We deny ourselves the right to exist based on what has happened in our past, what other people have told us about ourselves, and the mistakes we feel we have made. I have found to truly make the stride from victim and endless sufferer to survivor and thriver I need to envelope myself in the knowledge that right here, right now I HAVE WORTH. In this moment, wherever you find yourself, whatever is going on, YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO BE YOU.
Today I want to share with you ways that have worked for me to instill within myself the sense of having the right to be here.
Be here now
It is easy to try to dissociate from how I feel or what is happening by withdrawing through fear, thoughts, or old patterns of escapism. Like the Beatles sang: “Get back to where you once belonged.” By using mindfulness techniques I can reemerge back to the present & reestablish my awareness.
1. Mindfulness meditation. Grounding meditations with a focus on body awareness help to link the body and flight prone mind back together.
2. Look around. What do you see? Say it aloud. This aids in refocusing yourself to the present.
3. Barefoot Movement. Allow yourself to be barefoot. Sit with your feet on the floor. Something as simple as allowing your feet to have contact with the ground gets you realigned with this moment. Take a walk. I highly recommend ecstatic dancing for learning to move your body freely in an authentic, safe & grounded way.
Let your voice be heard
Telling my story has been an important way for me to validate my experiences. Too often we Shut-Up, Run-Away, Hide, or Fight others in an effort to protect our voices. YOUR VOICE IS A POWERFUL TOOL THAT NEEDS TO BE HEARD.
4. Share your Story! Talk with others whom you trust. Write about your experiences. Respond when others are sharing their stories and you relate.
5. Ask Questions! There is nothing shameful about you. You have the right to answers and explanations.
6. Reach Out For Help! It is only through our silence that we remain victims. If you are uncertain where to find help: Ask someone you trust, Google the question, or always feel free to ask me.
Focus on Self Care
Why can’t I motivate myself to take a shower? All I think about is food! Why can’t I stop eating? I can’t get to sleep or I sleep all the time! How does PTSD and addiction affect sleep? Have you asked yourself some of these questions? I want you to know that it doesn’t mean you’re disgusting or a bad person. It is exhausting to deal with an often debilitating condition everyday. Change can only happen today. I’m here to remind you of the different ways you can take care of yourself. That is my primary purpose.
7. Feeling Squeaky Clean. It’s the joy of the small things I neglected to do for myself in the past that motivate me to pamper myself now. I was in my late 20s before I could give myself permission to apply lotion after a shower. I was that accustomed to self-neglect. Try to love yourself by taking a shower or bath – Today. Give yourself a pedicure or manicure (regardless of your gender) – Today. Do that thing for your physical well-being that you’ve been putting off – Today. Your body has memory; you deserve to create nurturing ones.
8. Nourishing Yourself, Literally. You can choose to be as mindful about food & drink as we’ve discussed about being present. For your very next meal, I invite you to choose to eat & drink things that your future self will be happy you ate. No extreme diet changes. No decisions to stop or start eating or drinking something for the rest of the year. Just today. Just this next meal. Nurture your body and your digestion. Hydrate. I believe in you. I want you to know that if you’re struggling, I’m right here.
9. Getting Enough Sleep. What helps YOU get to sleep? I would like you to think about the times when you slept the best. Be as specific as possible. Write down all of the elements that aided you from each of those moments. Take the time you need; trust me I understand what it’s like to have a hard time remembering. From this list, choose the things that you could easily implement in your present situation. Make an appointment with yourself this week. Really, put it in your calendar – Arrange a few of the do-able items on the list to create a nurturing sleep environment for yourself. IT IS BY HAVING A FULL TANK OURSELVES THAT WE ARE ABLE TO GIVE TO OTHERS.
For some of us this can be a huge request. How can I be safe? The real question I’ve had to face is: How am I giving myself permission to exist if I am not caring for my own safety?
10. Care For Your Inner-Child. The short-cut I’ve used to assess my safety, when I first stepped out on the route to healing, is to think about a child. Would this person, situation, environment, or drug be safe for a child in my care? If it’s not safe then try, just once, to choose a safer alternative. Change only happens in this moment, now. I’m not asking you to change everything that feels unsafe immediately. I know how that story plays out: Overwhelm, Inaction, or Creating Additional Danger. Focus on right now. If you have questions about safety, let me know.
The first time I went through the Artist’s Way I remember how revolutionary the idea of intentionally making time for myself was. I was so conditioned to “stealing time.” I was afraid that if I did things for myself that I enjoyed I would be chastised as being selfish and self-centered. How often have we been made to feel this way? This cycle results in acts of enjoyment being primarily focused on rebelling against someone else; thinking about how the other person would think or feel about your doing something nice for yourself. So you see…it’s still all about them. Let’s make YOUR LIFE be about YOU.
11. Take yourself on a date. Create a list of things you enjoy doing; pick an item from the list; make an appointment with yourself; Go Have Fun. By going through this process you will reaffirm your self-worth. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE GOOD TO YOU!
12. Write a gratitude list about yourself. What are you grateful for about yourself? What do you do well? What do you like about yourself? Write it down. Decorate the paper. Hang it up. YOU DESERVE TO REMEMBER HOW AWESOME YOU ARE!
13. Celebrate. We need to acknowledge our successes and milestones. Denying ourselves recognition is an old pattern of self-destruction. Treat yourself when you’ve accomplished something whether it’s big or small. Even the smallest things deserve recognition. Finished washing the dishes? YES! It’s your birthday? Give yourself a present! Completed a project? It’s party time!
Try these suggestions for Giving Yourself Permissions to Be You and let me know how they’ve worked for you.
© Amanda Lee