A little while ago, I was thinking about how I felt about myself at the beginning of my journey and how I feel about myself now. What this made me think about are the different stages that I have gone through.
Earlier on, I didn’t have much love for myself and, as the years passed, this gradually changed. This is not to say that I have gone from completely hating myself to completely loving myself, but I have certainly come a long way.
When it comes to self-love, I’m talking about simply feeling comfortable in my own skin and accepting myself. What I’m not talking about is having an inflated sense of myself and seeing myself as better than others.
With that said, I can see that there are certain stages that I have gone through over the years. Also, I believe that these are stages that other people are likely through if they are on a journey from self-hate to self-love.
The First Part
In the beginning, before I was on ‘the path’, I had no idea that I hated myself. This is not to say that I didn’t experience the consequences of hating myself; it was just that how I experienced life was normal.
I would tolerate being treated badly and I didn’t believe that I deserved to receive anything. I had a strong critical voice in my head, and I would often feel down and even suicidal.
I would often go along to get along, doing what I could to please others. Focusing on other people’s needs was something that just happened; unconsciously, I saw this as the only way I would be accepted by others.
Of course, I wasn’t being accepted for who I was; I was being accepted for the role that I played. As I believed that there was something inherently wrong with me, I hid myself to avoid being rejected and abandoned – ostracised.
The Second Part
About a year after I left school, I took my first step on ‘the path’, and this is when I started to change. Experiencing shame was a problem, but I didn’t know that I was experiencing shame at the time; I just knew that my face would often get really hot and I would feel bad and want to hide when it did.
The reason I was able to change wasn’t that I started to actually feel better about myself, it was because I started to develop a new self that allowed me to disconnect from how I felt. Instead of feeling inferior to others, what I was learning caused me to feel superior to others at times.
The Third Part
This lasted for a number of years and then the false-self that I had created came tumbling down. While I was on a course, the teacher basically said that no one was better than anyone else.
Hearing this meant that I ended up coming into contact with the feelings that I had been trying to avoid. At this stage, I believed that I only had two options; I was better than others or I was worse than others – there was no middle ground.
The Fourth Part
Before my false-self came crashing down, I had been working on my beliefs and dealing with ‘past life’ trauma. This didn’t do much though, and after this, I tried to change how I felt by saying positive things to myself.
One of the ways that this took place was by having hypnotherapy. This allowed me to feel a bit better about myself, but it wasn’t long until this false-self came falling down and I came face-to-face with what was deep inside my being.
The Fifth Part
What triggered a lot of deep pain was when a relationship I was in came to an end in 2013. It was like my foundations were made of jelly and this means that I ended up losing the small amount of stability that I had built up over the years.
A lot of shame came to the surface at this point and I would often feel suicidal. I was already working with a therapist at this point to deal with my emotions, so I did have help available at this time.
I was aware of why so much pain had come up and I had been looking into the effects of early abuse and neglect for a number of years. I could see that how I had been treated throughout my early years had a massive impact on me.
Ultimately, what took place was in the past but my being was still carrying the effects of what took place; I was in a deeply traumatised state. All the material that came up had been trapped in my unconscious mind/body for all this time.
The Sixth Part
For a number of years, I worked through the emotions that had come up and this did have an effect on how I saw and felt about myself. Furthermore, I started to become a more integrated human being.
The critical inner voice inside me started to settle down as well. However, what was still an issue was accepting that I deserved to be treated well and that I deserved to receive good things.
The Seventh Part
As I went deeper inside myself, I came to see was that I had personalised what took place during my early years. At this stage of my life, it wasn’t possible for me to see that I wasn’t treated badly because I was bad; I was treated badly because my parents had serious issues of their own.
Patience and Persistence
It took me almost seventeen years to get to the point where I could not only acknowledge how I felt but until a big part of me could accept that it was not the truth. If it wasn’t for all the research and healing work that I had done, this wouldn’t have happened.
I probably would have ended my life a long time ago or had a very miserable existence. Throughout this time, I worked with numerous therapists and healers and tried many different methods, and this is why I don’t believe there is a one-approach-fits-all.
How Can I Serve You?
As I said above, I don’t always feel good about myself but if I look back on where I started, I can see that I have come a long way. If you can relate to what I have written and need additional support, one of the ways that I can provide this is through the personalised consultations that I offer via Skype or Zoom.
To find out more, please go to www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/consultations. If you are committed to your own healing, it would be an honour to assist you on your journey.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.