I knew nothing about healing myself until I took a leap of faith and began to try different things.
Some things worked and some things didn’t but as the journey progressed, I realized that my life was changing all because I had decided to take intentional steps.
I am not a professional therapist.
I am not a professional counselor.
I am just a girl who worked on herself for over a year to finally be able to look at her reflection and smile back at it.
THE FIRST STEP OF THE JOURNEY
Back in 2014, self-love wasn’t a big movement like it is today. We were still fighting with showing off our perfect lives and thinking that if we couldn’t do it all, we were somehow failing.
I had myself fooled for a long time. Thinking that I could do it all. Thinking that I was always going to feel like I was never good enough. Questioning every piece of my life and wondering if I had made the right decisions and even as far as wondering if my husband really loved me.
The self-hatred that I had was incredible BUT I wouldn’t let anyone know that. I carried on with my life as if it was picture perfect.
I had the perfect family.
I had the perfect husband.
I had the perfect marriage.
I had the perfect life.
I played the part well. No one really knew what was going on in my life. I had my own blinders on thinking that if I just ignored all of the bad feelings, they would go away.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
I loved my life.
I loved my husband.
I loved my kids.
I just didn’t love myself.
And that affected EVERYTHING else in my life even when I pretended that it didn’t.
Stepping into the unknown is a scary place to be. I had been safe for over 11 years in my self-hatred ways. There was nothing that anyone could say to me that I had already said to myself and let me tell you, there were people in my life saying mean and very hurtful things.
I pretended to not let it bother me. I was great at pretending. Secretly I would say, “yeah, I know” in my head after something mean and critical was said. As if they thought that they were the only ones saying it. Like somehow that made them special.
I had no idea how I was supposed to feel. I knew how I wanted to feel but I never knew how to get there and if how I wanted to feel was REALLY how I wanted to feel.
To get to where you want to be, you NEED to love where you CURRENTLY are. Samantha Laycock
My healing journey didn’t stop after that year. It has continued every day since I started in 2014. There are days that are better than some. There are moments when darkness still takes over and I am thrown back into the moments of despair that I know so well. I had to learn how to love the after version.
But the key difference is that now I have a plan in place. I have the strategies that work to help me work through the darkness. I have the tools in place to be able to give myself space and grace when I need it. That’s what I want to share with you today.
7 HEALING TECHNIQUES THAT WILL HELP YOU HEAL ON A DEEPER LEVEL
Self-love can feel like a fairytale that is impossible. It can feel as if you will never get there. I felt that way. I didn’t think there would be a day when I would look in the mirror and love who I saw. The hatred of what I looked like led to the hatred of everything else about myself. I measured myself by comparing myself to others including friends, family, and complete strangers. Never living up to the comparison.
In a blog post that I wrote on my other website, I talk about the three different phases of healing. These techniques that I share will help you get through these different phases.
HEALING TECHNIQUE #1: GET NAKED AND LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR
You may be dreading doing this because I know that I was. However, this is still something that I do every time I have a shower. It has made such an impact on how I see my body that this practice reminds me of all that my beautiful body can do.
I won’t lie. It is going to be difficult to begin but you must begin. If you are reading this blog post, you are ready to take this step. I am here with you every step of the way.
Doing this before having a shower is a great way to make it a habit. You are already getting naked so spending an extra 3-5 minutes looking at yourself will ensure that this first technique can easily be added into your life.
Don’t worry if you can’t do this for a long time. I didn’t even make it to a minute the first time that I did it. Stick with it and continue to show up for yourself.
Once you can look at yourself for about five minutes, it is time to take it up a notch. This is where you pick a body part that you struggle with and list reasons why you love it.
For example, mine looked like this when I chose my stomach…
I was able to get pregnant easily.
I had 3 healthy babies.
I have so many years of memories with those babies who are not babies anymore.
3 humans call me mom.
The list doesn’t have to be huge or complicated but think about why that body part is a good thing. What has it helped you to do so far in your life?
HEALING TECHNIQUE #2: START TO JOURNAL
Journaling isn’t just for your teenage self. It is a tool that can be used to help you move through some hard things. This is why I blog. There are things that just come out during the writing process that I didn’t even realize I felt.
Journaling is a great way to express yourself without having to share it with everyone else. Plus in 6 months or 5 years from now, you can look back and see how much progress you have made.
If you don’t know what to journal about, grab some journal prompts. This can be a great way to get started with journaling. It will help you get out of your head.
HEALING TECHNIQUE #3: WRITE A FORGIVENESS LETTER TO YOURSELF
You may be wondering what you need to forgive yourself for but here is a list of examples of things that I needed to forgive myself for.
