Feeling generally terrible about myself has been a real hurdle in healing from my divorce. For me, every crappy feeling is rooted in a lie of some sort. My strategy in facing the crap is to identify the lie and replace it with truth.
Lies circulate like a nauseating merry-go-round: “you’re ugly,” “you’ll never be happy again,” “you deserved it,” “you weren’t good enough for him.” As these lies would spin faster and faster in my head and depression would draw me further and further away from the truth of who I am. I would then feel crappy about myself.
Due to the pervasive nature of these lies over the past year, I have a heightened awareness of when they are about to strike. Awareness allows me to (hopefully) counteract their deceptive and destructive power before they crap on my whole day.
This protocol was birthed out of a felt need to create some practical tools for myself in the midst of crappy days.
STEP ONE: Recognize the crappy feeling.
For example: I realize that I feel cranky, depressed and anxious.
STEP TWO: Trace back my activity to before the crappy feeling started, and write it down.
When I first recognize I am feeling crappy, I think about what I have done already during the day. What stands out as a stressful interaction or situation? For example: At the gym this morning, I worked out next to a girl who was super fit, beautiful and was lifting way more than me.
STEP THREE: Identify the lie that came from that situation.
At some point during, or shortly after the situation, I believe a lie about myself. There is a difference between a lie and a growth area. Points of weaknesses can be worked on, but lies attack my identity (I plan to write more about distinguishing lies and growth areas in a later post). I want to get to the root of the lie. For example: I recognize that the cranky and depressed feelings I am experiencing are based in feelings of inadequacy that began at the gym. I am saying to myself, “I am inadequate in comparison to others. I am unattractive, unwanted and unlovable.”
STEP FOUR: Admit and confess that these are lies.
I must acknowledge that these are lies and that they are harmful to my well-being – not to mention my daily mood!
STEP FIVE: Voice my ultimate identity over the lies.
I recite 1 Peter 2:9 over myself. “But Ellie, you are not like that, for you are a chosen person. You are a royal priest, a holy nation, God’s very own possession…”
STEP SIX: Remind myself of things I can do well.
I acknowledge to myself the gifts, talents and strengths that I already have. Here’s a hint, as much as you may want to, don’t be sarcastic. For example: I actually went to the gym today! By exercising regularly, I’m taking steps to become a stronger person physically, mentally and emotionally. And remember how I learned how to juggle like super fast?
STEP SEVEN: Forgive myself for the negative experience.
I want to treat myself with respect. I realize that I brought those negative and crappy feelings on myself by entertaining the lies that I am inadequate. But I choose to forgive myself for that. Next time, I’ll try to be kinder to myself.
Going through this process isn’t a quick fix, but it is helping me create lasting change in my thought life. I believe in full and even instantaneous healing for long-term insecurities because I know my God can do anything! While I’m waiting for that to happen in my own life, I will face the dizzying lies with the truth and grace of God.
What are your strategies for counteracting not only bad days, but pervasive lies that attack your identity? I’d love to hear your anti-feeling-crappy-about-yourself-protocols!