Gaslighting Yourself?

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Dear soft hearted loves,

If you grew up in an environment where you couldn’t feel or express yourself in a way that didn’t leave you ignored, neglected, teased, or hurt then you may still feel confused at times. You may talk yourself out of what’s coming up for you. My goal with this blog entry is to start the conversation around the importance of validating our own experience.

First, it may be helpful to acknowledge that gaslighting yourself was a way that helped you survive a toxic situation or challenging upbringing. For example, if you were able to tell yourself that papa’s outburst was because you didn’t do what he asked then you gave yourself control in an otherwise out of control situation. Essentially, reframing what happened may have allowed us to remain close enough to care givers who could provide us what we needed. Now, self-doubt, questioning, and outright gaslighting of ourselves may no longer serve us.

It is so helpful to be around folx who can model this validation. These folx do not have to agree with what we are saying, more so just conveying validation for our expressed emotions can be healing. When the shame, doubt, and gaslighting spirals, we can ground ourselves in breath and in our body in the moment. Easier said than done, I get it.

We can also affirm that we are who we are and we don’t have to compare to so and so’s reaction, or oh so cool demeanor. You can softly, lovingly affirm that you are enough. If you need specific affirmations around what’s coming up, this is the time to shower in rays of affirmation and any soothing touch/movement if that’s comfortable for you (a self-hug, rocking, or humming).

If we feel something that’s okay. It’s more than okay. There’s so much power in knowing what’s up with ourselves and expressing it if needed or even just simply noting it for ourselves. Imagine what it feels like when someone really hears us out. I feel relaxation in my body and love radiating in my chest when I’m heard and connected. Now, imagine what it feels like to hear yourself out.

Listen, it’s totally understandable that the inner critic comes up and we believe those old stories from time to time. It’s hard to be totally aware of these passing inner critic thoughts. For some, this is the default mode. I send us patience around this journey. Wishing you kind outer and inner models for lovingly validating and affirming yourself.

With kindness,

Dr. J

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