Thinking that my sexual assault was my fault
For believing that I could have changed what was going to happen
For believing that how I dealt with my sexual assault was wrong
For believing that no one would have helped me and so I kept it a secret
For letting others say awful things to and about me without doing anything about it
I am sure my list could be ten times longer but those are just a few of the things that I have had to forgive myself for over the years. Writing myself a forgiveness letter meant that I could say exactly what needed to come out.
HEALING TECHNIQUE #4: CREATE A SELF-CARE TOOLKIT
For a long time, I believed that in order to heal I just needed to go to therapy. I just needed to talk to a professional and I would magically be healed. BUT that isn’t how healing works.
In order to heal, you need multiple things throughout the process. Yes, I believe in therapy and I think that it can do many wonderful things but I also know that it can’t be the only thing.
I needed to create a toolkit that would help me when I didn’t have therapy. This is going to be different for everyone. I have a kit in my closet that I can just grab out. Inside of it is…
A book to read
A journal to write in
My favourite lotion
These are the things that I can easily grab and use when I feel the darkness coming in or even when I just need a moment to myself. Find the things that are going to help you and create your own toolkit.
HEALING TECHNIQUE #5: START MEDITATING
I never thought I would crave meditation. I had never meditated before and always laughed when others recommended it. I had this image in my head of a perfect yogi and I didn’t fit that image and so for a long time, I fought the idea of meditating.
You may think that meditation is for you but there are so many benefits to meditation. I have found that in the mornings, I do best by starting my day with a guided meditation. These change from day to day depending on my mood. I use either Insight Timer or I use YouTube.
In the evenings before bed, I will do a silent meditation. Sometimes I find that it helps if I have a pen and notebook with me because ideas will come to me. Having a notebook and pen helps me just jot things down as they come.
Be open to trying something new. Start with a guided meditation and see if you like it. Start with just a minute of silent meditation and build from there.
HEALING TECHNIQUE #6: CREATE INTENTIONAL MOVEMENT THAT FEELS GOOD
I HATE working out hard. It brings me zero enjoyment. However, moving my body in intentional ways makes me feel good about what my body can do. This is going to be different for everyone but here are a few things that I have done in the past.
Yoga. I absolutely LOVE doing yoga. There are days that I just don’t want to do it and don’t force myself but I know that when I do it, I just feel better. I am more creative and I feel like I am in flow.
Pilates. This is one of my favourite ways to get intentional movement in. It isn’t hard on my body and it makes me feel like I can take on the world when I am done.
Walking. I am lucky (and unlucky) to live in a community that has beautiful scenery and many, many hills. When I am out walking, I can just clear my head or I can turn on a podcast and listen to it. I love the silence when walking because I get what I call, my Walking Wisdom. This is when ideas come to me so I need to have my phone notepad open. I have a note dedicated to my Walking Wisdom.
HEALING TECHNIQUE #7: EMBRACE THE EMOTIONS
Ooooh, no one wants to do this. Embrace the emotions that are making us feel miserable, incomplete, and unworthy?!?! Is pretending they don’t exist working for you currently?
I didn’t think so.
This doesn’t begin by embracing your emotions. It begins by noticing, accepting, and welcoming the emotions that you are feeling. There is no right or wrong way to feel. When you can notice the emotions that you are feeling, you can begin to name them.
By noticing your emotions, you are giving yourself permission to feel them and accept them and begin to listen to them. I break down the 11 stages of thriving in your emotions. These are the stages that I found I went through on my way to embracing them.
It was a constant rollercoaster of emotions and one that would catch me off guard. I would think that I understand something and then another trigger would come in.
Your emotions make you who you are. They give you insight every day into how you are moving forward and where you are stuck. When we begin to accept these and embrace them, we can begin to move forward in ways that we didn’t think were possible.
Healing is beautiful but not in ways that you are expecting it to be. When you are in the middle of it, it feels ugly and desolate. It feels isolating and like nothing is ever going to change. I am here to tell you that means you are doing it right. It means that you are taking the time and spending the energy you need to make sure that you heal on the deepest level possible.
There is no destination when it comes to healing. It is a lifelong journey that will have its ups and downs and continue to challenge you and make you question everything you thought you figured out.
Your story is beautiful even with the messy and broken pieces. Those are the pieces that help shape you into the beautiful human that you are becoming. If you are ready to take a step to start your own blog to share your story, let me help you. Let me show you how to change the world by being your authentic self. Someone out there needs to hear your story.