I’m working through a book right now to help re-establish/re-gain some self-acceptance on this journey of healing and learning who I am. It’s called You Matter: Learning to Love Who You Really Are by Matthew Emerzian. I’m early in the book but one of the first exercises is to identify a thing you thought about yourself in a negative way whether it’s your weight, your nose, a behavior etc. Emerzian instructs you to write a letter or a poem to that part describing how in love you are with it. I definitely believe in positive mind shift and changing the story we tell ourselves, especially about ourselves so I gave it a shot.
As I began writing, I realized how difficult this task was. It sounded so simple: I love to write and I am absolutely ready to heal these perceptions of myself. When I initially sat down, the first thought that went through my head was what part do I write to? Immediately I began to judge that thought because I’ve been entirely focused on accepting myself and I found not so far beneath the surface all of the old self-hatred. I’m proud I recognized that part of myself still exists because that is something fixable as well—it’s another reminder to shift perspective. It’s amazing how we can spend so much time working on who we are but we continue to allow the outside influences to skew our focus. The ”healed” is still raw.
After that moment, I began working through one of my biggest obstacles: my own mindset. Here is what I wrote: Dear Brain, Your indecisiveness and fear-mongering were an absolute hindrance to me. But I know you were doing your best to keep me safe—and it did work. It made me strong enough to see the weak spots, recognize the sure things, and become a cheerleader for those who needed it. we are working together now to cheer on my life. You have the ability to heal and redirect and create. You KNOW what I need and you show me the way. I can use those feelings and intuition and connection to the universe to find me. To BE me. To hear the answers I’ve been looking for. Thank you for always trying to be heard. For not giving up. Now it’s time to work on my dreams. You can shift and focus and do this. You are so capable. You are going to do this. The answers are clear and so are the steps. You can quiet down now to hear the soul. You’ve done your job—thank you. Thank you for guiding me. We are one. Welcome life. Find my howl. Give up what I thought was safe and embrace what I want to do. Howl. Love. Express. Share. Release all fear, all expectations. Live. It’s ok. It’s safe. I can be free—both revered and ravaged. With joy and experience and love. Release control. Try something new.
No, it isn’t pretty, but it’s a great step. I didn’t get the resolution I hoped for upon reading the assignment, but I felt amazing nonetheless. I personally love having the understanding that our brain does the best it can with what it knows and it will do some amazing things to protect itself. What I wrote above is barely scratching the surface of what my brain has done, but honoring the fear is a great first step. Next comes the origin of it to really heal that—at least that’s the next step in my mind. Regardless, the point is profound: we have to learn to love and accept all parts of ourselves in order to love ourselves. We have to create a different relationship with those things we thought were negatives and what a great way to shift perspective by looking at what those negatives have done for us. Assigning a positive or negative label to something is so subjective and we can remove that by looking at what is. It’s so easy to overlook what we’ve accomplished so these letters are a fantastic way to remember that.
Based on my experience of this I do want to recommend that you don’t go through the list of all the things you have stored animosity about toward yourself. I literally had to pull myself off the edge of self-hatred for a moment because I started sorting the “worst” thing about me. I had to stop the list. I would suggest if you struggle with many different facets in your life, take the time to write to each and every thing that’s on your mind. Each of them. Until you can recreate that view point, learn to not drown in it. Overall it’s a hugely positive experience and I highly recommend the action.