It has taken some time to decide what to put into this particular writing. I ran a group the other day at work, and we discussed self-nourishment. It is what it sounds like. It is basically feeding yourself positive things mind, body, and soul. It consists of a whole list of things to do regarding physical contact, connectedness, and emotional balance. It is a hard concept to grasp hold of when you have done none of those things before. When you grow up learning how to sabotage all that is good for you or learning you do not deserve all that is good for you, self-nourishment is a scary, obscure topic. I grew up in a household where abuse ran rampant. I had nobody teach me that it was okay to take care of me. I watched as people hurt others, people hurt me, and people hurt themselves. Now that I am 42 years old, I see that I no longer HAVE to be a product of my raising…on any level.
The physical contact part of self-nourishment includes a long list of things including wearing comfortable clothing, eating healthy, good tasting food, being in a comfortable bed, and so on. My beds at home were never comfortable for a multitude of reasons. Eating healthy, good tasting foods were just not on my to-do list. It was the 80’s as I was growing up, so loose, comfortable clothing was not always an option. I felt to fit in, I had to wear the tightest pair of Gloria Vanderbilt jeans I could find that would show off any and every curve I had. I was smaller then, so I could do that.
Connectedness. Hm. I felt connected to a lot of people. Most of the time, that connectedness was unhealthy. I had a best friend in high school. That was the only healthy decision I made regarding feeling connected to someone else. I gave all of me to others to try to feel that connectedness only to be fooled, or tricked, by my own neediness. I did belong to a team in high school, but outside of games or practice, I was pretty much left to my own devices. Again, not the healthiest of things fell into that. I priced my worth based on what I could do or give others. Those I was “connected” to were really great at receiving. I was my own corporation, and there was no profit-making or breaking even in that “company”. I became bankrupt.
Because I was bankrupt in the physical contact and connectedness departments, there was no possibility for emotinal balance. How could there be? It has taken me way too long to understand any type of emotional balance. I am still working on that as I type. I understand that as a human being, there is no glass ceiling for growth. Continued growth is possible if desired enough. Part of my personal growth will have to include self-forgiveness.
*There are three essential parts to self-forgiveness. We must:
- acknowledge the commission of an objective wrong and accept responsibility for that wrong,
- experience feelings of guilt and regret, and finally
- overcome these feelings (i.e., self-forgiveness), and, in doing so, experience a motivational change away from self-punishment toward self-acceptance.
I have not seriously worked on this foreign entity called self-forgiveness until most recently. It is a long, dusty and rocky road, and it feels like I am walking it barefoot in 100 degree heat. I need to find some thick-soled shoes and suntan lotion, I think.
*Timothy A. Pychyl, Ph.D. in Don’t Delay