Know that it takes a long time to retrain our minds. Nothing is automatic or easy. It takes a long time to get well. Have patience with the process. Understand that you won’t have patience at the beginning. That too is part of the process.
When you do something good, notice it. Don’t dismiss it. Write up a certificate. Draw up an award for yourself. Write down a list of all the good things you did that day. Save it and refer to it to give you strength.
A negative list isn’t helpful (“I didn’t wreck the car”, “I didn’t get into a fight”). While it is good that these things didn’t happen, work on noticing the little things that you did right instead. They have a way of hiding at first, but it will get easier the more you do this. Make it a daily practice to write down at least three good things that happened that day. Give yourself easy goals to start with. You are taking baby steps, not running a marathon.
You have to choose to love yourself in a way you were not shown how to by your parents or the people who you were raised with. Sometimes we have to re-parent ourselves. Sometimes they broke us, because they themselves were broken. They didn’t know any better. That doesn’t excuse the damage they did, but it does explain it, a little. People tend to repeat bad habits. People who were hurt tend to become people who hurt other people. However, you don’t have to repeat the same bad habits. You can heal that wound.
I’m not going to lie here – it hurts to heal that wound. It is a bit like doing surgery on yourself without anesthesia. Just like with a broken leg, sometimes it has to be broken to finally heal right. It is painful whether the wound is physical or emotional or mental. It takes a long time to heal. But it is so worth it. Who wants to walk with an emotional limp all the time? Sometimes we choose to stick with “the devil you know” because change is scary. But trust me, press on. That pain you feel from trying to make a good change is a sign of healing. Don’t run from it. Lean into it, breathe, and walk forward. It will get easier.
Know that you aren’t alone on this journey. A lot of us hide our brokenness, because we were taught that our brokenness is shameful. It isn’t. It is part of being human, and being human is a messy thing.