The Audacity to Love Yourself

I love myself.

This is a declaration I must make on a consistent basis.  For so long, I didn’t love myself.  I experienced some traumatic family situations when I was young.  These life events dramatically altered how I saw myself.  I thought something must be wrong with me, or else these things wouldn’t have happened. This is often how children process trauma.  No matter how many times my folks would tell me it wasn’t my fault, and it wasn’t anyone’s fault, it was too late.   My brain already processed it as partially my fault. Without realizing it, I began to see myself as less-than-worthy.  I sought out attention as a teenager and young adult to try to “prove” to myself that I was good enough.  Relationship after relationship, trying to “make them see” how valuable I was.  I didn’t realize that I first had to learn to love ME in order to be whole enough to love others and to receive love in a healthy way.

Am I there yet?  Yes and no.  Yes, I do love myself and it’s taken so much work to get to the place where I could say it and mean it.  But, no, I’m not always good at it.  Some days I have to purposely declare it and purposely remind myself that I am worthy.

Faith Component:  For me, God is central to me loving myself.  He created me and loves me with a love so overwhelming that I cannot fully comprehend it.  And I experience God’s love in such tremendous and often unexpected ways, that I cannot deny it, nor would I want to.

Today, if you do not feel loved, or don’t love yourself, I want to remind you of how special you are. You are most certainly meant to be here.  You have purpose.  You are incredible.  I know sometimes days are not easy, but, please know that you matter.  Your existence is not pointless.  You have a lot to give, even if you cannot see it at the moment.  Know that I am at least one person, one voice here to remind you of your worthiness!  You are in my thoughts and prayers today.

If you feel you need more support than just reading a blog post, please visit my Resources Page to find extra help in the way of counseling or crisis support.  Sending oodles of love your way!

Blessings,

~ Kay Dee

©2019 I AM KAYDEE, “The Audacity to Love Yourself”

Photo credit: pixabay.com

Loving the Whole You

Loving myself has been a journey. If I am honest, I must admit that I’ve got a ways to go yet. That isn’t to say that I haven’t made any progress. On the contrary, I have made huge strides, leaps and bounds in this area.  I am doing well in this process, but, I must always remind myself that it IS a process and therefore takes time and work, which is not fun for an impatient person. I often battle inwardly thinking I should have arrived already at some great accomplished place of perfect and complete self love.

Sometimes I think to myself, where does this expectation come from?  Why do I think I ought to have “arrived” by now, somehow?? Is it because I’m a certain age? Because I’ve already accomplished some other major goals in life? Because of society’s pressure bearing down upon me? The answer is all of the above. There are internal and external pressures involved; pressures I put on myself and pressures I feel from forces outside of myself.  You could say to me, “You don’t have to accept external pressures,” and you are correct. But, it’s often not that simple.  External pressures and expectations, whether from individual people (family, friends and strangers) or from media or from society-at-large are often overwhelmingly present.

For instance, have you ever been chatting with a friend or colleague something on your mind? You were thinking maybe they’d commiserate with you or make some small comment about it.  Instead, they proceeded to give full-on advice laced with a few veiled insults in the process.  But they were just “trying to help”, right?  That’s happened to me a time or two and usually the full impact of what was said didn’t hit me until AFTER the conversation was over.  Sure, sure the insults may not have been intentional but they still made their impact and left me feeling a bit hurt, angry and temporarily insecure about something I had no business feeling insecure about.  I then would have to go into “damage control mode” to counteract the impact of the negative words. I’d remind myself to “consider the source” or that they were “trying to help and unaware of their insult” or that “this person tends to be very opinionated so I must take their  ‘advice’ with a grain of salt”.  I’d have to remind myself “I am beautiful, capable, intelligent, and I love my body” or whatever other positive self-talk phrase was applicable at the moment.

Thankfully these types of interactions don’t happen often, but, they do happen.  Maybe they happen often for you with a particular friend, family member, coworker or boss.  It’s not easy to remain unaffected when people are critical towards you. But, let’s talk about another item that may undermine our ability to love ourselves fully… the influence of media.

Perhaps you are scrolling through your social media (or media of choice) and you see an article about, “How to have the perfect body” or “Getting beach body ready” or “How to get rid of those love handles” and along with the article is a picture of a person with seemingly zero body fat and toned muscles and curves in the ‘right’ places.  Then you look in the mirror at YOUR body and see something different.  Is your body less perfect? Less desirable somehow? Less beautiful?  The subliminal messages of these articles and pictures is that if you are not perfectly toned and in shape with zero body fat, or if you don’t look like the image that is portrayed by media, then something is wrong with you.  You begin to feel as though you are not measuring up or that your body is not good enough.

These articles and advertisements may have good intentions. They may want to promote fitness information. Or… they may be advertising a product or service that they want you to buy, so the advertisement / article plays on your personal insecurities about your appearance, your body shape, etc. in order to sell their product.  These subliminal messages tell us we should only go to the beach if we have a ‘beach body’.  Or when we see the that photo of the model with amazing abs has over 100,000 “likes”, we may incorrectly internally rationalize that have to look like that model in order to be “liked”.  It is all in the marketing and we fall for it.  If we are not careful, we feel like we are not measuring up somehow.

