Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Be Kind to Yourself

This past week I have been reminded of the importance of taking care of yourself. Looking at painful memories takes energy and courage. It is stressful work. The results are worthwhile but the process takes effort.

When I am helping someone else with their recovery process, I urge them to be gentle with themselves. We all need that reminder.

Abuse conditions us to being stressed as a chronic condition. Abusers urge us to take care of them to excess, and to discount and ignore our own needs. We are well-trained to consider any self-care as "selfish."

Nurturing ourselves is not selfish however--it is essential to healing and it is foundational to modeling a healthier way for our children (or others who may be impacted).

So how do we go about it? How do we treat ourselves with love and respect?

I am still in a state of figuring this out. Here are a few things that have worked for me thus far:
  • Reminding myself that if I want my children to be healthy in their self-care, the most effective way to have a positive impact is to let them see me taking care of myself. When my child sees me resting after I acknowledge that I am tired, then my child learns that it is okay to rest when you are tired.
  • Asking myself what I would want my friend to do for herself/himself in a similar situation, and then doing it for myself.
  • Exercising regularly to keep my emotions more stable and positive.
  • Journaling frequently to stay in touch with myself.
  • Telling myself the same positive thoughts that I tell others. Reassuring myself that I am involved in a process that takes time.
  • Watching for opportunities to acknowledge to myself what I am doing well.
  • Praying to ask God to teach me to take better care of myself. Taking care of myself is a way to be a good steward and to increase my usefulness in service to God.
  • Sitting outdoors and/or putting flowers in a vase to remind me of the beauty God has created. Remembering the beauty energizes me to care more what I do with His temple.
If you have some ideas on how to be kind and nurturing with yourself, I'd love to hear from you via a post or email.

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Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft