Acknowledging Self

In my last post I said this, “…usually here’s where people say, “So many people have it so much worse that me” but that’s not being kind to yourself to dismiss your own hardships. It’s good to honestly evaluate what your experiences are and how they affect you. Because you matter. And if something is hard for you, that matters. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that it doesn’t.”

“Because you matter. And if something is hard for you, that matters.”

This is something I’ve only recently begun to learn and live.

When I was younger I was never “allowed” to have a voice (as in I couldn’t speak up for myself, I couldn’t say how I felt or that something upset me, I was never taught how to state my needs or even recognize what they were – which ended up being expressed, from my point of view, as cries for help and recognition. It was a very painful aspect of my life.). And when I did use my voice I either got yelled at, or at least it seemed everyone got mad at me for having feelings and not wanting to be dumped on, or I suddenly was somehow instantly invisible and completely unacknowledged.

In later years, my feelings and needs have been dismissed, ignored, rejected, and even turned around as weapons against me – somehow I would be the one to blame for the other persons failings in the relationship.

It’s hard to feel like your experiences matter when you grow up never mattering.

But you do matter.

I matter.

My experiences matter.

My pain matters.

and so does yours.

So how do you cross that line that everyone is pulling you back away from?

How do you find the strength to rise above all the hands that are pulling you down and trying to drown you out? Trying to keep you unseen and unheard?

Courage.

It takes a lot of courage.

I still remember the first time I was going to feel my emotions.

It was hands down the most terrifying moment of my life!

I had to make Neil hold my hand while I just laid there and breath. Because I was so afraid to lay there and breath. I was afraid to feel…

But I did it. And I survived.

You’ll survive too. I promise.

If you’re afraid to feel your emotions that you’ve kept buried inside of you for what feels like a billion years – trying to stuff them down more and more anytime they start to arise, you can imagine that I’m holding your hand. Because if I were there, I totally would hold your hand.

And I’d tell you that you matter.

And that your experiences matter.

I’d tell you that your emotions matter.

And how you need to see them.

They need to be heard, and felt, and acknowledged.

And that they need to be loved.

Just like you need to be loved.

Just like I need to be loved.

Love is the most freeing thing in the entire existence of all the universe.

Love is funny. It’s a noun. It’s a verb. It can be an adjective and an adverb, if you add a few different letters on the end.

Example, “His love lovingly loved her lovely face.” 😀

(best example you’ve ever read! You’re welcome. 😉 ha.)

But why does this matter so much??

I would talk with my therapist about how I have never had anyone in my life that made me feel like I had worth.

She would ask me, “if no one else is going to value you, doesn’t that make for all the more reason that you value yourself?”

And I’d think, “No.” “If no one else sees good in me, what good is there?” I honestly could not comprehend how no one else seeing worth in me could possibly mean that I had worth. If no one else saw it, then there was none there. I could not love myself when it was so impossible for anyone else to love me.

Yes, I know. A lot of people see a lot of good in me. But that doesn’t match my childhood narrative, so I have always ignored that. (wow. That just opened a new door… I’m glad I’m writing this. Thank you.)

Anyway, after reading and listening to a lot of books, doing a lot of research, a lot of self-compassion, therapy, lots of EMDR, and having the courage to face myself and feel my suffering, I am learning about self-worth, self-love, and self-compassion.

And my number one takaway is this: you mattering begins with you.

No matter how many other people tell you you matter,

no matter how many other people tell you they love you,

no matter how many other people tell you how much you mean to them,

it doesn’t matter.

UNLESS

It matters to you first.

It’s like a bowl of water.

If you are the bowl, and the love other people give you is the water…

and the depth of the bowl is equal to how much you love yourself, then…

If your bowl is shallow, almost like a plate, then you will not be able to hold any water.

You will not be able to receive and acknowledge much of anyone’s love at all.

But as you learn to love yourself, the sides and size of your bowl grow. The more you love yourself, the larger your bowl becomes and the greater capacity you have to receive the love mirrored to you by others.

I say mirrored because what we perceive from others truly is just a mirror of how we view ourselves. Nothing more, nothing less. (though yes, there are people who are exceptional at loving and thankfully can get through our mirror and show us greater love that we know. And yes, sadly there are those who punch through our mirror and hurt us. But besides those, we are basically only seeing ourselves reflected to us in all that is around us.)

I hope you pause throughout your day and receive the beauty of the world around us.

That is one way that you can enlarger your bowl… by partaking of the goodness that is already all about us and letting that teach us what is also inside of us.

Either way, love, mattering, worth… it all begins with acknowledging self.

We are here.

We are real.

We matter.

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