One of the most confronting things I have learnt about myself is, as an adult, I can sometimes still feel and act like a victim. I do everything to make it seem like I don’t, but when I am really honest with myself I know that I do. And I struggle to hold much self-compassion for that part of me.
And when I read this quote ‘everything happening in your life results from the way you treat yourself through thoughts, words and actions’ I felt it trigger that victim in me. That young part of me that wants to defend myself and blame the external world and can find it hard to take responsibility for the choices I have made, the consequences of those choices and the relationship I have with myself.
And then another, harsher part of me turns on that victim part of me and starts to blame and criticise myself for everything that has ever gone wrong. These two parts of me, these two extremes within me, do not set up a very loving relationship within me!
And yes, there are unquestionably things that have happened in my life that I had no control over. My Dad dying, the share market crash, other people’s behaviours. And as children we are genuinely victims to our environment and the events that occur. But as an adult, I really get what this quote is saying. The way I treat myself through my thoughts, my words and my actions, especially when challenging things happen, fundamentally creates the life I live.
I was in a workshop on the weekend and we did a session on core beliefs. Core beliefs come from experiences in our childhood and they often end up feeling like they are ‘true’ and filter how we experience our life. I was asked to choose a belief from a list that included “It is dangerous to appear weak or needy”; “I can’t trust people not to hurt me”, “I need to be different if I am to be at peace”, “I am invisible”, “I am not smart”, “I am not important”, “Nobody cares about me”. Having picked one of these (or another one that felt alive for us) we answered the following question (1) This belief impacts my life…(2) I first learned this belief from…(3) This belief limits me…. (4) This belief has supported me… When we walk into a room of strangers, when we interact in our relationships, at work, in all areas of our lives, our core beliefs are always with us, either consciously or unconsciously. And we filter all of our experiences through them. We literally track for them, look for evidence that they are true and in that way re-enforce them, over and over.
As I have learnt to practice COMPASSIONATE self-awareness, of my thoughts, words, behaviours (and the beliefs that drive them) my relationship with myself has fundamentally changed. I am learning to love that young part of me that was a victim, feel compassion for the harsh part of me that wants to control and keep me safe and, as an adult, take responsibility for the relationships I chose, for how I treat myself (mentally, emotionally, physically and financially), how I allow others to treat me, the life choices I make. I continue to understand, on a whole new level, that ‘the most important relationship I have is with myself’.
What’s your experience?
With great warmth