Then, there are the articles saying things like, “Things you should accomplish in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s¨ or “What you should wear in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, etc¨?  Who are “they” to be saying what we should or should not wear or what we should have accomplished by a certain age?  Sure, you can use these types of articles as a LOOSE guideline if you’d like, but, people are defying age stereotypes daily!  But, if we buy into these articles as more than for just entertainment or opinion, we could get caught up into thinking we’ve failed somehow by not reaching a certain goal or marker by a certain age.

Sometimes I swear this system is meant to keep us living in a state of dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives. We can fall into the trap of endlessly striving to be some ideal rather than learning to actually LOVE ourselves as we are.  Not that we will never need or want to improve in some areas or facets of ourselves because we will.  But, we must first learn to accept and embrace ourselves FULLY.  We all have shortcomings, flaws, things that we don’t necessarily prefer about our appearances, etc., but we must love these parts of ourselves as well, and love them wholeheartedly.  Do you have stretchmarks?  Love them.  Do you have “love handles”? Love them.  Do you have scars? Love them.  Do you have a tendency to chatter on and on? Love yourself.  Do you stutter? Love yourself. We are all imperfect and it’s okay.   What’s not okay is allowing your own self-talk, other people’s opinions, or other external sources to make you feel less worthy as a human being.  You, I, we … do not have to be perfect people. We should strive to be good people. We should strive to be the best version of ourselves and that is different for everyone.  But, do not cast aside who you are at this moment.

It can be very difficult to manage if we have people in our lives who constantly tear us down. Or if we are in social situations on a regular basis where we must deal with negative and/or bullying type people (work, school).  There is no easy solution in those situations. The dynamics are not always identical.  But, if you are being bullied at work or school, talk to someone you trust and someone who can help you.  Try talking to a teacher, administrator, friend, parent. At work you may also want to speak to a manager you trust or to the HR department or to a friend outside of work who can give you wise counsel.  Also try using Google to look up information for resources who might be able to help you.

The last thing I will mention is this.  When it comes to learning to love your whole self, the only caveat to this is if you know that you are harmful to other people or to yourself. If you know you are someone who purposely hurts others or if you purposely hurt yourself, loving yourself does not mean staying the same.  If you struggle with some dark parts of yourself or something that is bigger than you can handle that you know is destructive, then loving yourself would mean getting HELP for yourself so that the harmful behavior does not continue.  Loving ourselves also means doing what we must to help ourselves to get better.

These are my thoughts.  Blessings.

Kay Dee // @kaydeespeaks

https://iamkaydee1.wordpress.com
Facebook, IG, Twitter @kaydeespeaks
YouTube: bit.ly/KayDeeSpeaks

Photo credit: pexels.com

Forgiving Yourself.

IMG_5092Forgiving Yourself.

Today, as I sat in church listening to the message many thoughts ran through my mind. It wasn’t your typical sermon for Mother’s Day (which was kind of a relief in some ways). It touched on how God allows both joys and sorrows in our lives. And in particular, how it seems we learn the most from sorrows (or difficult situations). It’s true. Whenever we go through joyous events, we’re not really thinking, “what am I learning from this?” We are just reveling in whatever amazing thing is happening. But, when we experience the tough stuff, we go through the full gamut of emotions and thoughts. We ask “Why?” And it also causes us to be more reflective.

In reflecting on these things, my thoughts turned to some tough situations I have gotten myself into over the years. As much as we all want to believe we pretty much have life “together”, there are times when we lack judgment or experience or good sense. There are times when we’ve thrown caution to the wind and acted on a whim and it’s come back to bite us in the rear end.

As someone with perfectionistic tendencies, I’ve often beat myself up over these kinds of mistakes. Also, I’d falsely think, “There’s no way God is happy with me. No way he really loves me after this (whatever the mistake was).” It took a long time for me to realize that God loves me regardless. He may not be happy with all of my choices, but, his love never ends. His grace never ends. And he forgives when I ask sincerely. I’m sooo thankful for that!

Then there’s the topic of forgiving other people. That’s reeeeally rough to do sometimes. Especially when you know they don’t deserve it. But, I’ve learned that forgiveness is more for MY heart, than for their benefit. I forgive so that I can live free from bitterness and anger.

The last thing, yet possibly one of the biggest hindrances to our overall well being is self-forgiveness or lack thereof. ‘Can I or will I forgive myself?’ Can I forgive myself for messing up? Being human and flawed? Lacking judgment in that instance? For saying that thing? Or doing that thing? I think forgiving ourselves can be one of the most challenging things to do, especially if we hold ourselves to a high standard, and if other key people in our lives do, too.

But, forgiving yourself is part of loving yourself. It’s part of healing. [This is not the same as excusing repeat bad behavior. If you know you have a pattern of doing something wrong or harmful to yourself or others, then you should seek out professional help.] But, if in the normal course of life, you make mistakes here and there, or you really mess from time to time, then it’s imperative that you forgive yourself. Love yourself enough to do yourself that favor. On this journey of life, we’re all learning and growing and hopefully trying to be better people all the time. We do have to remember that we are flawed but as long as were trying to learn and grow and be the best we can be, then we’re on the right track.

