~ Day One ~
Ten Ways To Love Ourselves

Dear Friends on the Journey,

My name is Mari. I am a compulsive overeater who is grateful to be in recovery. And I am trying very hard to love myself ... because I know if I can't love me .... I can't love others.

Yesterday I told you about spending the next ten days talking about how to love ourselves. And why that is so difficult to do. Several months ago, I saw an anonymous piece on this subject and it helped. There were ten ways to love ourselves...actually ten things to do to help *teach* us to love ourselves.

I've always believed that love is or it isn't. But in the case of loving oneself, I believe we are going to have to LEARN to do that. At least I am. It just didn't come automatically. I suspect the same thing is true for many of you also.

I hope over the next ten days, we can each practice these exercises and love ourselves a little more ten days from now than we do today.

DAY ONE

~ STOP ALL CRITICISM ~

CRITICISM NEVER CHANGES A THING.
REFUSE TO CRITICIZE YOURSELF.
ACCEPT YOURSELF EXACTLY AS YOU ARE.
EVERYBODY CHANGES.
WHEN YOU CRITICIZE YOURSELF,
YOUR CHANGES ARE NEGATIVE.
WHEN YOU APPROVE OF YOURSELF,
YOUR CHANGES ARE POSITIVE.

Beginning right now, let us think back to when we were very small. Is it possible that as children we were criticized? Maybe it was unintentionally ... but could our parents have sent us the message that perhaps we weren't quite "measuring up" to their expectations?

For me this is true. Some of my earliest memories of childhood are those in which I was criticized by my parents. Mainly my father ... although my mother sent many signals out with that "look" ... that raised eyebrow ... she just didn't verbalize it as much as my father.

He was cruel, my father. Abusive. He wasn't a very nice man. But he was my father and I thought all fathers were like that. I remember being down on my knees as a little girl with him standing over me as I polished the brass plates on the floor of our doorways. It was NEVER good enough. I might polish and polish but it was just not ever shiny enough. And then the criticism would start. The verbal abuse. The temper. And finally the rage.

"Anything worth doing is worth doing right." I must have listened to him tell me that at least ten times a day. "Can't you do *anything* right?" "Get back in there .... and this time, God Damn It, do it the way you were supposed to have done it the first time!!!!" By that time, I would have done anything. I was petrified of his temper. I was cringing. Whimpering. And down on the floor I would go once again ... and this time I did it right. And the brass shone. And was beautiful.

And the message that was sent to the tape recorder in the head of the little girl who was me by my father who was supposed to nurture me and love me was that "You are no damn good."

Do you know that I never once in all the years I lived with him heard him remark to me or about me that there was something that I did well? If he thought it, he never verbalized it.

Isn't that remarkable?

~ REMEMBER ~

BE KIND TO YOURSELF. BE GENTLE
WITH YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.
FOR THE MORE WE CAN LOVE OURSELVES
AND THE MORE HONEST WE CAN BE WITH OUR OWN EMOTIONS,
THE FREER WE ARE TO LOVE AND GIVE JOY TO OTHERS.

Dear God,
Please help me
to not criticize those
I love. Please help me
not to criticize myself. The
act of criticizing is damaging.
Help me to undo the damage it
has done in the past.



Love,
Mari
Marisok@aol.com
The Recovery Group




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