“How Can I Feel Good About Myself?!

by Annie Kaszina on September 12, 2005

“How Am I Meant To Feel  Good About Myself….
When I Feel Terrible?”

That was the question I undertook to answer in the last
issue of “The Woman You Want To Be” (my bi-monthly ezine for abused women, available through
www.joyfulcoaching.com and I’ll admit that I feel some anxiety
about doing so. You see, I believe that
the answer I’ll give is as true and honest (and personal) as I can make
it. But I remember all too well the
objections that I’d have raised a few years back. I was deeply objectionable at the time.
🙂

Back then, my situation left me feeling so profoundly
negative that I would have dismissed out of hand a message like the one I
intend to share today. It is the memory
of that almost impenetrable negativity that makes me feel nervous. But as bullets go, I’ve gnawed on tougher
ones, so here goes.

My first encounter with affirmations came through Adam
Jackson’s brief, charming books: “10 Secrets of Abundant Love” and “10 Secrets
of Abundant Wealth”. I read them with
some pleasure, but couldn’t quite relate them to me – because my situation
was different.

I once asked the then husband (TTH) about subscribing to
“Which” – a UK magazine that provides expert advice about best buy
products. TTH replied instantly, with
complete conviction that ‘it wasn’t for people like us’.

After TTH left, I subscribed and learned 3 valuable
things:

  • That he was a fool – it’s for anyone who doesn’t have the time or inclination
    to do the research but wants information. (It saved me a lot of money.)
  • That he habitually condemned as stupid any view that did not coincide with his
    own; and I came to accept that, in the great scheme of things, he was
    always right and I was always wrong.
  • And most important, that he and I were ‘different’. General rules and generalizations, especially, did not apply to us.

In fact this was an affirmation, sometimes repeated
sometimes merely implied, that moulded his – and my – perception of the
world. It was a negative affirmation,
and a very powerful one. Because
‘things were different for me’, the strategies and solutions that proved
effective for other people would never work for me. Or so I believed.

(While every abusive relationship has its own individual
aspects, all abusers croak from the same hymn sheet and what went on between us
was quite similar to what goes on in all abusive couples. Only I didn’t know it at the time. There were loads of ‘people just like us’
around; but I was too far into denial ever to realise it or recognise them.)

So there I was thinking to myself: “Affirmations will
never work for me”, unaware that I was using them all the time, to great
effect. The only thing was, they were
negative affirmations and the effect was unremittingly negative.

Two things here: first Nature and the human brain abhor a
vacuum. My assumption was that I was
trying to plant tender, exotic plants in stony, barren ground. In fact the ground was quite fertile. What had been planted in it were hardy
little seedlings of despond, so genetically modified as to be sterile.

Second, what was there had been planted, by
someone. 
The negative affirmations
have felt like reality to me –because they were what I knew. But they had been germinated and planted by
a seedsman that I mistakenly believed was more knowledgeable and capable than
me. 

After all, I had become so convinced of my own inferiority
that I had internalised my partner’s bad opinion of me. (And, although I have written this in a very
personal way, I believe that the mechanisms described hold true for most abused
women.)

How then can you feel good about yourself, when you feel
terrible? By becoming your own
seedswoman. By consciously employing
the same process to create the result that you desire, that someone else used
to control and diminish you. 

That process is language. You know it works, because of the havoc it has wreaked on you. 

But
you can also harness the power of language and use it to create the outcome you
desire for yourself.

Previous post:

Next post: