It’s no secret that I regularly see a therapist. I have a lot of personal struggles that I deal with and she brings a new perspective to each issue. She helps me to navigate my feelings and I am learning to really love myself. However, I am still struggling with feeling unlovable. Sounds crazy to say that I am learning to love myself but that I struggle with feeling unlovable. It’s definitely possible though!
During my session a couple of days ago, we went over how far I have come. How I have been able to establish boundaries in all aspects of my life. That’s something that I was no able to do even just a year ago. I struggled with telling people no, especially family. I had become more focused on keeping everything balanced outside of me that I was neglecting myself. That’s not a good place to be when you have anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. I started creating boundaries with friends and even family. It was time that I focused on healing myself. As crazy as it sounds, once I decided to set boundaries, I was capable of keeping to those without question. It felt great to hear and know that it was okay to focus on myself, my husband and my kids. I no longer took on the burdens of others. How could I when I needed to heal myself?
In the last year to year and a half I have faced a lot of challenges. Two very important people in my life passed away. My grandmother who was more like a second mom to me was set to be released from the hospital (she got sick and was admitted) and instead passed away on my birthday. She was in pain and suffered almost every day so, while I missed her, I knew that she was in a place she no longer felt that pain. She was an extremely religious person and I knew that she was/is enjoying her time with God. The loss of my dad, technically my step dad but dad to me, the beginning of this year was totally unexpected. This loss devastated my family and so many friends of his. I still struggle with this loss each and every day. It’s a conversation that I have with God a lot lately but I know that regardless, my dad would want us to live our lives and enjoy every minute of it. So that’s exactly what I try to do.
What does the challenges of these losses have to do with my boundaries and healing? Honestly, I didn’t see the connection until speaking with my therapist. She explained to me that even through these trying times, I was able to keep my focus on healing myself. That most often, people are not able to do that and revert back to where they were comfortable before. I hadn’t done that. I had kept focus and it was actually helping me get through my grief process as well. (Insert a big pat on the back for myself here.) 😉
So many times we are told it’s selfish to focus on ourselves. That we need to be focused on others and what they are going through. “That’s the Christian thing to do.” Well here is my thoughts on that. I do believe in helping others when possible. I believe in caring for thy neighbor. But what I really believe is that if you are not whole yourself, you are not capable of really helping others. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do random acts of kindness or provide a meal when possible. Those are all things you can do as you heal yourself and they might even help you heal. I feel as though you can’t take on or try to fix the burdens of others when you are burdened. It works for a little while and then the day comes where you are worn out. Tired to your soul and feel like you have nothing left to give. No one should feel like that but I have been there. I know that feeling and that’s when I decided enough was enough.
Getting to that point is what got me to therapy again. That’s when we started talking about boundaries and starting to focus on healing myself. Flash forward a little over a year later and I’ve reached my first big milestone. I’ve learned to set boundaries with everyone in my life. I’ve learned to say no and be okay saying no. I have learned that self care time isn’t just okay to do but that it’s absolutely necessary. But with every reached step, there is a new challenge to face. Now it’s time to tackle my thinking. Specifically the thought that I am unlovable.
My biological father walked away from me. If he can’t love me then how can anyone else? I am unlovable!
That is almost a daily thought for me. It’s been over 10 years since I have heard a peep from my biological father. He doesn’t know my husband, my children or even that I am living in Europe. Well he may if he ever runs across my blog or Facebook I guess. The point is that when a child, especially a daughter, experiences something like that it effects her deeply. Don’t get me wrong, I have forgiven him for his choice. I know that I am not in control of his actions. But that action of his has caused me to feel unlovable. It’s a feeling that runs deep and one that I have to really take some time to work on.
This feeling of being unlovable can really effect every aspect of my life if I am not careful. I have a husband that really does love me but often times I ask myself why he loves me if my own father doesn’t. Sounds horrible right? It is! It’s a struggle and it’s one that I am tackling NOW! I can’t live my life feeling unlovable simply because one person doesn’t see my worth. That’s on him, not me!
My therapist suggest that when I start to have this thought that I don’t belittle myself for having it; instead I should tell myself everything I am good at. All the things that I do that makes me so lovable. Let me be the first to tell you, trying to come up with things you are good at is hard! I told her this and she started to name off a bunch of things. She said:
You are always present for your children. Whenever they need you, you are right there.
You are creative.
You are a great mom.
You always make sure your family has a good meal and a clean house.
You are great at taking care of things at home so your husband can focus on work.
She went on to say other things but I have already forgot them. Shockingly, these are just “things that I do”. I never considered to think of them as what I am good at and part of why I am lovable. My eyes have been opened to noticing even the little things that I do that not only make me worthy but lovable as well.
It’s time for you to start doing the same thing! Get a journal, notebook or just a piece a paper. Start writing. What are you good at? What do you do for your family that makes their lives easier? Are you a great baker or cook? Do you have an awesome sense of humor? I am great at organizing. Are you? We need to quit thinking that it means we have an ego if we say we’re good at something. That’s not ego, it’s recognizing our worth! We need to KNOW that we are lovable.
I AM NOT UNLOVABLE…I AM WORTHY OF LOVE!
SO ARE YOU!