If you haven’t already, go back and read I Believe Your Lies: Reasons I Am Worthless.
Here are ways you can learn to love and accept yourself again, part I.
1. Make yourself proud
Examine some of the habits you have that make you further degrade your value. With a little bit of problem-solving and motivation, work on those behaviors. The best way to feel good about yourself is to act in ways that will make you feel proud. Give yourself reasons to feel proud, and don’t overthink it. You are proud of yourself when ____________, _____________________, and ____________________.
I didn’t eat the whole pack of pretzel M&M’s. I washed the dishes. I cooked at home instead of eating out – even though I really didn’t want to. I finally started to read again. I didn’t snooze the alarm. I showered. I laughed. I wore mismatched socks.
2. Accomplish a task
Similarly, take on a manageable task that you can check off your mental list. This will help you feel planted in the present. It feels good to accomplish something, even if small.
Wash the dishes. Sweep the floor. Organize your shelf. Dust the cabinet. Boil noodles for a pasta dinner. Journal a page. Watch a YouTube tutorial and follow along. Wipe down the table.
3. Pay it forward
Do something for someone else! Giving and helping are just as rewarding to us as it is for the other person.
Do someone else’s chore. Pay for someone’s order. Give someone a journal. Volunteer anywhere. Smile, someone may need it. Buy or make a gift or card. Send someone encouragement.
Positive, positive, positive. Include everything!
Make a list of things you do well.
I typed fast today. I’m great at brain puzzles and games, like when I beat levels in Best Fiends. I write well. I am creative when I cook. I shop with a plan. Zumba. Cuddles.
Make a list of things you like about yourself.
I like that I encourage others. I like that I’m compassionate. I like that I’ve overcome a lot in my trauma. I like that I try to cook most nights. I like that once I truly put my mind to something, I stick with it. I like my small hands. I like my gorgeous eyes. I like that I’m a giver.
Writing down your list helps turn your abstract thoughts into concrete words. After you’ve written it down, read it aloud to yourself. Remind yourself of these things. And remind yourself again when you’re feeling particularly negative towards yourself.
5. A letter of thanks
Write a letter to yourself, a letter of thanks. You survived your trauma and you’re still continuing on – even if it doesn’t feel like it some days. Thank yourself for all that you’ve accomplished and everything you went through to get to where you are. If you don’t want to write a full letter, just make a list.
Thank you for having strength when I argued we didn’t have any left. Thank you for getting out of bed every morning. Thank you for sharing your untold story and pushing past how uncomfortable we felt when searching for a counselor. Because we did it, we have a great counselor now.
6. Practice self-care and breaks
You can read more about self-care here. But, give yourself permission to check out from life and take care of yourself! Your trauma doesn’t have to consume every part of your life.
Put your phone in the other room on silent. Watch a funny show. Spend time in nature. Do absolutely nothing.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the goal we have in mind or the future we’re building to. Allow yourself to transport your mind to the future you envision, the person you want to be, the places you want to go. Sometimes positive infects our thoughts through visualizing.
Can you see what it’s like to accept yourself? If you feel gross, imagine washing away the filth and it transporting rightfully onto the perpetrator. What would it like to accomplish your goal?
8. Don’t respond to others’ expectations.
Other people don’t have to dominate you or your ideas. Don’t spend your life in the unhappy trap of living according to others’ opinions of yourself. Free yourself from their grip, free yourself for yourself.
I have a different view. I don’t need to do that. My feelings of myself matter more than anyone else’s. I can live my own life and chase my own adventures. No.