Self-acceptance is a process.
Do you find yourself in the category of almost healed, but not quite? Let me start by telling you, you are not alone. So many survivors of child abuse or trauma find themselves stuck in this very frustrating place and they don't understand why.
Most of the people that I work with and the survivors that I know were abused for a long time. The longer we suffer in silence, without telling our stories, the harder it becomes to start. The hardest part will always be in the beginning of any change. You have lived with the past for so long that you know how it feels, you can manage and deal with it. But with something new, it is scary because you don't know what to expect. But chances are at this point, you are just tired of it all and really want some change and are ready to do what ever it takes.
There is a way out of the "almost but not quite healed" phase. It takes time, it takes commitment, and it takes courage. And it starts with acceptance.
When I say acceptance, I am not asking you to consider that the abuse you suffered was okay. It was not okay. What I am asking you to consider is to accept yourself and the truth of what happened to you.
The truth of what happened is that you were hurt by someone you knew and trusted. And in order to survive that abuse, you had to tell yourself that somehow it was your fault. No one told you otherwise so it became a strong and terrible belief about yourself. That you were bad and deserved the neglect and abuse.
Trying to find joy and live a fulfilled life when we feel bad and unworthy is hard, next to impossible. We are used to a life that is painful and destructive. I remember it well. I was in a constant inner battle with myself. Telling myself what I wanted and thought I could have while feeling unworthy of care and love, because of what was done to me, because of how I had acted out as a young woman. Because of the shameful things I had done to cope or self-harm during a downward spiral made it impossible to believe that I could ever feel differently, that I could ever think about myself in a kinder way and even love and respect myself.
But I DID get there. And I want to tell you, my friend, so can you. When I understood the war inside of myself, when I figured out why I believed that I was unworthy (because I did not know how to feel differently), I started to feel the shift. I started the hard work of digging deep and looking at every reason my wounded self would think of as to why I could not heal and restore, why I thought I was not worth or lovable. And each time I was confronted with another reason...
I sat with myself and my inner child or young adult self. I sat with her and listened to her. I told her I understand how she feels this way and why she feels this way. I told her that no matter what she felt or how bad she thinks she is, that I still accept her. I not only accept her, I love her. I let her feel my warmth, as I used my intention to direct love towards her, (safely, as much as she can handle at the time) because she is scared and did not trust me, or anyone for that matter, for a long time.
And over time, over a long time, every time she gave me another reason for not being lovable, I would take her into my arms and tell her, "Thank you for your courage, sweet girl. That must have been so hard for you. I am so grateful for your strength and for telling me the truth. I know you think this is it, that this is so bad that I will not accept you. But my sweet, sweet girl, nothing you can say or do will make me stop loving you. Nothing."
By accepting the worst of me, I found the best of me. I became the best, loving, caring parent to myself, that I needed. And the best of me is what I decided to fight for. I learned how courageous and strong I was. How deeply I could feel and how much compassion I had in my heart for myself and for others. It is hard at times but it is how I have learned that I don't have to be afraid of my feelings. They are the giver of wisdom and connection. The connection that I was longing for, for a very long time, I found inside and it finally made sense.