Self love, self like, self acceptance, self esteem, self appreciation, self confidence. They are all basically meaning the same thing which is an an attitude toward yourself and how you think and feel about yourself.
When you've been socialized to believe that you are the supporting role in life to everyone around you, it can be difficult to turn to self love. All you've been taught is to see yourself from an outside perspective - am I worthy in their eyes and if so then I can accept myself. Have I given of myself and served others enough today to find myself valuable and useful? If so, then I can like myself today.
Listen in as I teach you how you've been socialized to believe this and what it takes to decondition yourself from this thinking in order to step into more self love and acceptance.
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If you're going through a divorce or are divorced, odds are you've gone through something traumatic. It may show up in how you're constantly second guessing yourself. It may show up in how you feel triggered by even the smallest things. It may show up in never feeling secure in your emotions, always feeling like they are out of control. It may show up in your ability to believe that you're worthy, lovable or capable of living a life on your own. If any of these are resonant with you, then I invite you to schedule your free consult with me and we'll talk about what may be helpful to you to get you through the trauma and begin to heal. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.
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Full Episode Transcript:
I’m Karin Nelson and you’re listening to Becoming You Again episode number 103.
Welcome to becoming You Again. The podcast to help you with your mental and emotional wellbeing during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the trauma of your divorce by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so your life will be even better than when you were married. I’m your host Karin Nelson.
Welcome back, hello my friends, how are you doing? I’m so good. Things are well. I’ve been working on myself and healing myself just as I many of you are as well. And I am starting to recognize that layers are being uncovered and are being healed from and I am opening up space inside myself for those layers to be seen and heard and recognized and sometimes it is scary and sometimes it hurts and sometimes it is sad and sometimes it feels hard and sometimes I feel angry about it but overall after a work through all of those things and allow for all of those things I am noticing a difference in myself. I am noticing a sturdiness in myself and to strengthen myself that was kind of missing before and it is kind of wild to watch this growth within me and it feels, like I said, really good. I am excited about that.
I am also excited to be doing this podcast specifically this one, because I haven’t done a podcast on the topic of self love since the very beginning of the podcast, and the podcast just reached it’s one year anniversary the other day! Like I think two or three days ago. So first of all Yay. That’s so cool, right? But my last podcast where I talk specifically about learning to love yourself was in episode number 6. That was so long ago. When I first laid out my podcast episodes I recorded like the first six all at once, like one right after the other, all on the same day or maybe the same two days and then I just released them consecutively each week for the first six weeks so this was one of the very first podcast that I even recorded and now we are on episode number 103!! What?! Like first of all that is awesome. Can we just take a minute and let me celebrate how cool that is. But also I decided that maybe it was a good time to revisit this topic and give you kind of an updated version of self love and that is why I’m calling it self love 2.0. I like the title 2.0 because it feels like a progression. It feels like there is more information. It feels like it is up levels and I really like that. So let us talk about it.
There are many things that make up our ability to love ourselves, and listen you can call it whatever is resonant with you. I know for some self love doesn’t feel safe. It does not feel good. It feels very far away. It feels very out of reach. So please feel free to insert whatever set of words feels inspiring or good to you. Self like, self acceptance, self esteem, self appreciation, self-confidence. They are all revolve around the meaning the same thing which is basically it’s like this attitude toward yourself and how you think and feel about yourself.
But back to what I was saying that, there are many things that make up and create the attitude that we hold toward ourselves. It can be the family you were raised in, where you were raised, the religion you were raised in, the religious leaders who taught you or who you are around a lot. I know in my personal religion that I was raised in we had church every Sunday and then we also had like weekly midweek activities as youth. So light between the ages of 12 and 17 you would go to church on Sunday and meet with your religious leaders in your classes for a couple of hours that day and then during the week you would have liked a 1 to 2 hour activity night where you would either go learn something religious or go to a fun activity or something and you had specific leaders who you were with so that can also make up and create the attitude that you hold toward yourself. Other things that can go into this can be society in general, social media especially in today’s world but obviously this is nothing new because we have always had magazines. We’ve always had movies, television. I mean not always, but things have been around for a very, very long time. But there are so many other things. Culture. Neighbors. And so many things go into and morph around how we think and feel about ourselves. The attitude that we hold toward herself.
