“I started my journey with writing in 2019, to have my voice heard and to help those who need it more than I do. I was not in the best place mentally at that point. I was going through a LOT. Most of what I was going through, was myself creating my own anxieties. I was dealing with relationship problems. I was hating where I was living. I kept myself busy constantly to ignore my problems. I was doing a lot to make my anxieties go away, which is good, right?
The ways I was dealing with my pile of anxieties were extremely unhealthy. Avoidance, anger, resentment, drinking, excessive exercise, panic attacks, horrible eating habits, crying, even considering self-harm at times. I finally sought therapy, not because I wanted to make the anxiety go away necessarily, not to help myself… but because I wanted to be a better person for the guy I was in a relationship with. To help HIM, because he wouldn’t take these steps.
Therapy helped me — more than anything else I’ve ever done — begin to understand what gratitude really means. I’ve known the word, but I was never really applying it to my own life. Most of my life thus far has been spent living through the approval of others. After my first therapy session, I’ll never forget my therapist telling me, ‘Now, that was a great session. But next time, can we focus on YOU? Isn’t that why we’re here?’
I spent the ENTIRE hour talking about my relationship. Talking about what HE was going through… as if I even had a clue how he was feeling. I spent ZERO time talking about myself. And my therapist went along with it. Bless her heart.
Prioritizing myself was impossible when I started therapy, because I just had THAT much hate for myself. THAT much anxiety. THAT much inability to be thankful for the healthy, beautiful, potential-filled life I had in front of me. I just constantly told myself I didn’t deserve it. I degraded myself SO much it blows my mind that was even the person I used to be.
As I kept going to therapy, I kept getting the message my voice was valid. My therapist refused to let me believe differently. This realization was difficult for me to engrain into my head. Most therapy sessions were accompanied by tears, anger, and unsettling sickness to my stomach. HOW did I let myself get like this? WHY does such a nice person, like myself, have THIS feeling towards herself? I just built myself a sob story for the longest time.
But, news flash! NOBODY wants to hear your sob stories. People will NOT feel sorry for you if you CHOOSE to beat yourself up. Degrade yourself. Talk yourself down. Say it again. Emphasis on the word YOU this time.
People will NOT feel sorry for you, if YOU choose to beat yourself up. Degrade yourself. Talk yourself down.
See what I mean? You are not the only person who does this to themselves. We don’t all need to hear about your sob stories if you aren’t making an effort to fix them.
Those feelings you choose to think about yourself are your choices. Sure, people may not help you feel any differently. People may treat you a certain way that led you to think that way. But, think about it. Are the people around you putting the thoughts in your head? Or are YOU telling your brain to think that way?
Going back to the word gratitude. Therapy taught me in order to truly experience gratitude in life, you have to CHOOSE to allow yourself to experience it. YOU have to choose to allow yourself to experience it. The life you live… the thoughts you have… that’s on YOU. Nobody else. YOU.
That hate you have towards yourself? That’s on you. The harm you directly cause yourself? That’s on you. The anxiety you feel on a constant basis? That’s on you. Harsh, I know. But it’s 100% the truth. Granted, there are more extreme exceptions to this (such as physically abusive relationships). But, for the most part, if you are feeling trapped in any way, that’s on YOU.
After lots of self-help, I firmly believe I understand the word gratitude now. Gratitude is more than just being thankful. Gratitude is more than a feeling. If you are going to live a life filled with gratitude, your actions must accompany your feelings. Gratitude also applies to more than just other people. You can feel grateful, thankful, immense GRATITUDE towards other people being in your life, sure. But, do you feel any gratitude towards yourself?
My life has changed DRASTICALLY since I started writing my blog. The amount of gratitude I have, both towards the people in my life AND myself, has changed, SO MUCH. Sometimes I have those bad days where I beat myself up and feel hatred towards myself. We ALL do. We’re human. But it’s not every day like it used to be. It’s very seldom. Having greater gratitude towards myself has allowed me to express even MORE gratitude towards the people in my life.
I am happy. I love the person I am. I love the people in my circle. The amount of gratitude I feel toward my ability to make much-needed changes for myself is uncanny. Allowing yourself more ability to be thankful, grateful, appreciative, not only towards others, but towards yourself… THAT’S true gratitude. Explore gratitude. Allow yourself to absorb the meaning of gratitude, and start applying it. You’ll notice a WORLD of difference. Trust me.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jenni Rathsack. It originally appeared on her blog. You can follow Jenni on Facebook and Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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