I have really never been one of those people who believed in "self-help" books...how can one person, psychologist/psychiatrist or whatever type of analyst know how to address every single help seeking individual. How can one book read to all of us in the same way that we can understand and functionally use the information given to better ourselves...our self esteem or bad habits...not one of us is the same or has the same problems.
I guess the one thing that most of us do suffer from would be self esteem issues. Even though we think that every one surrounding us is confident with who they are...and we feel like we are not as good or as smart or as pretty or strong or funny. I know for myself I have always felt like an underdog while with any one else...didn't even matter their sex or age or anything...I always felt like I was unworthy to be in any crowd. I brewed myself a self confidence. Teaching myself throughout the years different ways to feel cool or acceptable to others. I started trying to be funny one in class...the one who got tough with teachers verbally if they ever got on my case. Honestly, when I think back to some of my conflicts with teachers...I just have to laugh at myself. Just one example...grade 7...Bible class with Mr. Redekopp. He was teaching class and there were a few quiet conversation between some students in the rows of desks nearest me. At one point I turned around to Tonja Lisanti to reply to a comment I overheard someone else behind me say. I must have said6 words or less. I was the one who Mr. Redekopp decided to pick on and call out for talking in class. It truly ruffled my feathers...I had, still sometimes have...a short fuse. I spoke back to him in an incredibly condescending tone explaining that I was not the only one talking...then blurted out..."Whatever, I'm sorry!" He then replies..."Hang sorry Miss Behnke. I think you ought to walk yourself down to the office." With that being said I then walked out of there with an Oscar award winning performance...best actress in a dramatic role. I got up out my chair, making it slam into Tonja's desk...stomped my feet on the 75 year old hardwood flooring...stop at the door to get a good grip and proceed to slam it with all of my might causing all of the other three big old wooden doors in that hallway to shake from the force. And then I walk myself down to the office and plead my case to Mr. Fraser the Vice-Principal at M.B.C.I. in October of 1986. Now if that ain't an 11 year old with a problem...I have NO idea what is. I felt I was being tough in front of the other kids...and that would keep them from picking on me. I think the rest of the kids just thought I was a bit of a wild child...and that was cool with me too.
Anyhow, total side tangent there. Just needing to reflect on my own personal little hells that I put myself through for not wanting to accept and love myself. It sucks being a teenager...I would never go back to that time...I enjoy the aging process. ;o) And with the aging process we all have that chance to grow and wise up...some of us take the chance...some of us stay in that spot for the rest of our lives because we do not have the tools with which to change and learn to love and have confidence and enjoy who we are. I thought that at 20 years old I did start to change. That is the time when I completely stopped wearing my artificial arm...I was accepting who I was, and it felt good. So I started letting more and more people take advantage of...thinking that everyone likes me because I do any and everything someone asks or tell me to. Wow...what a cool chick I am...not! Thought I was...thought that now that I was not hanging on to my false identity of being a two armed girl that I was in control of my self and esteem and could make proper decisions. I married an abusive drunk at 22. I thought it was him that needed to be changed. So I put all of my eggs into that basket and tried desperately to make a failing relationship last. It started failing after 3 weeks of dating...yet still 2 1/2 years later I repeated the vows that were supposed to be for a lifetime of love. But there was no love at the start. None for me and none for him or from him...just two lost souls traveling in the same space for a while.
I can look back and pin point a million stupid and self destructive patterns and behaviour I really did present...but I was too immature and egotistical to accept that as fact. Fast forward to the beginning of my relationship with Clint. We were in love...that much was surely true. We had been great friends for years. So of course I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this relationship would be perfect and loving and lasting throughout all ages. Our love was stronger than gravity's pull...man what an ignorant bi-atch I was. How many times was it said to me..."You can only love others if you truly love yourself...love yourself...love yourself." AHHHHHH! I HATE myself! I am ugly I am stupid I am in-complete I am fat I am strange I am unworthy of love from anyone. Words that were always repeating in my head. What a waste of thought. I continued to be self destructive...pulling away from the people that loved me most...ruining relationships...ruining myself with everything I could. I have made a million and ten mistakes in my life. Part of me is okay with that as a mistake is a great learning tool. But I have also found that there are some books out there that ARE helpful. And I so believe in them that I just want to shout it from the mountain tops! They have changed my life and I honestly could not be happier. (I even feel happy right now and I am sick like a dog.) ;op My marriage could not be better...but I know it will continue to get better because of the reading that both Clint and I have done...yippee!!
We started with "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. Amazing book from front to back. If everyone read this book I swear we would be a happy planet. Don't sweat yesterday...learn from mistakes but don't dwell on them. Get over it. Today is most important. Don't stress about tomorrow, it's coming anyways. Live in the moment. That's as paraphrased as I can make it...just read it. For those in a long term relationship...we read "Hold Me Tight" by Sue Johnson. She is an extremely smart woman. When we search for a partner...part of what we are looking for is that comfort love...the comfort love of only that a mother can give. That unconditional love that all mothers are to give their children...I realize that not all mothers are like this...but that is what the role is supposed to be. Listen to your partner...when there is a conflict one of you has got to be the first to say sorry and stop the fight and then it becomes easier...fighting becomes less frequent...love starts to grow. Just love. Seriously...read the book, it's amazing! The last book we read...I am almost done it...is a book that has been around for ages it seems. And anytime that I saw the book or heard someone talk about it I would laugh to myself..."book sounds so stupid and cheesy, like what can it possibly say that we don't already know...duh!" "Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus" by John Gray. Holy moly. This book nails it on the head...for real! It IS so simple. We are totally different people...that we all know. But this book spells it out so simply on how the reactions and gestures men and women make to one another are just their nature and are not wrong...but we have to understand how the other works and then it just gets easy. Does that even make sense? I don't know...the book opened our eyes and we are living and loving a heck of a lot better than before reading it.
Again...I am not one to pump up the self help books...but these can save the world and bring back the love. Maybe not...but a good read is never a bad thing...right?
peace and looooove!!