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“The only approval you need is your own.” ~~Amanda Gorman
“What do you mean I have to wait for someone’s approval? I’m someone. I approve. So, I give myself permission to move forward with my full support!” ~~Richelle E. Goodrich
“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~~Louise Hay
#5 I am what I think.
I am a capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman.
Beginning early in life, seeking approval from outside of my self was a path that easily led towards manipulation, imbalance, and low self-esteem. Not fitting in, disapproving, never enough, hopeless; these were just some of the ever-present thoughts before sobriety and my New Life. Living life on a track of self-denial and discouragement was the result of alcohol use and increasing isolation. Once condemning thoughts took over, life felt increasingly bleak, uneasy, and depressing yet Statement #5 in action helped to change course and move into empowering directions.
Becoming aware of thoughts enables the ability to shift lanes in thinking. Initially, it felt overwhelming to decipher what I was saying internally. It was like walking into a room where hundreds of people were shouting all at once. Yet by reciting the Statements (out loud helps me the most) each day, quieting down thoughts became easier. This gave me a calmer lane to steer thoughts. This daily practice continues to keep thought awareness in the forefront so they may be channeled and challenged.
Knowing my own thoughts enables approval of them. I can ask myself “Does this thought take me closer or further away from sobriety (or a goal)?” This has prevented relapse many times. A meditation practice also keeps thoughts from becoming overwhelming and can offer pause. Even just five minutes a day can assist in thought management. Here are a few helpful techniques to aid in practicing Statement #5:
- Opposite thinking: Angry thoughts? Shift thoughts towards something that has brought you joy. Writing it down focuses the mind even more.
- Imaging: Distressing thoughts? Imagine being in a place of comfort. Fully describe in your mind what this place is like. Is it a beach? What does the sky look like? What do the waves sound like? Fully embrace this place.
- Get moving: Being physical can offset thoughts. One time I grabbed a broom and started sweeping when fearful thoughts were overtaking my mind. Almost immediately my thoughts were focused on the floor instead of the imagined fears.
- Snap it out: Wear a rubber band on your wrist and whenever unruly thoughts enter, snap the band. It is a physical sensation to stop unwanted or unhealthy thoughts.
What assists you in practicing Statement #5?
Good Morning 4C Women,
I love the quotes that Karen shared with us. Each is a fabulous way to start the day along with reading the 13 Statements. Like Karen, there was a time when speaking anything but negative self-talk seemed an impossible task. What I said to myself in the mirror each morning was anything but positive. It is, as Karen says, the action process of each Statement that begins to change our thoughts and our actions.
For Statement #5, it is critical to see ourselves as 4C women, one thought, one image change at a time. I have heard over the years that it feels conceited or selfish to love yourself. That is certainly a challenging battle to overcome yet, just like sobriety and recovery might have seemed impossible, learning to love yourself is doable. It, in fact, is critical to your well-being.
Have you ever made a list of what you love about yourself today and how you currently practice self-care, self-love? If you are struggling with listing what you love about yourself, think of those closest to you that you love. Do you see a pattern of qualities that you love about them? Can you attribute those qualities to yourself and learn to love and accept yourself in the same way?
Making a self-love list is a good start to sorting out the truth of today and dismissing/releasing the negative messages of yesterday that are no longer supporting your well-being, your sobriety. In fact, many of those old, invalid messages are from people who were themselves unhealed, creating fear within you of being abandoned, unworthy and unlovable. If it wasn’t for the 4Cs, I am not sure if I would even have known where to start. Yet, I began to believe that I was compassionate and caring. Believing I was competent and capable took a bit longer. But that is the beauty of emotional growth – it is a process and we do this individually and with purpose
Questions to consider that I found in my huge mound of papers. Not sure from when or where yet I believe they are questions to get you started or continuing on your 4C journey/path to self-love, self-caring:
What do you need to be more at peace with yourself, living from a place of love instead of fear? (i.e., forgiveness, setting boundaries)
What am I holding onto that isn’t serving me anymore?
What fulfills you? Not sure, think of how you spend your time and is it fulfilling you? How can you incorporate the things that fulfill you into your life more?
What is your truth (or essence) when everything else is stripped away? This is who you believe you are, not anyone else’s definition of you, especially the negative messages from the past.
What do you do to make yourself feel better? This is really important when you are feeling down and getting stuck in negative energy.
How could you love yourself enough to … forgive yourself, nourish yourself, move your body, feed your soul, live in the moment? In other words, start loving yourself enough to take care of yourself the way you deserve.
Answering these questions and using the techniques Karen shared will be helpful in the process of catching our negative thoughts and having a way to turn them around quickly with positive self-talk and self-love as the result.
Bonded in strengthening our self-love to know that we are 4C woman today and every day, Dee