Following on from yesterday’s post where I shared my experiences of learning to love myself, here is my follow up with my last few suggestions although it is far from being an exhaustive list.

I interrupted my own negativity. At first it was a bit of an effort to cut the negative crap that I suddenly realised was lolling around in my head. It was only as I became very self aware that I faced how much self-doubt, distrust, and secret insecurity was being given a space and a voice in my head. But suddenly as I made myself a priority and vowed to move to a more positive place, I found myself challenging crap that would pop into my thoughts. I started thinking a little more slowly initially and instead of letting my mind wander and ramble so that time could spent daydreaming or imagining situations and conversations differently, I sometimes had to literally tell myself to shut the f*ck up!

I stopped pretending. I like a lot of women, have been guilty of acting happier than I feel and suddenly I had no energy for it. Now it’s not that I went around like a misery guts or cussed people, but instead of pretending I was Miss Sunshine, I acknowledged my emotions so I could understand why I felt the way I did and do something about it. I suddenly realised that certain situations or people made me grit my teeth or had me feeling distinctly uncomfortable so I was able to look at why those situations or people affected me. One side effect is that I stopped pretending that dates were more wonderful than they were and saw them for who they were, but it also forced me to remember all of the times I had secretly heard the words ‘assclown’; ‘tosser’ or ‘jack ass’ in my mind and then smiled sweetly at various boyfriends and reminded myself how lucky I was to be with them…

I started to say no more often. A surefire way to start disliking yourself is to be a yes person. I found that whilst I wasn’t a yes person in general, when it came to my relationships with men or with family, I let things slide and didn’t seem to know when to say no and establish some boundaries.

I stopped worrying about other peoples opinion of me and became more concerned with my opinion of me. I have been guilty of courting too much opinion and worrying what certain people would think if I did X, Y, or Z. I suddenly realised that these people did not extend the same level of concern or worry to me. I needed to be myself, not what I thought other people wanted me to be.

I stopped burying things and began to ‘feel’. I used to boast that I had a fantastic coping mechanism especially for break ups because I seemed to be able to compartmentalise it for a few months and I believed that by the time I thought about it properly, I’d be over it. Actually, I was someone who had become very good at masking pain and masking her true feelings and had become rather numb, but all of the buried pain took its toll on my health and emotional wellbeing. Now if I want to cry, I cry. If I want to be angry, I’m angry but the key thing is that I recognise that my feelings have validity and importance. I’m not pretending for anyone and as a result, I know who I am instead of being a muddled up woman who isn’t sure how she feels about something or someone.

I reminded myself of what I had achieved and what my goals were. I am the type of person that writes lists and then misplaces them but in the case of working out my short, medium, and long term goals, writing the list and becoming aware of my interests and aspirations rooted me back in myself. I didn’t need the list afterwards because what I’d needed was just a reminder of things I could be and do if only I put my own interests at heart. I also stopped knocking myself for things that may have gone wrong and took pleasure in my achievements big and small.

I learned to speak my mind with the people that least expected it. Most people think I’m an extrovert, outspoken, unafraid to speak my mind, but people who I hadn’t established boundaries with or had allowed to run roughshod over me, could no longer do so. I didn’t charge in like a bull in a China Shop, but with the ‘new’ me, the next time that they crossed the boundary, they were in for a short sharp surprise. I didn’t turn into a maniac, but in a calm manner, I told them exactly what I thought of them or why their behaviour was inappropriate. The result – my mother and I clash sometimes but she recognises that the dynamics have changed and some friends, I’m not so friendly with anymore.

I let go of the child within me. Hell I love toilet humour and can get very nostalgic about aspects of my childhood, but I also recognise that I am an adult now and my interactions in particular with family had me reverting to an almost childlike mentality and feeling. I could be in a certain situation and suddenly I felt like I was 6 or 13 again. But doing many of the other things that were helping me to love myself meant that I became more emotionally mature so for instance, instead of every time things didn’t suit me and running off like a child, I wised up and behaved like an adult instead of a scared little girl. The result – I’m not creating child-like drama in my relationships and as a result, I have no interest in recreating drama that I became attuned to as a child and as a result, I have no interest in dubious men of any sort.

As I said, this is by no means everything but it’s a start. What I want to know now is whether this is of any help whatsoever and what you’re doing to break the cycle and move forward.

Your thoughts?

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