Life Chez Dee Episode #94: Love yourself
Its funny how over analysis comes into play when something significant happens to you. It makes you think, and question, and ask, and challenge. You learn what things really matter; what your priorities are; you look at things from a different perspective. Losing my child was devastating; it turned my world upside down. It has made me overthink and overanalyse, it has made me oversensitive and vulnerable. But this over analysis doesn’t stop at situations, the company you keep, or the things that you choose to do with your life. You also start to over analyse yourself … well I do. Every comment that has been made, by me, and to me; every thought I’ve had; is scrutinised.
I know why I’m the way I am. Some of it is down to my personality; some of it is the relationships, encounters, experiences and trauma I’ve had throughout my life. I overthink, I overanalyse, I even overthink my overthinking. I feel things very deeply.
I’ve always been quite an insightful person, but I’ve learned a lot about myself recently, some of which I’ve managed by myself, some I’ve learned with professional help. When life throws some pretty cruel things at you, you stop and take stock, and overthink, and over analyse even more … and this is why I sought out therapy.
My conclusions, resulting from many, many therapy sessions turns out to be what I’ve known all along. Therapy has however, helped me see things clearer, has helped me to understand a lot more about myself, has helped me to order my thinking … all the mess. It’s given me permission to feel the things I feel. It’s given me permission to be upset, hurt and angry. It’s allowed me to think freely. It has given me permission to listen to my gut. And it has been liberating.
The oversensitive, overthinking, perfectionist that I am is incredibly hard on herself. She has expectations of herself that are totally unrealistic. So unrealistic that she feels guilty for not living up to her own incredibly high standards, not meeting her unrealistic goals, and therefore finds herself apologetic and guilty. She thinks of others too much. She tries to fulfil others expectations; feels obligated; feels guilty about not doing enough, or being enough; prioritising everybody and everything before herself. And she probably needs to offer herself the same love and care.
So what am I going to do? Well, quite simply I need to give up the apologies and the guilt. I’ve already started, and I’m a lot better than I was, and massively better since Edward died. I think losing Edward made me put a lot more things into perspective. It made me realise what my priorities were. But I do need to change the way I think if I am to start loving and caring for myself.
I realise now that I am entitled to my feelings; of how I am; of how I feel. I might need to apologise for the way I act on my feelings, but not that I feel sad, angry or hurt. I no longer need to beat myself up about that. I’m entitled to my own opinions; they may differ from others, and that is ok. I don’t need to worry about others not liking my opinion; or others not liking mine. I will question and challenge ideas; I will not apologise for free thinking; I will stand up for what I believe in; I will follow my gut feelings, and do what I believe is right, and right for me. I don’t need to apologise for being me; for not fitting in to other people’s norms, other people’s ways, other people’s expectations.
I realise that my gut feeling, which I’ve always listened to, seems even more heightened than ever. With an understanding of myself, I realise that I’m following my gut feeling more than ever. I’m trying to not listen to my head more than my gut, as it’s my head which talks me out of things, gives me fear of the unknown, makes me doubt my capabilities. Listening to my gut feels right and following it feels very fulfilling.
I’m going to listen to my gut telling me that I’m doing great; that I’m doing really good stuff; that I’m a great mum; I’m a good person; I’m a nice person; I look nice; that I have honesty, and integrity; that I’m trustworthy and loyal; that I’m entitled and deserve love and attention; I am enough. I need to give up apologising for being me; giving up the guilt for being me; saving my apologies for when an apology is justified. Full stop.
I’d finished this blog yesterday. I was going to finish my blog there. But something happened to me today. I went to Church this morning. We don’t go every week; we don’t go that often to be honest. Our visits are very sporadic; less than I feel I both ought, or need to be there … that’s something I can work on. I’m so glad I went today though. It was as though the service had been written for me. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
It was about how you should love yourself because God Loves You. Whatever you look like, whatever your character or personality, God Loves You. Whatever your talents, whatever your weaknesses, God Loves You. You may not like the way you look, you may not like the way you are … your behaviour, your personality, your character. You may criticize yourself brutally, but know that God intended for you to look and be just the way you are; He doesn’t make mistakes; He made us in his image; He loves us exactly the way we are.
Take a look in the mirror and love yourself as God loves you.
by Elizabeth Dee
[This piece was originally published by The Edward Dee Fund; republished by Elizabeth Dee on Life Chez Dee on 20th January 2021]