Eight Activities for Healing Your Self

healing your selfMany people feel like they have lost themselves during their marriage, and I think that can especially be true in the aftermath of an affair.  If your goal is to create a new marriage after the affair then you have to feel good inside.  Hopefully, some of that goodness will come via your spouse and his/her healing efforts. But some of it has to come from healing your self.

So what are some things that you can do to help to heal your “self?” 

We recently picked up a copy of the book, The Healing is Mutual – Marriage Empowerment Tools to Rebuild Trust and Respect – Together by Deb Schwarz Hirschhorn, Ph.D., and she sets forth eight self-healing activities that may be beneficial for you.

Healing Your Self

1.  Get reacquainted with yourself.

Infidelity and even marriage by itself can rob you of your identity. When you’ve been told what to do and think, or you have been belittled or you have been scared to express yourself you can eventually lose touch with who you are. Now is the time to reconnect with yourself.

The author suggests that you divide the knowledge about yourself into different categories.  For instance, one category might be “my opinion about politics,” and another might be “my religious values.” Then what you do is you take each category and ask yourself lots of questions that get to the core of how and why you feel the way you do.  When you think about the results, what did you discover about your preferences, values and opinions that you weren’t consciously aware of before?

You then go through this process for lots of categories:  food, furniture, politics, friends, landscaping, decorating, jobs, hobbies, sex, the opposite sex, and so on.

2.  Do affirmations.

If a cruel partner or even an offensive of boss has spent a lot of time drumming a message of worthlessness into you then you may come to believe it about yourself. You might call that “victim thinking.” Performing affirmations can be quite helpful.

Affirmations are positive messages we say to ourselves selves about ourselves.

However, given the number of times we’ve heard the negative messages, it takes a lot of repetitions of an opposite message to undo it.  Neuro-psychological research supports this.

This research gets quite involved and is beyond the scope of this post but suffice it to say there is a lot of research that has been done that confirms the effectiveness of affirmations in helping a person overcome negative thoughts and feelings, for instance.

3.  Surround yourself with companions who affirm you.

Would you rather spend time with someone who says you’re a good person and really likes being around you and who boosts your morale, or someone you’ve known for a long time that constantly brings you down?

One of the beauties of connecting with others is that in choosing your company you can choose those people who you hang out with.  It would be wise to hang out with people who affirm you.

To discern good people from toxic people, listen to what they say and don’t gloss over slips in the behavior that aren’t nice. Don’t fall into an old pattern of being attracted to the wrong kind of people.

You may want to expand your circle of friends. Take some classes; go to a new church; join a gym; take acting lessons; play softball; join a hiking club, etc.

4.  Nurture your body and spirit.

You can also affirm yourself through how you treat yourself. Do you take as much care of yourself as you do of other people?

It is also necessary to enjoy your work. If you don’t, you’re either (a) in the wrong profession, (b) in the wrong office, (c) working above or below your real level or (d) just plain not following your heart in some other way. If you absolutely can’t switch jobs and you are unhappy, all the more reason to inject goodness in the rest of your life.

The more you meet your own needs, the happier you will be.

5.  Learn about the way others live.

One of the ways that you can help to heal yourself and to connect with other values and reinforcing affirmations is through socializing just to be an observer. Getting to know new people and how they think could be enormously beneficial.

You want to get to know a variety of people and try to understand how they think.

Ask yourself who can you get to know better? Where would you begin to meet people from whom you can learn what healthy relationships are like?

Expanding the people in your world is a powerful boost to affirmations.

6.  Make meaning of your existence.

When you’re clear on the big picture of your life, it becomes easier to do affirmations, it strengthens the fight against abuser values, and it backs you up in picking better friends.

So what you should probably do is spend some time thinking about some of the big questions in your life: Why was I born? Why was I created? What is my purpose here on Earth? Where does happiness come in? Is there room for me to be happy?

When you think about it, it is our job to pursue happiness.  It’s not handed to us on a silver platter, but we have the freedom to go after it. We have to consider the possibility that happiness is attainable and that we, personally, were meant to have it. Ask yourself, “How can we create meaning and happiness while working on a difficult marriage?”

7.  Give of yourself to those in need.

Let’s face it when we give, we feel better. Giving to others affirms the best about ourselves. It is also a way of connecting to others and seeing how other volunteers think and handle life.

Sometimes that giving is very difficult because we hardly have the resources for ourselves. Yet, if we try, giving can come back to us in big ways.

8.  Inject hope into your life.

In order to resolve the stickiest of matters, reaching out and talking about it requires the belief that things can get better. Without that, there is no incentive to try. How do you have hope when things look so bad?

Now may be a good time to take a personal inventory changes that have taken place since your journey after infidelity first started.  What do you see different in yourself? What new attitudes do you have? What new skills do you have? What personality qualities do you see improved? For example are you more patient? Are you less easily stressed? Do you recognize the dynamics of your partner and how those affected his/her behavior?

Has your partner changed in any way? Can you point to even the littlest things? For example, if the only difference is that he/she no longer texts on their cell phone while you’re supposed to be spending time together, then that is a step in the right direction.

Do a mental inventory to try and see what you notice that is better both on your part and your partner’s.

Make a list of the behaviors and attitudes, both on your part and that of your partner, that are better now.

Open the door to let in hope.

Hope makes everything possible.