I just finished reading an incredible fiction book. It is called Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. First of all and just give a shout out to this book. It is so, so freaking good. If you have not read it I 100% think that every woman in this world today needs to read this book. But I digress. This book talks a lot about the socialization of women. The thing that is really amazing and I really love about fiction is even though it’s not true in the sense that the story is made up, it is still made up of facts. I think it was Cassandra Clare, she has another author, who said, “Fiction is true, even if it is not fact.” And in my opinion I think we learn things more easily and become aware of things like, socialization, patriarchy, sexism, injustice so many things in that arena when it is presented to us in a fictional situation. Again, that was a total different tangent that I wasn’t planning on going on, but let’s get back to the point, and the point is there are many things that make up our attitude about how we feel toward ourselves. About how we look at ourselves. About how we think about ourselves. And our self love and are self-confidence. And this is important to know because even if you had an amazingly incredible childhood with everything given to you. Your parents were loving and they were together the whole time and they loved you when they supported you when they let you be who you wanted to be in the taught you all of the most amazing things and they provided for you and they kept to say and all of the things, right, even if you had this what one could consider a perfect childhood you still can end up struggling with a negatively skewed attitude toward yourself leaving you feeling self loathing or self hatred because of so many of these outside influences that occur in every single one of our lives. And I think that is really important to know.
And I think that it is vastly underestimated how much socialization and our culture influences that part of us. And of course I’m speaking specifically of American culture mostly because that’s where I live. It’s is where I was raised. It is my lived experience. There is so much about socialization that plays into how we as women come to think of ourselves and see ourselves. And it is really important to understand this when it comes to learning to love yourself and I will tell you why in this podcast as we move through it.
In this Western American culture women are taught that their value comes from what other people think of them and how useful they are to others. There is a term for this and it was turned by, I believe Amelia and Emily Nagoski, in their book Burnout. I’m pretty sure they came up with this term. It could have come from somewhere else but from what I’m remembering about this amazing book that I also love, I believe they termed this ‘human giver syndrome’.
A coach of mine described it in this way which really made sense to me. Men, in general, are socialized to see themselves as the star of the show, the leading actor, if you will. They are a full person who is important and matters just because they exist. Whereas women are socialized to see themselves as the supporting actor, not the main actor, the supporting role. Their value doesn’t come from just automatically being important or existing but rather from being useful in some way.
A woman I was coaching recently was struggling with exactly this idea. She said she didn’t feel ‘needed’ and that she felt useless not being able to help her husband or being able to provide for him or serve him in some way where she was able to take care of his needs. And she was really struggling with this and she kept taking it to him and saying I really, I need to do something for you, let me help you in some way, how can I help you, what can I do for you? I feel useless when I don’t get to serve you in some way. And he was like it is fine. Everything is fine. You do not need to do anything. Just relax. We are fine. I am fine. It is all okay and he is trying to reassure her but because she had the socialization put upon her shoulders that she didn’t even ask for up like you are not worthy unless you are useful in some way, she is telling herself the story and feeling useless, feeling worthless because she felt like she could not serve him in some way and because of that she had no purpose. This can also shop in many other ways.
Women might find their usefulness in looking good, looking pretty. Being able to have sex. Making other people happy, keeping the house clean and making sure the kids are taken care of, etc, etc, etc. you fill in the bling for yourself. Right. Women are socialized to believe that their value comes from helping and giving to others, and this value is decided by all of those other people outside of us. Like in the case of my client, she had this belief that if her husband found her useful and needed then she could stop thinking of herself as useless, as worthless. But this shows up in so many other ways. Do other people find me attractive? Are other people find me valuable as an object, a subject or as a service in some way? And if other people think of me this way then I can believe that I’m worthy to exist.
