There are those words. Hurtful words. "Unstable." "Weak." "Crazy." Anyone that has been called these knows what kind of pain accompanies these words.
Anyone that has been called these knows the kind of pain that accompanies these words.
But what are you really? It’s never okay for someone to call you these names. Ever. Even if your actions are erratic. Those actions don’t define you. We all go through periods in which we might do things that aren’t characteristic of us. Maybe because it’s a more stressful time in our lives. Maybe you haven’t gotten as much sleep as you usually do. Maybe because you’re dealing with a lot all at once.
We might not always handle things the way we’d like to all the time.
This doesn’t mean that we abandon all responsibility, but that we take responsibility for what we did, we learn from it, and we forgive ourselves.
When you hear these hurtful words, what’s your immediate reaction?
If you’re angry, let yourself be angry. If you’re hurt, allow yourself to feel it. Ask yourself what you need. Acknowledge what you’re feeling and press the pause button. When we push away our feelings, they end up arising at a later time. But if we let ourselves feel what we’re feeling, we can feel it and then ask ourselves what we can do about it; we can prevent ourselves from reacting.
The reason that I don’t use the word “overreacting” ...
...is that that word is filled with judgment--overreacting according to what is “expected”, overreacting in terms of how we’re “supposed” to react.
Remind yourself of who you are.
Write a list of qualities that you do have. Write a list of things that are meaningful to you. Now soak it in.
Sit in silence and repeat one of these phrases...
“What was said was hurtful. I am doing _________________ to take care of myself right now.”
"Oh, that was harsh. I am taking care of myself by ___________________________."
"I need to feel safe. What can I do to make myself feel grounded?"
The reason that these phrases or versions of these can be helpful is that they're acknowledging what took place and the wording suggests that we are “doing” something proactive to take care of ourselves. We’re placing ourselves in an empowered place.
Here’s a list of things you can do if you’ve had a long day:
Take a bath.
Get one of your favorite candies (if this is a trigger, skip this item)
Take a five-minute walk.
Call a friend.
Make some tea.
Color a mandala.
Fill a sheet of paper with smiley faces.
Write a friend a letter and send it.
Make a list of places that you’d love to visit.
Write down a list of role models you admire and why.
So what do you do to take care of yourself?