Good morning all!
Happy Sunday! I just finished a baking project–mojito cheesecake pops–I think I have mentioned them about 9 different times, yet, still I can’t stop mentioning it. I think this may be the only time cheesecake should be allowed at breakfast…and well…rest assured, they are DELICIOUS. I highly recommend you try making them. If i remember, I will take a quick photo before I drop them off at my aunt’s house. So. DELISH!
So I am going to touch base, again, on this whole self-love exercise for the help of myself and others. My two Friday posts talked about the exercises I did, called the Restructuring Wheel, and the results for my trip though said wheel. If you don’t feel like tracking back–here were the outcomes–or at least the ones I would like to change or that I found upsetting:
- looking for external validation and activities to make me happy–praise, good grades, recognition that I lost weight, shopping, traveling, etc.
- in fear of making mistakes, not living up to expectations, making people angry, disappointed or upset to the point where they leave me
- putting more value on the needs/desires of others than my own–ie do what you need to do to make others happy, even if it makes you unhappy
- hiding my feelings for as they may make someone else upset and it’s not worth doing that.
- pretending that the things I was doing (be it school, work, etc) was what I wanted to do, instead of fulfilling the expectations of other people who mattered in my life
- in fear of becoming my crazy mother and that I am broken and need to desperately hide all the things that are “wrong” with me so people won’t know and just see the façade.
Now the next steps in this exercises is to do some “discovery and decision making” regarding the results of your wheel. You need to look at those images, opinions, attitudes and beliefs–look at how they drive your actions positively? Negatively? How do they prevent you from loving yourself and putting happiness first? How do they offer support in loving yourself and making happiness a priority? How do they cause you to avoid certain actions that would help you love yourself more?
Eek…pretty touch questions no? I guess I can see where the way I have lived my life has definitely had some positive and some negative impacts on my actions. It was positive in that it drove me to achieve and do my best at all times…which also stressed me out to no end. I routinely keep my emotions in check for the longest time, unless it is a positive emotion–which I tended to really feel as I guess I was compensating for the “always happy feeling,” if that makes sense. The words letting go and losing a bit of control are not part of my lifestyle. I keep things together so people couldn’t see the broken pieces that were underneath the façade. The benefit of this was that I became overly reliable and helpful to a fault, where it was impacting me negatively. As years went on, it got harder to keep up that façade of happy-go-lucky, love to help, always smiling. I was never allowed to be sad or upset.
I remember one specific example when my parents split up about 8 years ago to the day. Granted, I was older–(23), but it still was very upsetting because now, well, I couldn’t have the façade of a great home life, as it wasn’t…and now my dirty little secret was known to EVERYONE. My parents had told me 3 days after I had returned from a life changing Contiki Tour of Europe. I felt exhilarated and ready to tackle grad school in the fall…and then the bomb was dropped. My parents were splitting and people kept saying to me, that’s a shame, but hey, don’t be glum, you got to go to Europe…..umm..WTF? A trip to Europe negates any sadness over your family being broken apart?
So how did this prevent me from loving myself…well, I was too busy keeping up that façade, too busy worrying about making everyone else happy and doing what everyone else wanted me to do. Faking it til I made it didn’t happen in this case. Perhaps I got too good at faking it…or perhaps not enough–I’m not too sure. All I know is that those behaviours prevented me from loving myself and being happy because I wasn’t being me. I was being a version of me that adapted to whomever I was with–how can you know yourself, nevermind loving yourself when you don’t know who you are? Happiness isn’t even a possibility in that case, as, well, how can you build the life of a happy person if you don’t know the person.
As for the last of that group of questions, well, it has made me avoid a lot of things in my life. I have avoided moving out. I have avoided saving up money for a down-payment until the 18 months or so of my life. It’s prevented me from living out a crazy, careless youth of parties and fun because I had to be the responsible one, the mother hen. It prevented me from every learning to flirt or invite interest from guys because I was afraid I was being perceived as slutty, that I would attract a guy my family (specifically my dad) and friends didn’t like. It prevented me from doing the things I wanted to do like travel the world and/or live abroad for a year, take a year off from school to figure out exactly what I needed to do to feel like I was being me. Instead, I spent money and ate. I went on trips, though not the amazing year abroad/back packing style trips that I would’ve liked to have done…I ate my feelings, then that turned into exercising my feelings,starving my feelings, bingeing my feelings, purging my feelings. I also shopped my feelings…especially after losing a ton of weight and nothing had changed inside. It all left me feeling inadequate in my life, like I was missing something special that would make my life grand, make guys like me, make me like me. I just didn’t feel like enough.
The next step of this restructuring wheel process is called Decision. You need to decide which images, opinions, attitudes and beliefs you want to keep, which you’d like to let go of and…this is the kicker–how you can transform your limiting beliefs into expansive possibilities? (eek…expansive? that is a big word…) Arylo suggests that you can do this by rewriting the thoughts that no longer serve you into new positive statements that support a life of love and happiness and make a list of what other actions you can take to move forward and then commit to living by them.
Granted, I haven’t talked much about the most positive parts of this process, mostly because, well, they aren’t the problems. If I had to pick a few to share with you and well, for the case of this exercise, keep, then they are the fact that I care deeply about people and love the people in my life. That is something that I wouldn’t want to lose in this process. I want to love them and love myself too and I think, well, I know that it can be possible to do both. I also like the fact that I am reliable, I can achieve and I can help people. I just need to do those in times when I want to because it will work for me, make me happy, not out of obligation, where I resent it in the end.
The negatives, well, the negatives are the things I have listed. I am going to try to re-write the thoughts in a more positive way…(in italics after the initial thought) wish me luck. lol.
- looking for external validation and activities to make me happy–praise, good grades, recognition that I lost weight, shopping, traveling, etc. I will look inside and listen to my self, intuition, and not care about the thoughts of others.
- in fear of making mistakes, not living up to expectations, making people angry, disappointed or upset to the point where they leave me. I will welcome mistakes, missed goals as an everyday and enriching part of life that will only help me to grow into a better, stronger version of myself.
- putting more value on the needs/desires of others than my own–ie do what you need to do to make others happy, even if it makes you unhappy. I will focus on doing the things I that feel right for me to do and not worry if others don’t approve. I will not intentionally hurt the people I love, but I won’t ignore my joyful pursuits any longer.
- hiding my feelings for as they may make someone else upset and it’s not worth doing that. I will no longer hide my feelings. If I feel sad, then I embrace the sad. If I feel angry, then I embrace the anger. If I feel happy, then I embrace the happy. After years of hiding these things, I have learned that they don’t go away, they just bubble up and burst like a volcano on some random day and time and it derails you.
- pretending that the things I was doing (be it school, work, etc) was what I wanted to do, instead of fulfilling the expectations of other people who mattered in my life. I will purse my dreams. Be it the job, a triathlon, owning a home. I will do them all because I want to and I will carry out each on my own time frames.
- in fear of becoming my crazy mother and that I am broken and need to desperately hide all the things that are “wrong” with me so people won’t know and just see the façade. I am not broken. I am me. I have flaws like everyone else, and i have “good” in me. I have the capacity to grow and change things about myself that I am uncomfortable with that will help me build a happy life and, most importantly, a happy Leesah.
Wow. That was oddly cathartic. I actually feel as though my shoulders feel a bit lighter. I have never had such a positive physical reaction to self discovery before–usually it makes me cry. lol. I hope that this all brought some levity to your days as well.
Anyway, I have a lunch date with my cousin K and my hair is atrocious. lol. Must get presentable, asap.