I want to take just a minute and I really want to normalize thinking about it in this way for you. Because if you have been feeling this way and are beginning to see that you have been socialized to believe this about yourself I want to normalize it makes sense that you are struggling with loving yourself or struggling with appreciating yourself or struggling with finding your words or struggling with feeling like you are worth more than you have been told. It makes perfect sense that you would struggle with that because of the way you have been raised. Because of what you have been socialized around. So we are going to normalize it in that way. We are not going to normalize it in the way of life over this is just normal and you should get used to it. Like no. I am not saying we are normalizing it in that way. I am saying it is normal to struggle with your self-esteem, with your self-confidence, with yourself love because of all of this socialization. Okay.
And how does this show up in your thoughts? The most common way that it shows up is in thoughts of I’m not good enough, I’m not normal, I don’t fit in here, there’s something wrong with me, I’m doing it wrong, I never do it right, I’ve ruined everything. How many times have you thought one of those? How many times does it come up throughout your day? Think about that. My guess is very often for most of us, myself included.
These are ways that our brain is trying to cope with the idea that our worth is dependent on what other people think of us. We ask ourselves questions in kind of a round about way like, do other people find me attractive? Do other people want to have sex with me? Have I been taking care of my family/kids enough today to be allowed to exist or to feel good? We end up caring more about what others think of us than what we think of us. And this is truly where the struggle with learning to love yourself more, learning to accept yourself more, or have a greater self esteem comes in – because we don’t really know how to think about ourselves if we’re not basing it on what other people are thinking about us. This socialization creates a relationship with yourself where you don’t trust yourself. You don’t know how to be your own best friend You don’t know how to stand up for yourself. You don’t know how to set boundaries. You don’t know how to advocate for yourself or speak up, or take space, or have your own back in any way because you are looking to the outside to decide for you if it is okay for you to do that.
So what does this look like in terms of living your life? This looks like feeling guilty for resting or taking a break. This looks like feeling guilty for doing something that you enjoy. This looks like feeling guilty for getting sick. Yes, I said that. For getting sick. I know there are many women, I have seen this over and over with my clients with women who feel bad about getting sick and not being able to be there to take care of their family or keep the house clean or work or work or whatever it is. Right. Because they are sick. This looks like doing other’s people’s work for them. Doing your kids homework. Trying to make everybody feel happy and feel good even if it means that you feel crappy and shitty all the time. This looks like working really hard and getting paid less and not standing up for yourself. This looks like putting your own wants, your own needs, your own desires last, always. This looks like not speaking up for yourself, this looks like people pleasing, this looks like selling yourself short to get the outside approval. And let’s just, like can we just be real about this socialization for just one minute.
This socialization of women and what it is doing to us and how it is keeping us down and keeping us from feeling confident and loving ourselves and showing up as our best self is fucked up. Okay. It is 100% fucked up and it has been going on for far too long.
Don’t get me wrong here, things are slowly changing when it comes to this socialization and in treating women as less of the supporting actor, and more as a leading role, but we’re not there yet. And we can’t wait around for the world to change for us. We have to take action and make the changes in ourself, in order for the world to take notice and begin to change around us. Begin to change for us.
I love, love, you guys know I love Taylor Swift, right? I love, love, love some of the lyrics of Taylor Swift’s song Vigilante Shit when she says, “ladies always rise above, ladies know what people want, someone sweet and kind and fun. The lady simply had enough.” Oh man I could just sing it right now, I love it so much. But ladies you may decide that you’ve had enough and if that happens then stepping into a relationship of self love, of self acceptance, self like, self appreciation, self confidence whatever you want to call it, is here. It’s waiting for you.
