Accepting myself

To me, the first step in my healing process was to finally accept where I was in life.  I tried denial and all it did was give me more time to bury myself deeper in muck and mire.  Years ago, I moved to Tri-Cities, Washington, 3 cities, 3 rivers and 3 freeways.  I kept a map in the glove box of my car because I inevitably got lost at least once a week.  I was with my Dad on one of these lost trips and he asked me, “Are you sure you know where you are going?”  Out of frustration I snapped, “I know where I am going, I just don’t know where I am.”

IMG_8504 I love this as a reminder that I sometimes need to stop and figure out where I am.  If I am unwilling or unable to figure out where I am, it is very difficult to move to where I want to be.

You can’t beat every adversary you face but every adversary you beat, you had to face. ~ Unknown

I started counseling over 10 years ago.  At the beginning, I thought I was dealing with the usual problems of communication in our marriage.  Tried a marriage class but I felt like they were all talking over my head, so we tried marriage counseling.  We talked about what we wanted to accomplish.  We were given homework assignments and nothing went right.  The desired results weren’t happening.  I was finally asked to tell the counselor about my childhood.  I told him it was great that we went to the park and the zoo.  He asked me about an average day.  I repeated it was great we went to the park and the zoo.  “So you went to the park and the zoo every day.”  Uh, no.  I confessed that I had no idea since high school.  I didn’t know that most people remember their childhood.  My counselor accepted that I was in the dark about anything and everything to do with myself.  He then worked at trying to help me figure out where we were.

howIthink

What problems was I actually facing?  He worked at helping me to first define the problem.  I tried to figure it out but with no memories to draw from it was very difficult.  I was trying to explain to him how my thinking seemed behind a screen and all compartmentalized with few connections between events.  I struggled with trying to even define what was wrong.  Sometimes counseling or some other outside assistance is needed in the process of self acceptance.

A few links that might be helpful in writing your life story to help in accepting where you are now:

https://www.startwithwhy.com/learnyourwhy Before hyperventilating about paying to answer your own questions keep in mind two things.  I am not getting paid to share this information  I paid $200 to a therapist that on the second session of her talking to me about my story she asked, “Has anyone ever believed you?”

I also found links to questions you might want to consider when writing your life story to this point.  Deciding where you are at right now:

http://webapp.usm.maine.edu/LifeStories/Public/Interview/View.do;jsessionid=546A46C4A63B0EE0F491B8C6AF588EF3

http://storycorps.org/great-questions/

http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/pdfs/Life-history-questions.pdf

What does life history have to do with acceptance?  Your story is your story do you accept your own story?  Do you even know what it is? I didn’t.  I needed to know what my life was to find the bits and pieces of accepting who I was.  I needed to tell my story.  I pieced it together a bit at a time over several years of work in counseling.  My counselor told me that I am just like everyone else, I bring in the puzzle pieces of my life and we sort through them and put it together.  He then continued, “You just happen to be a 10,000 piece puzzle.”

A problem well stated is a problem half solved.
– Charles F. Kettering

Unfortunately for some people, they get caught up in blaming their past for how they are now.  Or they tell their story over and over and over without accepting its content.  Another struggle is self condemnation, “Why didn’t I prevent the trauma in my life?” Or minimizing their life events, “That <traumatic life event> wasn’t all that bad.” Just telling your story isn’t accepting who you are because of that story.  For me, I needed a counselor through this process.  Group therapy can be beneficial.  Others found this path through AA, Alcoholics Anonymous or other organizations designed to help us accept who we are.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

Why is acceptance essential?  Until you accept where you are it is difficult to move to where you want to be.
Team member mulderfan shared this with me:
We can never truly let go until we 1st have acceptance.
When I speak at AA of accepting my parents exactly as they are, I always add that acceptance does not imply approval, nor does it mean I have to have a relationship with them. The other thing that I accept is that I simply can’t deal with them and maintain my sobriety/sanity. Now I focus on staying well for the people that truly love me. ~mulderfan
Accepting yourself exactly as you are does not imply liking where you are.  It is my belief, that you liked where you are you wouldn’t be reading this blog to find out about PTSD and how to change your life.  Acceptance is not agreement.  It is not staying where you are.  It is not self pity.  Froglogic used the suitable cliche: “It is what it is.”
Knowing where you are sets you up to decide where you want to go.  Acceptance does not mean staying where you are.  If you don’t like your life, changing your thinking will be the process that starts the changes in your life.  I like Einstein’s quote that we can’t use the same thinking.

You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. You will find peace not in denial, but in victory.

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6 thoughts on “Accepting myself

  1. Pingback: Following advice… | The Project: Me by Judy

  2. Wow. First of all, congrats for seeking help. I, like you, do not remember a great deal about anything before High School. I think it was because of living with a maniacal father. Dad has manic depression, had a breakdown when I was small, was committed and received shock therapy. He saw the same shrink for over 30 years who did nothing but tell my mother, you just have to deal with it.
    My Dad found another Dr. who diagnosed him correctly and put him on meds. (I think I was in college at the time) I remember one day my mother asking him if he took his meds and he said “Yes, I did, but I’m not letting them work!”
    Anyhoo, I am in therapy too. It’s a trip for sure. Learning why I used to hide in a tiny storage hole in my room is mind blowing. I could still hear him screaming at Mom but I felt save in that 3X3 hole.
    Second, I hope you find who you are and take solace. Mental illness is a lifelong diagnosis many times. Things that we suppress have a way of festering and coming out as emotional daggers that we throw at the people who love us. It stinks and those people get hurt even though we don’t want that in the least.
    Good Luck! hugs and prayers

  3. I love this post. Thank you for sharing. How hard is it to ‘accept’ what our body, mind, emotions and spirit have spent a lifetime fighting and has done so as a survival mechanism!? Overcoming this and coming to a place of acceptance, peace and wellness, is truly one of the bravest things I think anyone could do. Kudos to you, Maggie x

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