©Kay Dee Speaks “Forgiving Yourself.”

photo credit: google pics and here

Self-Check: Are You Negative & Don’t Know It?

negative_sign

Self-Check: Are You Negative & Don’t Know It?

Every now and again, I find it necessary to do what I call a “self-check”, to see if I’m “out of balance” in any one area. For me personally, usually through prayer and reading the bible, I’m able to better reflect on myself and my actions. For you, it may be a similar or different method.  In any case, today, we’ll talk about negativity.

I think we all have the propensity to be negative sometimes.  It’s part of the normal course of human emotional responses.  The problem comes when we’re negative MOST of the time.  Adding onto this, it’s a problem if you’re negative most of the time…and don’t realize it.  I’m sure we all know negative people.  And we probably tend to distance ourselves from them (or should), if possible, for our own emotional health and well-being.

But, how do you know if YOU are the negative person? Here is a checklist I came up with. It’s not all-inclusive and certainly not ‘expert’ in nature. These are just some things I think can be self-check points. Ask yourself the following:

1. Do I have the tendency to complain more often than not?

2. Do I have a habit of talking badly about people (snide comments, gossiping, taking verbal ‘jabs’ at people whether they can hear me or not) instead of saying something good, or nothing at all?

3. Do I always see the ‘problem’ instead of the ‘solution’?

4. Do I tend to create mountains out of mole hills (do I make small issues into big ones) most of the time?

5. If there is NO problem, do I tend to CREATE a problem in order to have something to complain about?

6. Am I more comfortable complaining, than just being at peace or being happy?

7. Do I feel like I’m ‘never satisfied’?

8. Is my outlook generally one of the glass (of life) being half empty instead of half full (do I tend to see the bad more often than the good)? Am I more often pessimistic instead of optimistic?

9. Is it difficult for me to compliment people, to smile or celebrate a good event?

10. Do I feel as though life is generally ‘bad’? Do I feel as though people are generally ‘bad’?

11. Do I tend toward being judgmental?

Some of these questions are similar in nature, but, they are all to get you thinking about how you react  or think “most of the time”.  If you feel that you answered most of these questions in the affirmative, you could possibly be a negative person.  Again, this list is not all-inclusive or definitive in nature. It is more to get you thinking.

Sources of negativity can be varied.  From what I’ve learned and observed, negativity can creep in for various reasons or it can be a learned pattern (especially if it was modeled in the home or elsewhere on a consistent basis). Or it can be rooted in fear.

What should you do if you realize that you have a tendency toward being negative? It can be as easy as watching your reaction or your speech and consciously making efforts to change. Or it can be as serious as perhaps getting some professional counseling to help you figure out the root cause of it and give you tools for ridding the negative patterns from your life.  But whatever the case, do not be ashamed.  We all struggle with something. And doing regular self-checks can be good to do on a routine basis.

Here are some resources for you:
1. How to Deal With Negative People
2. Are You A Positive or Negative Person (includes strategies to combat negativity)
3. Book: Happiness Is A Choice – Minirth/Maier

Disclaimer: I am not a professional counselor. These are just life observations and personal life lessons I wanted to share. You are entitled to your own opinion. And I always encourage everyone to do their own research on any subject matter. That said, I hope something said here has been helpful to you and/or your loved ones.

Blessings to you!

© 2013 “Self-Check: Are You Negative & Don’t Know It?” KD Corner / K.D. author
Photo source: here

Put One Foot In Front of the Other

Sometimes all you can do when life is hard (and you don’t know how the story
ends) is to keep going. Because if you stop, you know you’ll either get
stuck, or even worse, you’ll regress backward and go into a downward spiral.

My encouragement to you today is to keep going. If you’re nosey…um,
inquisitive sounds better. If you’re inquisitive like me, you don’t want to
give up for sole reason that you might miss something good if you do. I was
like that as a kid. I always wanted to stay up late because I was afraid I
was going to miss something cool. So, keep going for sheer nosiness sake.
Hahaha! Seriously though, you don’t know what blue skies, sunshine and
rainbows may be on the other side of the storm, so keep walking, keep
marching, keep moving forward.

“Put one foot in front of the other” was a song from an animated Christmas
special from long ago. AND I FOUND IT FOR YOU! 🙂 Yes, I’m corny. But, I told
you in previous posts that I love music. Songs stay with me. They come back
to mind exactly when I need them. The words are “put one foot in front of
the other, and soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor. Put one foot in
front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking out the door.” Keep going my
friends. Don’t stop. Don’t give up, don’t give in. Push through to the other
side. Blessings await. Here’s a bit of nostalgia for some of you and a ‘new’
video for those of you who’ve never seen it & are curious enough to watch it.
The words are actually good. 🙂 Blessings to you.

HERE’S THE LINK TO THE VIDEO –> PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER (from Santa Claus is Coming to Town)

PS- HAPPY VETERANS DAY TO ALL VETERANS

Toodles ♥

© “Put One Foot In Front of the Other” KD Corner 2012