You Are Worthy of Love
Understanding your identity involves self-compassion and love
The “I am” can be a real conundrum. You can’t truly love or have compassion for others until you know who you are and what compassion feels like. Knowing who you are, your world views and identifying closely with your values paves the path to inner strength. From that point, venturing out into the world is an opportunity for positive sharing of compassion and love.
The conundrum of ‘being’ in the world, confidently, lovingly and comfortably, can happen when your persona doesn’t connect with your inner self. There is the ‘me’ that seems super confident on the surface. But, it can be a crash-and-burn scene beneath the facade. This identity conflict can play out from fear, social anxiety and can also be an ego-defence strategy. Messages get mixed and relationships suffer.
Settling into the mode of self-compassion and love has been a hurdle for me. I am working through the recovery process from a dark depression. Part of this process is adopting the strategy of not doing anything when my heart is pounding or I am feeling a distinct fear.
Sometimes, I press have pressed ‘publish’ here on my beloved Medium and it felt like having a heart attack. Now, I simply don’t press ‘publish’ until I can do so in a relative state of calm. I get up and do something else. I might do the dishes, go for a run, stretch, breathe, paint or anything else that gives me some space away from fusing with that thought.
Fear of being judged negatively can lead to these panic attacks. I have to go running to balance the anxiety and stress hormones.
If I don’t this, these little devils can persist in attacking my determination that ‘I am’, ‘I can do this’ and ‘I will continue on this path’ because it is the thing I love to do. My writing needs running and my running needs writing.
Ironically, they do work really well together. By running I mean both the fear-induced kind and the fitness kind. The fitness kind of running helps to reduce the fear-flight-flee running. They are opposites that seem to attract each other. Doing so brings the anxiety and depression down and my cognitive ability and confidence up. My self-compassion increases and my identity is strengthened.
With an intentional attitude
We need to intentionally own our place in the world, with others. My recovery into mental health has been directly correctly with the above. I am committed to doing so authentically, with integrity.
It is most important to me that I am spreading a word of hope, light and love. If I can do it others can as well. It is a path that stems from right intentions.
The power of language.
The more I write that, the more it is cemented in my mind — to compassionately and vulnerably embrace reality. The more I write the more I work through the trauma in a positive way.
Writing things down is therapy. It makes me live up to the words on the page. I wrote them. Therefore, I need to own them and walk-the-talk with as much strength as I can muster up.
I read once that prisoners of war were forced to write their confessions (usually something against their own country) because, once written, it was something they couldn’t go back on. Thankfully, most of us are not in that position. But, writing is still a powerful tool for owning your intentions and living accordingly.
Having a will-to-meaning
Will-to-meaning, meaning-in-life, and freedom-of-will are the self-empowering, foundational principles of Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy and existential philosophy. No one can touch that power which is within you, unless you empower them to do so.
Conscious awareness takes me from being acted upon to taking agency over my own life story. I am also aware that oppression that is inflicted from outside of us can become oppression we habitually own, from within. Mindfulness has helped me observe thoughts and not to fuse with those that are oppressive or against my core beliefs and values.
Frankl wrote that human freedom is not a freedom ‘from’ (as in flight) but freedom ‘to’ respond to life. Freedom is to actively engage in and to be responsible for one’s life, in the world with others.
Witnessing significant changes in my life has been the result of a committed, intentional conscious, gritty, growth mind-set. I write and express deep, traumatic events which would otherwise stayed repressed. I write because it feels right and it makes the world a better place in which to live.
Going forward I engage a very different mindset. My mind, heart and my soul can not be held prisoner again. This drawing meaningful connections with the world is a holistic balancing of self-compassion, love and identity building.
To be writing this, now is very much a reflection of my recovery progress. My voice is much stronger. I am much more confident that what I have to say is meaningful. Hopefully at least one other will hear my words and connect with them. My words are chosen carefully. They are always genuine, mindful and heart-felt.
Repression and oppression now inspire transformation. I don’t bury them along with my sense of identity and self-worth. I use them to learn from and to grow.