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Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, I am not a doctor or therapist, I am a fellow bipolar sufferer sharing my experiences and knowledge that I have gained in the hope those experiences and knowledge may help you.
Before We Start This Week:
Please check out The Blog of The Week. Which this week it is not a blog at all but a link to a Facebook group that I feel shares many of the same values as I try to express in this blog.
My Story of Learning To Love Myself.
In my own life and in talking to many bipolar sufferers there seem to be common thoughts running through our minds. “We feel worthless, useless, and hopeless”, “We feel guilt, shame and remorse for the things we have done and have lost”, “we feel like we missed some important piece of life information.” “We feel like imposters.” “We feel like we are not enough,” “We feel like chameleons, forever changing who we are to fit in with others.” We feel used and abused by others.” “We feel responsible for everyone and everything,” “We feel shunned and ostracized by loved ones and society at large,” “We don’t trust ourselves.” “We have let ourselves down too often.”
It is hard to love yourself when those are the predominant words running through your mind at any given time.
“It Is All About What You Are Feeding Yourself.”
I thought “it is all about what you are feeding yourself” the dumbest statement I had ever heard in relation to the mind. Whoever heard of feeding your mind? The truth is your mind is a sponge and if you do not feed it properly it will feed itself. Where do you think all those negative statements come from?
It took a long time for me to grasp this concept:
To Grow From Incredible Self Hatred To Really And Truly Loving Yourself Takes Time And The Right Fertilizer.
Before my last bipolar implosion, I had built a small market garden. To improve the soil, I added tons of manure to the land. I did not realize that I also added tons of manure to my thoughts over my life as well.
I held on to every hurtful and negative statement that was said to me and about me as if they were golden nuggets. I could recite them and did all day long, sometimes out loud. If you have bipolar you know exactly what I am talking about.
Manure is not the proper fertilizer for your mind.
After that last bipolar disorder implosion, I realized things needed to change, but it took a while to realize the main thing that needed changing was me and the way I thought.
I Felt Like I Missed Some Important Piece Of Life Information.
I came to realize that I did not have the tools or skills to change. The way I thought was the biggest problem. Bad experiences in education led me to believe that I was unteachable. I have learned this is not an uncommon way of thinking for a lot of bipolar sufferers. Which adds to our self – loathing.
Then I learned the truth of this quote from Buddha, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”
I was ready and I wanted to change but I had no idea how. I was willing to do anything to change and out of nowhere people and situations arose to help me change.
I Learned The Secret That Worked For Me.
The secret that worked for me was something I was already doing but in a not helpful way. The secret even had a name, it was affirmations.
Earlier I said, “I held on to every hurtful and negative statement that was said to me and about me as if they were golden nuggets. I could recite them and did all day long, sometimes out loud.”
I did not know that technically I was affirming all of that negativity about myself.
Teachers, as I said, seemed to appear from everywhere and the teacher that taught me the truth of how affirmations really worked was the late Mohamed Ali who said, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
I had a deep conviction that I did not love myself. Actually, I was full of self-loathing. To turn that around I had to tell myself something different until I was convinced that what I was telling myself was true.
I came up with this mantra that has transformed my life. “I love myself; I love my life; I love my job.” But it started out as “I love myself.” The rest came later.
Mowing The Lawn, A Story.
My last bipolar implosion landed me almost on the street, but an old friend took pity on me and allowed me to live in his spare bedroom. In the bathroom, I pasted “I Love Myself” on the mirror. Although I read that statement out loud every morning and said it to myself often, I did not believe it.
One day I was mowing the lawn and as the gas mower was going, I would chant “I love myself.” I thought if the mower were running no one would hear me. But when I shut off the mower the neighbors shouted back; We love you too.”
Kind of embarrassing, but I will never forget the feeling I had. If I love myself others will live me too.” That feeling stuck and made me work even harder.
I recited, “I love myself” all day long, in my mind as my predominant thought and out loud as often as I could. Since most of the time on my job I worked alone I would say my mantra over and over out loud.
I lived with my friend for two years and over those two years my mantra of, “I love myself; I love my life; I love my job.” Not only came into being, but I came to believe every word of it and become firmly convinced that every word was truly how I felt about myself and my life.
Today I do love myself. I do love the life I am living, and I do love my job.
And what of my mantra. When things are quiet my mantra automatically starts to play in my head and it even set itself to music. So, my mantra plays over and over in my mind to the tune of Neil Youngs “Southern Man.” This is much better than the manure my mind used to automatically conjure up.
I am firmly convinced that if you do this as well you would transform your self-loathing to self love.
As we conclude this week’s blog post always remember our battle with bipolar disorder is with and in our minds. Our battle is with our illness not with other people, places, situations, or other external things. Our goal is to develop the self-discipline to take control of our emotions, minds, and lives.
The great inspirational speaker, Jim Rohn, said:” Work harder on yourself than anything else.”
I say,” Work hard on yourself and everything else falls into place like magic.”
Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.
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BLOG OF THE WEEK:
Many other people blog on bipolar and related subjects. Mental wellness is all about knowledge and learning about ourselves. The more informed we are the easier our struggles may be. Each week I attach a blog written by someone else that I found interesting that may inform you as well. This is another author’s work I am just attaching their blog for you. I hope you enjoy this week’s blog created by Sharilyn Gilmore