When mental illness is present, there is constant conflict within. Many of us share similar battles because we have a similar set of symptoms. Some of us fight battles very unique to us and our circumstances. Sometimes, a battle is present because of deep scars from our past. Whatever the battle, it can be very difficult at times, and we can come away feeling defeated or discouraged. This is something I know you each understand.
I have shared in past posts about my battle with loving myself. It is an ongoing challenge that I am doing my best to overcome. If I am being honest, a lot of the time, it simmers in the background while I deal with the business of caring for my children and home. Then there are times when it comes to the forefront and I am reminded that I need to give this aspect of my life more deliberate attention.
This describes what happened to me this past weekend. I pushed myself too hard a couple days in a row and ended up having some significant depression symptoms again. I was forced to slow down and then to ask myself again, why do I keep doing this to myself? The answer always comes back to the root problem, which is that I just don’t treat myself with love. I don’t love myself at all. In fact, I realized in while I was pondering this, that I despise myself. I was saddened by the realization but knew it was true. Every thought I have in relation to myself has been negative. Every time I look in the mirror, I see my perceived flaws. Any time I do anything I am constantly giving myself a beat mental beat down.
I have talked this over with my husband a lot.
This weekend, he put things in a new light for me when he said kindly, “Will you please be nice to my wife?”
This question hit me right in the gut. I could see my negative thought process from a new perspective–I could see it from the outside. In this moment, I realized that my self-loathing was not only making me sad, but my husband as well. He loves me and sees all of my good qualities. He wants me to be happy and he sees how I am keeping my own happiness out of reach by treating myself the way I do. For some reason, hearing him ask me that question really helped me.
I also had the opportunity to open up to a close friend about my struggle with self love. She is a great friend and made a really great suggestion. She suggested trying positive self-affirmations daily to help me retrain my thoughts. I loved this suggestion and gave it a try. I spent some time looking at myself in the mirror and saying some affirmations. I spent a good 5 minutes or so doing this. At first I just felt silly. I didn’t believe what I was saying. But after a couple minutes of really trying to see myself as I see others, I had a little spark of hope. I realized that this would be really helpful if I did it on a regular basis. I know I have a lot of work and practice to do before I will really internalize and believe what I am telling myself, but it is a great start and it feels really good to be doing something to help win this battle.
One thing working against me, is my forgetfulness. I did the affirmations the morning after she told me about them, but then forgot to do it the last couple days. So, I am going to get a dry erase marker and write a reminder on my bathroom mirror. No more excuses! This is a serious conflict that needs some serious, diligent effort.
How about you? What is one of your greatest battles? What are you doing to get through it?
Have any of you had experience using positive affirmations?
As always, I love to hear from you. Please comment below to share your experiences.