~ Day Nine ~
Ten Ways To Love Ourselves

~ Dear Friends on the Journey ~

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

DAY TWO

~ ~ DON'T SCARE YOURSELF ~ ~

DON'T SCARE YOURSELF.
STOP TERRORIZING YOURSELF
WITH YOUR THOUGHTS.
IT'S A DREADFUL WAY TO LIVE!
FIND A MENTAL IMAGE THAT GIVES YOU PLEASURE
( MINE IS A WATERFALL),
AND IMMEDIATLEY SWITCH YOUR SCARY THOUGHT
TO A PLEASURABLE THOUGHT.

DAY THREE

~ ~ BE GENTLE AND KIND AND PATIENT ~ ~

BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF
AS YOU LEARN THE NEW WAYS OF THINKING.
TREAT YOURSELF AS YOU WOULD
SOMEONE YOU REALLY, REALLY LOVED.

DAY FOUR

~ ~ BE KIND TO YOUR MIND ~ ~

SELF HATRED IS ONLY HATING
YOUR OWN THOUGHTS.
DON'T HATE YOURSELF
FOR HAVING BAD THOUGHTS.
GENTLY CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS.

DAY FIVE

~ ~ PRAISE YOURSELF~ ~

CRITICISM BREAKS DOWN THE INNER SPIRIT.
PRAISE BUILDS IT UP.
PRAISE YOURSELF AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.
TELL YOURSELF HOW WELL YOU ARE DOING
WITH EACH AND EVERY LITTLE THING.

DAY SIX

~ ~ SUPPORT YOURSELF ~ ~

FIND WAYS TO SUPPORT YOURSELF.
REACH OUT TO FRIENDS AND
ALLOW THEM TO HELP YOU.
IT IS BEING STRONG
TO ASK FOR HELP
WHEN YOU NEED IT.

DAY SEVEN

~ ~ BE LOVING TO YOUR NEGATIVES ~ ~

ACKNOWLEDGE THAT
YOU CREATED THEM
TO FULFILL A NEED.
NOW YOU ARE FINDING NEW,
POSITIVE WAYS
TO FULFILL THOSE NEEDS.
SO, LOVINGLY RELEASE
THE OLD NEGATIVE PATTERNS.

DAY EIGHT

~ ~ TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY ~ ~

LEARN ABOUT NUTRITION.
WHAT KIND OF FUEL DOES
YOUR BODY NEED TO HAVE FOR
OPTIMUM ENERGY AND VITALITY?
LEARN ABOUT EXERCISE.
WHAT KIND OF EXERCISE CAN YOU ENJOY
AND TOLERATE ACCORDING TO YOUR ILLNESS?
CHERISH AND REVERE THE TEMPLE YOU LIVE IN.



DAY NINE

~ ~ MIRROR WORK ~ ~

LOOK INTO YOUR EYES OFTEN.
EXPRESS THIS GROWING SENSE OF LOVE
YOU HAVE FOR YOURSELF.
FORGIVE YOURSELF,
LOOKING INTO THE MIRROR.
TALK TO YOUR PARENTS AND LOVED ONES,
LOOKING INTO THE MIRROR.
FORGIVE THEM TOO.
AT LEAST ONCE A DAY SAY:
"I LOVE YOU.
I REALLY LOVE YOU"

My name is Mari Cokely and I am a grateful recovering compulsive overeater. When we began talking about why it was important to love oneself, we came to the conclusion that before we can love others we must learn to love ourselves. We also came to the conclusion that this was very hard to do.

For the past week and a half, we have focused on ways to try to do this ... and today ... of all the exercises ... I have found my favorite. When I read these exercises for the very first time, this way intrigued me so much that I stopped what I was doing and actually did the exercise. It turned out to be more than just an exercise. It turned out to be something that I plan to do every day for the rest of my life.

I went to the mirror in my bathroom .... and I closed the door. I stood there and looked into my blue eyes. I felt awkward ... rather embarrassed the first time ... almost as if I was looking at a stranger. I began to have a feeling of the "sense of self." I began to talk to myself ... aloud. I talked to my dead parents. I talked with a mentor and teacher who meant more to me than anyone else in my life at the time. I talked with my children. And some cousins that I had not seen in years.

I continued. I talked with my husband .... and with my brothers. I talked with many, many precious old friends. I talked with certain loopies and classmates I had not seen in many years. I talked for a long time and told each of them I loved them. And almost left ......

But I didn't. I again found my eyes in the mirror and began talking to me .... at different ages. I don't know how long it has been since I looked into my very own eyes .... saw tears coming out of them as I talked to a little five year old girl who was hovered on a bed with two little brothers under each of her arms listening as their mother was beaten by their father. I cried more when I saw the ten year old Mari all dressed up in a pink evening dress ready to perform the biggest piano recital ever given in her teacher's studio. I told her she was beautiful because she surely didn't think so then.

I looked into those blue eyes and saw a 16 year old teen-ager unable to cope with all sorts of feelings and emotions and told her it was okay that she kept everything inside because she felt if she let it out, it would disappoint someone. And I continued and looked in the eyes of a 21 year old bride and a 22 year old mother and I talked to that young woman as though she was the most important person in the world .... even though her perception at that point in time was that she was important to no one.

And then the eyes began to age .... the 35 year old eyes of a woman who was beginning to lose herself in the disease. The 45 year old eyes of a woman who never stopped running and who was in the depths of so much misery she thought she'd never find her way out. The years passed and the eyes began to get brighter and the tears began to be happy ones ... and the conversation flowed.

Those eyes. I remember the line under my picture in my high school annual .... "Where did you get those peepers?" I hadn't thought of that in so many years. And then the tears started again. And the memories came flooding back. And I don't think I've ever reached the point in my entire life that I did then and said aloud ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"I love you, Mari. I really, really love you."

Dear God,
I would like to
be able to love
myself as much as I
do some other people
in my life. Please help
me to accomplish this.



Love,
Mari
Marisok@aol.com
The Recovery Group







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