 

 

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7 Responses to Eight Activities for Healing Your Self

  1. tryinghard March 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Linda
    This is really good. It’s funny because this weekend I just looked at myself in the mirror and said out loud “Who are you?” I find that I am not expressing or showing the real me anymore. My H and I disagree politically and although I respect his opinion he can’t stand hearing mine no matter how innocuous the opinion is. Many times he will say something and I will agree on the outside BUT on the inside I think “No asshole, I don’t agree!” The OW just put everything he did and say on such a high pedestal and built his ego I feel I have to do this to “compete”. Oh yeah I know better. Of course she had his opinion she was wholly uneducated and didn’t have another opinion. Never read or watched the news just aped what the rest of the world was saying.

    I have to have some small cancerous skin lesions removed tomorrow. My H said he would come with me. I told him “Oh you don’t have to, I can go by myself.” I wanted him to insist on going, instead he said OK. I was so mad at myself for saying that but again I was going back to my “old” self putting his needs first. I am so confused. Probably more so about myself than him. I hate this and yes it will make me a better person, IF IT DOESN’T KILL ME FIRST :)

    Thanks for this post. I have printed it off and am going to work on it tonight, IF I don’t fall asleep on the sofa!

  2. battleborn March 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    Trying,

    You are correct, he should have insisted. But perhaps him not going with you is for the best. If he is that uninterested in your health then you would not be best served with him there moping and faking his concern. I know that sounds harsh but I am thinking that you do not need insincerity when you are going through this. What you do need is someone who truly cares about you and your medical issue.

    I wish that I could be there for you.

    • tryinghard March 5, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      Battleborn
      Not harsh at all! Thank you for your comments. I actually talked to him last night and told him I wanted him to take me today. I go to every doctor’s appointment with him and yet I feel it’s not that he doesn’t want to go I think he is just relieved when he doesn’t have to. As if working is more important and I used to let it take precedence over my needs. No more. If he could take time out of his “busy” day to carry on an affair with her, he can go to the DR with me. I never wanted to be that demanding bitch but you know what I guess I am learning to be!
      I wish you could be here for me too. Thanks.

  3. kelbelly March 5, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    I spend seven years bending over backwards to make sure everything was great for my H and all it got me was him having an affair. I was there the whole time putting off things I enjoyed and loss sight of my own identity.

    Well, not anymore! I go with my girlfriends now for that sat shopping spree, I ride my horse when I get a chance. I have that afternoon cup of tea with my girlfriends. I am finally seeing more and more of myself in the process. I have also found that taking time for myself helps me not feel so resentful of my H or time we spend together because I now take the time for me.

    I am a firm believer now that we need to take times for ourselves to have a healthy family. My H goes with his friends to fish, my son goes with his friends to do what teenagers do, and I am usually riding my horse and when we come back together, we are refreshed and ready to enjoy time together.

  4. Healingperson March 5, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    Linda,
    Thanks for the insight about the little changes. Often, we want to see “big” things happen, and what we loose sight of is that it was the little things that did not happen that got us in this mess in the first place.

    I notice it all now; when he hands me a beer cause he knows I too had a busy day at work; calls me ever now and then; asks me out to dinner. There is hope, I know so!

  5. Magdalene March 10, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    Hi All,
    I read and read all the comments and I certainly agree that there is indeed hope IF both parties work on it. It is not us, the BS’s fault that the affair happened but I admit that I the BS did play a part in pushing my H to that direction. After 15 months from D-Day, I see his honesty and sincerity in wanting to save the marriage and build what has been lost. I was sick recently and he took the day off from work to bring me to the doctor, brought me soup for lunch and dinner, made sure I was comfortable, did the laundry and pick up the kids from school. Before the affair, none of these stuff would have happen. Post D-Day and I get calls and sms everyday telling me he loves me and trying to connect with me. Reduce his drinking from everyday to just two days in a week, cook for an orphanage every Saturday and little things that I have never noticed before. Yes, there is still a lot of work to be done before we arrive at a “New Normal” and gaining my trust is still a long way to go. I told my H that the day when I put my wedding ring back on..I have arrived at the “New Normal”. until then, he has just got to keep trying.

  6. Strengthrequired March 11, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    Magdeline , I’m glad all is looking good for you. That new normal is something to look forward to, Im hoingto see my new normal as being far better than before.
    It’s sounds like your h, is trying hard to make changes and prove himself. That’s great.
    As you said, it is going to take a while before that trust is rebuilt, especially after a blow like what we have all faced on here, but I know it is possible. I would love to say that I trust my h, but in all honesty I don’t just yet. I’m not willing to give that part of me away just yet, well not completely anyway, I need to see that my h, is doing all he says he is, to make things right.
    My h is.a wonderful man, who lost himself, so I will hang in there, as I know he will again find that man he once was, but be more wiser, at the same time.
    My engagement ring, had a diamond fall out of it, which thankfully I found, this was a couple of months after dd for me, I told my h, that I didn’t want that ring fixed at that time, as our marriage was broken, and for him to get it fixed, he had to make sure that our marriage was fixed before he hands it back to me.
    A year last, almost, and the ring still hasn’t been repaired or handed to me. I refuse to accept it until we are finished with the ow completely.
    So I take that, since I haven’t seen my ring, that it’s not over just yet.

    I hope your day comes to you soon, when you are ready to wear your wedding ring again.

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