First published on Linked in on 11.03.2020
When I was a teenager, I used to hate my body so much that I tried to either change it or hide it; but nothing ever seemed to make me feel better about myself. I fully believed that having a “perfect” body would make everyone love me and my life would be amazing. Yes, I was walking around with these tinted glasses on, and what they did to me was far worse than making me bump myself on things around me. These glasses made me dismiss true moments of connection with people who saw and liked the real me. They destroyed relationships that were desperately trying to open my eyes to the things that I didn’t want to see in myself. I was unaware of my self-destruction patterns, and this continued into my twenties and my early thirties.
I began my counselling training in my mid-thirties, and it was only then that things started to shift. My tinted glasses began to slowly crack, letting in a different light that felt quite uncomfortable at first. This light managed to cut through my veil of denial. I became aware of a part of me that was telling me all these negative things about myself. The negative narrative has been with me for years without me being aware of it; now it was staring me right in the face, and I couldn’t pretend that it was not there anymore.
I was living in a distorted reality, where I felt that I was not good enough, not pretty enough, unlovable and weird. This constant internal criticism left me feeling drained and insecure.
The people I met during my training challenged my beliefs and perspective on identity, beauty and life, in general, every single day. It took a lot of inner work in the training weekends, personal therapy and on my own. At times, I wanted to give up. Other times, I dived right into it, because I did enjoyed my process of self-discovery.
Then, one day I realised that the usual monologue of my negative narrative somehow turned into a dialogue. There was now another part that was cheering me on every time the critical part was putting me down. This positive part was weak at first, but it became stronger in time, and it helped me see myself differently. I started to like the person looking back at me in the mirror, and with every day that passed, I fell more and more in love with her quirks.
I began to see the inside and outside worlds differently. See, I grew up with the idea that Hell and Heaven are places where we go to after we die; now I believe that both of them are actually inside me. My critical part was my Hell, and my supportive part was my Heaven. When I was in my Hell I felt put down, defeated and that there was no way out of the pain and shame. When I was in my Heaven, I felt loved and accepted.
I believe that in my Hell, I connect with my pain and the missing pieces of myself that went into hiding a long time ago. In my Heaven, I find the support I need to accept myself and go on because I connect to my inner guidance and unconditional love.
So, if you feel that you are in a similar dark place at times, have compassion for yourself; keep in mind that maybe the way you see yourself at the moment is a distorted reality. Begin to notice the negative narrative in your mind and how it affects your life. If you need help throughout your journey, reach out to qualified organisations and people who can offer you mental support and guidance in exploring your inner Hell. It’s not an easy journey, but I believe it’s worth embarking on; it’s in this dark place that some valuable parts of ourselves are hiding. These parts are waiting for us to get to know them, accept them and bring them out into the light; into our Heaven.
I wish you a safe and enjoyable journey, sending you light and love.