Everyone in the personal growth space talks about loving yourself. I, Donna, liked the idea but I found it way more difficult than people were suggesting. I had a history of patterns of low self-esteem and self-rejection. I just always felt like I wanted to be someone else… without freckles, taller, smaller shoe-size, different eye-colour. I was concerned with image. Never liking what I have. You can’t get rid of yourself no matter how many self-growth workshops you go on. You’re still there looking back at you. I can chuckle about it now but at the time it was really hard!
I began to patch together a number of different tools from different places that helped the reality of loving myself become much easier. I was able to shift this unhelpful pattern of thinking and feeling.
Louise Hay, an incredible women and person of authority recommended affirmations as a way to change the patterns of self-loathing. This works for a lot of people but I found no matter how much I said the affirmation ‘I love you’ into the mirror it couldn’t change that neural pathway because I didn’t feel the truth of it. I felt like I was lying to myself.
Unpacking and getting to know different parts of ourselves
Another process I cam across was Voice dialogue, which was presented at the Martha Beck training I did. Different aspects or parts of the personality get to speak to the psychologist or coach. This may be the soldier or any aspect of our selves gets to speak freely without restriction from our social “polite” selves.
Then from Elizabeth Lesser I took the idea that we are all going through life as drivers on the bus and each of our buses have a number of different personalities on the bus. Friendly lady, polite hostess, envious sister, people pleaser, fearful artist and so on.
I think of each of these aspects of ourselves are Russian Dolls. Not in a multi-personality way. It is just different patterns of behaviour, feeling and thinking that we have used throughout our lives. Each doll is a different coping mechanism or pattern. So the Russion Doll of self-rejection I could speak to (in my head) in a different way than I engaged with myself because she felt apart from me. So I can use the aware, mature part of myself to be kind to this russian doll and ask her questions. I can parent her and I can ask what her needs are.
Through these processes we are able to integrate more and more of who we are. You learn to accept all parts of ourselves. So you are able to be more whole, more full in who we are in the world.
“Let go of who you think you should be and be who you are” – Bréne Brown