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My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Monday, April 7

Self Care

Almost a year ago, I wrote about the struggles I've had with hate and how I found some relief from it. I got an interesting comment on it and wanted to share it and reflect on what I've experienced and learned in the last year since I wrote about it.

One thing that I noticed in rereading the old post is that I didn't completely write out all my thoughts on the issue. I stopped a bit short although it's possible that a reader could have guessed at what I intended to say.

As it happens, the thing I meant to include is relevant to the comment. The thing I realized is that although it's nice if one can achieve some sort of peace by interacting with someone - getting understanding or acknowledgment from them, the real person I needed acceptance from was ... ME.

To someone who already feels this sort of inner peace/acceptance, it may seem trivial or obvious, but to me, it wasn't. It was the feeling of self-doubt - of feeling that I deserved bad treatment - that was at the root of hatred.

I should add that there are probably other things, other feelings that contribute to hatred, but, for me, those were less of an issue. I mostly try to think of people as doing the 'best' they can and as hurting others without meaning to or because they don't know of a truly better way to interact. I may want to keep my distance - to avoid being harmed - but I believe those can be healthy feelings.

I think of hatred as something where you want so see someone HURT, you want revenge, you aren't really thinking or having feelings about what's best for you... or them.

Although other people can certainly "hurt" me, they can't "make" me hate them and, generally, whatever they can do to me (emotionally) isn't nearly as powerful as what _I_ can do. In other words, the point of the old post wasn't whether I'd be loved or accepted by others. It was about my own feelings towards myself being the biggest stumbling block. I had long suspected it but had never found a good way to "convince" myself that I was "worth" treating better.

That said, there is another aspect to the comment that I'm not sure how to address. I think people really do need each other, or at least, they thrive from the care of others and wither without it. What do you do if you have no one around who really cares to help you? To nurture you?

I don't really know the answer to this, but my best guess would be: give it to yourself first. Nurture yourself. There's a book I read some months back that talks about this in more detail -
The Journey From Abandonment to Healing.

I have one other suggestion. I'm afraid I'm going to mangle it a bit because I read it long ago and am not sure where to find it again. It was what to do when one is feeling stuck. It was to make a change - a big one. And I'd add, if that doesn't work, maybe it wasn't a big enough change. I don't know that it matters what change so much because I think change gives one an opportunity to create new patterns of behavior, new paths.

Anonymous said...

Great advice. I'm not sure I found the answer to how to stop hating. I do know you are very correct about wanting human interactions, wanting to be loved and have someone care for you. ....but feeling like this is out of reach.

This comment came at an interesting time - where I'm stuck feeling something like anger and pain and maybe a bit of hate but it's a different person and an entirely different situation. It was good to be reminded of my own advice.


Anonymous said...
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Becky said...

I was assuming an adult when I was thinking about self-nurturing although I think a child could learn it too. Adults have more access to resources and frequently have more knowledge about how to get more knowledge.

No doubt that it helps to have a wise person in one's life to help one learn and to point out what one isn't even aware of needing to know.

However, fortunately, knowledge is something that can be gained - especially in the US and other industrialized countries - via the internet. There are literally hundreds of millions of people out there offering their ideas - some good some bad. It takes some work to figure out which is which, but it's there.