How do we start with creating change for ourselves? We start by realizing this relationship with yourself has nothing to do with anyone else. It’s not a destination that we arrive at. There’s no perfect picture of what this looks like and then you just arrive there and now you’ve made it to self acceptance. Yay. Hurray. Like it’s not like that. It’s the relationship you have with yourself over time. Over your lifetime. From the moment you are born until you die. And it can look like so many different ways and you can start to create a different attitude and relationship with yourself in just the simplest way and it can look like starting to practice not so being judgmental of yourself. It can look like starting to picture what you would say to your best friend in a situation that she was struggling in and you say that to yourself instead of the same old bullshit that you usually say to yourself.
But here is what I really want you to know. The real true, most basic thing that will make the biggest impact when it comes to breaking down the socialization that you’ve endured and in learning to accept yourself, will be in accepting the idea that you are worthy, lovable, and valuable exactly as you are. It’s in accepting this idea that you are a main player, a leading actor or actress, whatever you want to call it. Whatever word you want to use.
You are allowed to exist without being useful to anyone else. You are allowed to exist without helping anyone else. You are allowed to exist without giving of yourself first, without accomplishing anything in particular, without giving birth and having kids, or anything else. Accepting this idea doesn’t mean that you may not choose to or want to do any of those things, but here is the key. Your worth cannot and does not depend on it. Your worth is inherent. And if this idea feels uncomfortable to you, I want you to just sit with the idea and see if you can start to warm to this concept.
You can think about it this way. This is another thing that one of my coaches talks about when it comes to worth and again I really like it. It is kind of worth being this idea, it is a human construct. It is something we have made up, right. It doesn’t come from something. It is an idea that we have as humans and you can think about it in this way of like everybody has it or nobody has it but either way you get to decide and so it is much more fun to decide that everyone has it been if nobody has it. I believe, and it helps me to create a better relationship with myself when I believe that everyone has worth and it is with them the moment they are born and it is always 100%. And when you can wrap your head around that idea, if that idea is resonant with you in any way, I promise you that that is the key to being able to create a better more loving, more confident, more self accepting relationship with you.
Once you can begin to accept this concept, then you can start to focus more on the thoughts you think about yourself and the way you talk to yourself. You can start to be more self compassionate, and kind and loving to yourself. And this look like even just starting with respecting yourself more. This may look like figuring out what you would say to your best friend and then tell yourself those things. This can look like how I started when I was learning to love myself which was telling myself five things that I loved, liked and appreciated about myself everyday. This can look like making a list of 100 things that you love about you and building out that list everyday. Writing down one thing every day or once a week or whatever it is. Right. This can look like so many different ways to start building that relationship with you. Strengthening that relationship with you.
Listen, you can go through this life constantly being mean to yourself, judging and critiquing everything you do and then waiting for and hoping someone on the outside to see you as you so desperately want to be seen and accept you for who you are. Or you can go through this life with a best friend in yourself, speaking kindly and encouraging yourself. Loving yourself and showing up for you and having your own back in every situation, whatever that looks like. You may not get to choose who raised you, or where you grew up, or what has been ingrained in you from socialization but you always get to choose how you want to think about yourself and treat yourself.
You are allowed to exist just because. You are worthy just by being born. You are valuable just because you are here. Open yourself up to believing that in accepting that and then do the work to create an attitude of love and acceptance for yourself.
Alright my friends. That is what I have for you today. Thank you so much for being here. I will talk to you next week.
If you like what you’re learning on the podcast and you’re ready to create lasting change and results in your life then you need to be working 1:1 with Karin as your divorce coach. This is where we take everything you’re learning in the podcast and 10x it with implementation and weekly coaching where you start to see change in yourself and your life immediately. To find out more about how work exclusively with Karin go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com . That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
Thanks for listening. If this podcast episode agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give it a rating wherever you listen to podcasts. And for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married, make sure to check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.