Self-Respect

 

My recent experience of being bullied at work has got me thinking about the way I treat myself.

If our outer reality mirrors our inner reality, then perhaps there has been something seriously amiss with the way I treat myself, something I’ve been blind to?

Being bullied made me feel:

Angry

Unimportant

Disrespected

Inferior

Betrayed

Undeserving/unworthy

Unappreciated

 

Do I ever make myself feel this way?

 

Bullying Ourselves

Going through depression, hypomania, anxiety, panic attacks and rage severely affects our confidence and view of ourselves.

It is so easy to view ourselves as:

-struggling through life

-less capable than others

-abnormal

-emotional  wrecks

-failures

-unworthy of  a fulfilling, purposeful, joyful life full of the things we love.

 

During depression this can can develop even further to:

-self-hatred

-disgust with ourselves (sounds severe, but I know I’ve felt like this)

-“less” than human

-despicable

-stupid

…..or any other abusive term that comes to mind.

 

As much as other people are able to bully us, so we are able to abuse ourselves. It is very easy to be blind to this self-treatment as it may have developed over a long period of time, or been the only way of thinking we’ve ever known.

 

Developing Self-Respect

However, we are able to help ourselves to lessen our negative thinking- which is in no way our fault (we were brought up learning to think in this way/influenced strongly by biological factors. We never asked to be this way).

It is a kindness to ourselves to firstly become aware of any self-abuse and secondly to replace it with love and acceptance.

Using affirmations to gently lead ourselves back to love is a practice taught by the wonderful spiritual writer Louise Hay. This involves repeating loving statements to ourselves. Instead of rationalizing our way out of negative thinking, as practised in CBT, we invite loving words into our hearts. In this way we are focusing on loving and accepting ourselves, rather than fixing ourselves, which CBT involves- which can infer some defect on our part.

Affirmations allow us to accept ourselves as we are. They allow us to love ourselves as we are, warts and all. We do not have to change. We open ourselves up to the universal love that is all around us in abundance.

Some examples of helpful affirmations are:

-I love and appreciate myself just as I am.

-The universe loves and appreciates me just as I am.

-I am meant to be here. I am needed.

-I respect myself for surviving deep despair and anguish- I am developing great strength.

– I forgive myself the past.

-Today I will take beautiful care of myself because I am precious.

 

With regards to my own abusive self-talk, I open myself up to a new way of being:

-I have great respect for myself.

-I show myself great respect.

-I treat myself kindly.

– I am worthy and deserving of kind, respectful treatment.

– I release myself from self-blame.

-I forgive myself for treating myself harshly in the past.

 

Our right to a happy life.

As Bipolar sufferers we are challenged throughout our lives to endure many extremes of mood, the vast majority of which are painful, debilitating, confusing and lead easily to us blaming ourselves. We are not to blame and we are in no way less worthy of a happy, healthy life.

Our needs are different to others and it is perfectly acceptable that we adapt our lives to fulfil our needs and keep ourselves in balance.  We need a more peaceful life, one filled with care and kindness towards ourselves, which in turn teaches others about the value of loving themselves.

Everybody has weaknesses, but also strengths. We are asked to remember these and focus our energy upon them, and love and respect ourselves enough to play with our gifts and talents without judgement.

 

Resources

Louise Hay– her beautiful books teach us how to incorporate loving affirmations into our lives. One of my favourites is You Can Heal Your Life.

Photo credits: Blossoms by Simon Howden, Girl Hugging Heart by freedigitalphotos.net, Frustrated Lady by David Costillo Dominici

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