empowering or falsely empowering them create children who can functionally esteem themselves. The codependent individual relies on others to determine his worth or gets it from comparing himself to others, so his self-esteem fluctuates between feeling worthless and better than. It is better defined as other-esteem. It is based on external things – how they look, who they know, how large their salary is, how well their children perform, the degrees they have earned or how well they perform activities. The codependent person becomes a human doing rather than a human being. His or her esteem is not self-based. It is based on the opinions of others. The difficulty with other-esteem is that its source is outside of the person and thus vulnerable to changes beyond the codependent’s control. Other-esteem is fragile and undependable. Posted by John on
is like driving through life
with your hand-break on.
We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. And it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems—the ones that make you truly who you are—that we’re ready to find a lifelong mate. Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person—someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have”. Galway Kinnel
To be fully seen by somebody,
then, and be loved anyhow –
this is a human offering
that can border on miraculous.
In retrospect it’s clear my “like me, please!” demeanor of most of my life was a smoke screen for the brooding malcontent I actually was. Nothing was ever just right or good enough, especially about myself. I was never content with anything or anyone, especially “me” for more than a short period of time. Ninety eight things could be just right but I’d focus on the two that weren’t and magnify them to be larger than all the other’s combined. This made me a somewhere in the range of a perpetual “fault-finder” and “defect inspector”. Now some years into codependency recovery it’s clear to see imperfection abounds and to a large degree is what makes the world vibrant. The cracks and off-center parts lend creativity to life and make it interestingly colorful. “I” and everything and everyone around me is far from perfect and can never be “just right”. Thank goodness! How boring and bland living would be if all was the same and all around was nothing but carbon copies.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything,
That’s how the light gets in.