For Natasha, who is more beautiful and wonderful than she knows.

In June of 2015, two years after my mother had a massive stroke, I blacked out driving on the highway. It was then that I had my first real panic attack, although I have had anxiety my entire life. My life turned completely upside down from that moment, and I was at such a low point that I thought I would never be able to function like a normal adult again. It was over the next six months that I was in therapy once a week treated for severe anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a paralyzing fear of being behind the wheel of a car, or completely alone. I worked as hard as I could to get back on my feet by going to therapy, and learning that the fundamental belief I hold in my heart is a sad one: I am not enough.

For the last two years, I have been working on self-love, and I am constantly trying to destroy my innate belief that I am not good enough. I have read the words of some amazing authors such as Louise Hay, Gabrielle Bernstein, and Brené Brown, and I learned that rock bottom was actually a blessing for me because it gave me self-awareness.

Although I am not the best at self-love, I am getting better at self-awareness, and I have learned to be patient with myself when I choose to think negatively rather than use the skills I have learned to think positively. Thankfully, I can manage the anxiety and PTSD attacks through coping skills, and I know that I need to listen to myself, and trust myself. I will say what you’re probably thinking out loud: easier said than done!

Rock bottom is the foundation that I have been rebuilding my life, but in no way is it an easy ground to stand on. I constantly have set backs, bad days, and days where I cannot even find the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. For the last week, it’s been one of those days. This is why I forced myself out of bed today, drove myself to my happy place called Barnes & Noble, bought myself a cinnamon latte, and I am determined to get back in touch with self-love.

I decided to bring my trusty friends with me to help me write this: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein, and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. I am going to list out some of the helpful things from these books that I tend to forget when I get too busy and forget to take care of myself because guys, I need to get my ass in gear. No one can help me with self-love other than me. I would like to thank Louise Hay, Gabrielle Bernstein, and Brené Brown for helping me formulate my list below. All of this is from what I have learned from them. I would absolutely check out their books if you’re struggling with self-love too, because they truly saved me.

5 Things To Remember To Get My Ass Back In Gear:

  1. What you think is what you create. Thank you Louise Hay! According to Hay, every cell in our body responds to what we think and believe. If we believe that we are not good enough, the world is lonely, and bad things always happen, that is the reality we will create. We control our reality. So instead of talking negatively to ourselves, we need to start asking the universe for what we want, and trusting that we can make that happen for ourselves. Instead of thinking that we are not worthy of happiness, will never find a job we love, or any of those other negative comments we fill our heads with, think the opposite. You want to have a good day? Choose to.
  1. Trust yourself. You are always in control. You make the decisions in life, and you are the one who controls your future. Sure, there are things out of our control, but we can control how we handle them. No one is perfect, and we are all going to make mistakes, but we need to learn to trust that we can handle anything that comes our way. Tell yourself you are resilient, and refuse to give up. I suggest looking into the “Miracles Now” card deck from Gabrielle Bernstein, as “you can think your way out of fear” has helped me so much that I drive with the card in my car to help deflate panic attacks. You can think your way out of fear, and you can choose happiness.
  1. You are always enough. According to Brené Brown, “Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging. Right this minute.” I tend to forget this one a lot because I truly don’t feel that I am enough, do enough, am worthy enough, or deserving enough, even though I know I am doing the best I can. I need to keep reminding myself that I am enough, in this moment, and that I should love myself no matter what. I am human, as we all are, and we are going to make mistakes. Mistakes do not define our self-worth! We define our self-worth. No matter how small you feel, remember: you are enough. You have a purpose, and a soul, and you are meant for wonderful things.
  1. Stop wondering what others think. I am so guilty of this one, and it is a hard one to master. I certainly am struggling with it now. I look around and think to myself, “Does she like me? How am I coming off? Does she know I have good intentions? Does he not like what I just said? Does he want to be my friend? What if I am weirding he/she out?” This extremely negative self-talk is creating the energy of fear, and that is the energy I am putting out there! Guess what? If I keep thinking that he/she doesn’t like me, I am going to create that outcome because I am putting that energy out there. Stop caring what others think of you. Do your best, love yourself, and things will fall into place.
  1. Listen to your body. I am sure you’ve all heard of a “gut instinct” and a “bad feeling.” Well, that is our bodies trying to tell us something. Your body knows what you need before you do! In my case, I push myself so hard that I burn out. I run out of energy, and I can no longer take care of myself how I should be. Listen to yourself! If you need rest, a trip to see your family, time to read a good book, time for yoga, or time to run through your mantras, take it! If you do not take care of your physical, mental, and emotional needs, you will be drained. Take the time you need for yourself. Fit it into your schedule.

As I continue to heal myself and continue down my path to self-love, I welcome any and all support, and would love to share stories. Also, if you have any tips for me, or book suggestions, please let me know! My email is lauren.petrolle@gmail.com. I wish you all a happy road to self-love!

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