I will let Patricia introduce herself further in her own words.
I have been on a spiritual path my entire life but only in the last 12 years have I known what that entailed. My spiritual beliefs are taken from varied religions and my inner knowing. On my fireplace mantle, you will find pictures of American Indians, wolves, buffaloes, and eagles. You will find feathers, stones, crystals, essential oils, and candles. You will find pictures of Jesus, Mother Mary, Krishna, Ganesh and Sai Baba. I believe in all of them. The more I grow spiritually, the more expansive the Universe and my God become. I have been to India three times to visit Sai Baba. I was told to go home and worship the God of my understanding and to pay more attention to my own inner teacher. My stories are just a point of reference for who I am today. I don't go around identifying myself as all of my experiences. Before I started blogging, I had even stopped calling myself an Incest Survivor because that wasn't who I was any longer. I only do it now as a point of reference to offer what I have learned about myself because of the incest to others who might need the hope and love that I have learned. We are all so much more than our experiences can define us as.
You Deserve Your Own Love
"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." Buddha
If you asked me what had the greatest effect on my healing from incest, I would tell you learning to love myself brought about the best changes in my life. The book Learning to Love Yourself: Finding Your Self-Worth written by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse helped me to begin to love myself.
Another book that helped me was Compassion and Self-Hate: An Alternative to Despair written by Theodore I. Rubin. Before I could love myself, I first needed to accept that I hated myself. I grew up hating myself because I believed all of the lies that my abusers told me. I believed that some part of me was so bad that I kept attracting new abusers into my life. Also, I believed that I was so bad that even God wouldn't love and protect me or hear my cries.
Some of the things that loving myself taught me were:
1. Love doesn't hurt and doesn't lie.
2. Love and fear don't live in the same house.
3. Loving myself means liking who I am, faults and all. I don't have to be perfect to be loved. Incest happened to me. Incest is not me.
4. Loving myself gave me the right to have needs and wants.
5. Putting up healthy boundaries was part of loving myself. Those boundaries protected me from being abused again.
6. I have choices. I will make mistakes and that is okay. Mistakes are just lessons to be learned from. I am not a mistake. With my choices, I began to trust myself.
7. I am worthy just as I am. I am always enough just as I am. I can feel confident in who I am and in what I can accomplish.
8. Loving myself gives me the ability to truly love others. Real love is unconditional.
9. My value comes from who I am, not from what I do. I have value just because I was born into this world.
10. Loving myself means feeling all of my feelings and reconnecting with my body and my spirituality.
Some people teach you that loving yourself is selfish. Abusers and controllers especially do not want you to love yourself. If you love yourself, you are not easily controlled or abused. Abusers don't pick children who are likely to tell their nasty secrets. So nurture and love yourself so that you can teach your children to love themselves. You often teach more by your actions than you do by your words.
Meditations to Heal Your Life, by Louise L. Hay, Hay House, Inc., Carlsbad, California, 1994, page 252-253:
"I am comfortable with my self-worth.
I can do it.
The more I support myself with love and acceptance, the more worthy I feel. As I feel worthy, I feel better. In fact, I feel really good. I begin to let good things happen to me. I begin to see opportunities that I never saw before. I let life take me in new and interesting directions. I let my mind go beyond what I thought was possible. I become worthy of the totality of possibilities, and life suddenly becomes very exciting. I realize that I have a right to have the life that I want. I might have to shift this or that, scrap an old belief, let go of an old limitation, but I can do it. YES! I am worthy. I am deserving of ALL GOOD!"
Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker