Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Self Love: A Solid Foundation

The new year means a clean slate or in Latin a Tabula Rasa. You have a chance to "turn it all around" , start the projects you have always wanted to start and a chance to make the best resolution: Self Love. Self love and a positive self concept creates the solid foundation for everything else in your life.  It seems easy enough, right? In my personal experience it is one of the toughest journeys in life.  Self examination, accountability and brutal honesty, especially about yourself can be very challenging. Acceptance is also a tough one. Don't confuse self care with selfishness. We ALL deserve to be loved, by ourselves first and foremost. But don't expect others to do what you are not prepared to do.  

My friend, actress, author and all around hilarious chick, Kristen Johnson posted about this very thing recently. I wanted to share her insight and experience:
Image: InterviewMag Online

"Someone just wrote me that their New Year's resolution was "No more self-hate. No more wishing I was someone else. This year, I want to learn how to love myself, for the very first time."

Shiver me timbers, I don't think there's ever been a better, more meaningful & truly gorgeous New Years Resolution in the HISTORY of Resolutions.

As someone who's spent an enormous part of her life hating herself, and thankfully no longer does, I wanted to share a few tips that helped me stop my cycle of self-hatred.

(NOTE: If a huge part of your esteem issues is because you're using drugs, booze, sex, food, self-harm, etc.....we both know you gotta navigate that issue first.
and for me, that was a HUGE part of how I felt about myself. But it wasn't everything.)

Here's what people don't can CHOOSE to love yourself. Even your fat ass or your weird nose or your shyness or sexuality or weight or lisp.


Now, if you've got a handle on your addiction, and you still think you suck?

Here are a few tips from a clueless non-professional:

1. No more negative self-talk. 

When you constantly say "I'm such an idiot" or "God, I suck" or "I'm so hideous"....the nightmare is, you begin to believe it. And it begins to become true.

Sometimes I think about how I used to talk to myself. Like, if I forgot my Keys, I would say "You're such a stupid cunt." TO MYSELF. YIKES.

Most people don't even realize they do it.

2. DE-TOXIFY...If you have toxic relationships in your life, get rid of 'em. (Excluding family, I'll address in a second.) 

A healthy relationship should make you feel like the best version of yourself. You should feel safe, not judged & not "less than."

For most of my life, I was addicted to having toxic female friends. If they bullied me, manipulated me, made me feel stupid & ugly, I ADORED THEM.

Especially deeply unhappy, insecure women who were consumed with jealousy (and in one case, flat-out hatred) towards me. I grew used to having "friends" who would gossip about me to people.
Oh, and they adored inserting wedges into my other, healthy relationships by subtly, almost off-handedly, mentioning slanderous lies my friend never said.

I have a feeling this will sound familiar.

You ask "Well what should I DO, Dr. KJo?"
My very lofty, $300-an-hour answer?


"After a great deal of thought, I realized that having you in my life is very unhealthy for me. It takes two to tango, and I accept half the blame for this toxic relationship.
I think it's best if we take a break. I wish you nothing but the best in 2013!"

And every email response? DELETE.

3. If you have a toxic family member (and if you don't, what the hell are you even doing on this page? Go! Leave while there's still time!):

Let's say you have a fucked up family member. Lets say this person is addicted to drama, or is a narcissist, or is oh-so-midly fucktarded ?

Someone who, for whatever reason, you have to deal with on a regular basis. This is a person immune to all attempts to honestly address their icki-ness.

If you can't extricate yourself from their life, you can deal with them in a way that won't drive you batty:
(It sounds simple, but believe me, it's not):

YOU can change the way you react to THEM!

It's the only thing you have control over. So, let's say your dad likes to get drunk at family functions & decides to begin telling everyone what a stupid loser you are.

You usually laugh, or cry, or get angry, or drink or use drugs or cut.

Instead, what if you said "Dad, if you say one more negative thing about me, I'll have no choice but to leave."

"Oh, look who thinks she's so high faluuuuu...hey! (burp) where ya goin?"

"Good night everyone! I love you guys, just not dad when he's drunk."

And drive home with a smile, imagining your dad getting all the shit for once.

Or, lets say you have a passive-aggressive mother who hyper-judges you constantly?

Pull back, stop revealing things to her, instead email her once a week cheerful, full of shit, brief little notes.

My point being, you can CHOOSE how someone makes you feel. You CAN have the power back, simply by changing how you navigate things.

These are just a few VERY difficult things I learned.

Hope they help!

Love & kisses in the new year

KJo, M.D.

(Read her book GUTS - paperback edition with new introduction Avail Jan 22)

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