I am really focusing on my self-esteem now as it will be the only way for me to truly recover. Only when I love and trust myself will I be able to attract a partner who I also love and trust.
There are often situations where I feel hurt/abandoned/triggered and I need to find a way to self-soothe without trying to numb the pain with alcohol, sex or bottom-line behaviour. I have found a good technique and I want to put it on the board so it can hopefully help someone and so I can have access to it on the run.
When you're feeling bad there are two points - point A (the situation) and point B (feeling better). This technique helps you navigate from point A to point B.
Think about or write down the following
Point A) What negative thing happened? What negative thoughts did it cause me to think? How did it make me feel?
Point B) What did this experience cause me to know that I want? What did this experience cause me to know that I want to think and feel?
Getting from A to B 1. Express any negative feelings that you have (express anger/sadness) - release 2. Express a thought that causes you to feel relief 2. Express more thoughts that cause you to feel relief until you get to point B
Try not to think statement thoughts like "I am beautiful and loved by all" if you don't really feel like that.
I am going to try doing this exercise with a common experience for me. I have a big work event on Saturday and I feel that this will happen again so I want to have the technique in place already without needing to turn to alcohol.
Point A What negative thing happened? Going out somewhere with a lot of people and not getting attention from men or feeling left out. My usual reaction would be to get drunk until I don't really remember or feel better.
What negative thoughts did it cause me to think? I have no real friends and everybody hates me. I am ugly or unattractive and this is why I am still single. The guys that I like never like me back. The girl who the guy does like is better than me in some way.
How did it make me feel? inferior unimportant sad and alone self-conscious like a loser needy
Point B What did this experience cause me to know that I want? I can validate myself and not need to feel validation only when others are paying me attention
What did this experience cause me to know that I want to think and feel? When I have a boyfriend I don't need constant validation because I know I have someone at home who loves me and thinks I am awesome. I want to feel like this regardless of whether I have a boyfriend or not.
Getting from A to B You have a great group of friends who care about you You're single because you want to be right now, you're working on yourself and you know for a fact you never have problems attracting male attention. Stop focussing so much on this one guy. You probably just like this person because he's not paying you attention. Not because he actually has qualities you like. Not everyone has to like you! You aren't attracted to every person you meet so stop thinking that theres some flaw with you just because everyone isn't attracted to you. What other opportunities are present? Are there other friends of yours here? Is there a dance floor - you love dancing. Just don't drink alcohol and if you still feel bad just go home.
Point A) What negative thing happened? A guy I liked interstate turned out to just want me for sex and he has a gf. (We did NOT have sex thank god)
What negative thoughts did it cause me to think? His girlfriend is prettier than me Why can't I ever find someone who likes me Why do I always attract unavailable men
How did it make me feel? Lonely, rejected, gullible
Point B) What did this experience cause me to know that I want? A man who is available to love me and be in a safe comfortable committed relationship
What did this experience cause me to know that I want to think and feel? I deserve better and should stop accepting sstuffs I'm actually not overly upset because I know I deserve better
Getting from A to B What an a-hole! How dare he. Lucky you found out before going there and spending a weekend with him! You haven't done anything wrong just a few sneaky pashes You know you deserve better. Onwards and upwards!
Point A) What negative thing happened? Two integral people dropped off a big project and left me to do it on my own.
What negative thoughts did it cause me to think? No one likes me. I can't keep any friends. People find out what I am really like and then they leave. There is something fundamentally wrong with me that I can't see.
How did it make me feel? Like there is something wrong with me. I am not worthy enough to keep friends. This is all my fault for not speaking up and solving issues when they first arose.
Point B) What did this experience cause me to know that I want? I want to be a trustworthy person. In order to do that I need to be honest, committed and not afraid to set out expectations and say what I need.
What did this experience cause me to know that I want to think and feel? I want to feel confident in expressing what I need and not having an outburst when things get too much.
Getting from A to B 1. Express any negative feelings that you have (express anger/sadness) - release The last time I was organising this event I had so many friends around me and now it feels like I have no one. I am angry at my friends for abandoning me and expecting me to do something unrealistic.
2. Express a thought that causes you to feel relief Another friend has offered to help me out. Other events seem pretty popular so I think people will still attend this big event. I am self-aware and know where I want wrong so next time I can behave differently - remember that these 'friends' weren't really positive influences in your life. You have friends that have been around for years, so it's not just you. You can do this on your own and maybe it's a new era. Maybe it is time to let go of these people and create a fresh start with new people.