Some people have an inner critic.
I had an inner bully.
A severely brutal torturous "inner child" who wanted me in as much pain as possible. This inner bully was fueled by pure rage and hatred of me, my weakness, my sensitivity.
How did this happen?
We turn the world inward.
As a kid I was bullied, not only by kids at school, but also by my aunt who encouraged my uncle and my brothers to join in. I tried to keep my pain to myself to avoid any more emotional abuse. Internally, it turned into shame for being someone worthy of being abused.
Then it turned into self-loathing.
You're so sensitive.
I am also a highly sensitive person. This means I'm more sensitive emotionally, but in many other ways as well... to sound, touch, and sight in my case. We highly sensitive people process more information than about 80% of the population. As such, we tend to need more sleep, and appreciate time away from lots of crowds, loud spaces, and find ways to avoid overstimulation for our health and wellbeing. Our nervous systems can easily get maxed out if we're not careful and knowing our boundaries is key to keeping our balance.
What I realized quickly as a kid, was that this high level of sensitivity wasn't universal. I feel emotional and physical pain very acutely in myself and other beings, loud noises bring about an electric shock feeling in my solar plexus that radiates out to all my limbs, and noisy spaces or too many things happening at the same time can ramp up my anxiety and occasionally lead to panic attacks. My body never felt like too much of a safe place.
This sensitivity wasn't something that brought about sympathy or understanding when I was growing up. Instead, I was told to "get over it" when I voiced that my feelings were hurt, to "buck up" or not to be so sensitive when I got injured emotionally or physically, and to "chill out" when I would get anxious and panicky.
The lesson was clear, I was the problem.
I grew up hating the cruelty of the world and hating myself for being so weak. Blaming myself for all the bad things people had ever done to me or said to me. When I work with clients, I ask them to rate the intensity of their emotion on a scale from 0 - 10, 10 being the most intense. On this scale, my self-loathing was at least a 100. A burning fiery raging hate that I could feel in my throat, behind my heart, and in my solar plexus.
Hate, rage... these are like poison for your body. Nothing good ever came from stoking that fire inside. Putting it out felt impossible. How do you change the belief about yourself that you are utterly worthless, better off dead, a useless piece of human garbage? You see, I didn't just see myself as a bad person, as opposed to a good person. I saw myself as rotten, like a piece of rotten fruit... like there was something intrinsically wrong with me at my core that could never be good... that kind of bad.
If you remember my previous post about Dr. Masaru Emoto and his water and rice experiments, you know that our thoughts and intentions have the capacity to hurt or heal at a molecular level.
Is love really stronger than hate?
In the end, it turns out it is, but you've really got to believe it. No one can tell you enough times that you're good or loved or worth something for you to believe it. Rather than the love coming from outside of you, it needs to come from within yourself.
The bullying and cruelty came from the outside world... but it changed my belief about myself. So, when it changed my belief system, it became an inside job.
Tapping into the shadow
One of the coolest things about tapping is that is has the ability to change the limiting beliefs you have about yourself. Two things you need are the belief you would like to hold instead - in this case, that I love myself, and a bridge to cross that is built on these new beliefs - in this case, reasons for me to know that I was deserving of self-love.
When it comes to deeply held self-hate, unfortunately you can't simply decide to love yourself... it's a process.
Part of my process took me on a journey to find out more about the hate, diving deeper into my shadow self... the parts of ourselves we keep hidden. Along the way I found many inner children, many reasons I'd found to continue to believe in my worthlessness, and a complicated network of events and emotions to untangle.
I tapped to release the hate itself, along with the sadness, shame, anger, pain, worthlessness, grief, and so many other emotions that came up during this process.
The real game changer though, was something a bit unexpected... seemingly simple, and for me, actually surprising, because it turns out that what I'd been told was my greatest weakness, really was my greatest strength.
My secret weapon
Shifting this self-hate to self-love took something I had all along, something I prized in myself, but was often seen as a weakness growing up... gentleness. I have done a lot of inner child work and every time, I can tell you that what the fragmented parts of myself needed was love, compassion, and kindness. They needed to know they were safe, held, protected... loved. So my practice was that of gentleness.
In truth, I am a very gentle soul... and it was this gentleness that melted the hate in my heart.
When we are kind to ourselves, hold ourselves with loving compassion, and give the parts of ourselves that are in the most pain, gentleness... it is soothing to the very soul. I urge you to try it for even a week and tell me how different your life becomes.
What a gift.
To truly know at the end of this particular journey, that what many believe to be weakness, is actually my greatest strength... being sensitive.
My high level of sensitivity allows me to walk through the world of light and shadow picking up on details others might miss. My empathetic nature, and my capacity to see myself and others through the eyes of love, compassion, and gentleness, allows me to heal myself and help others to do the same.
I am unique, but I am not rare. I believe you carry light within you that is so bright, although you may not even be aware of it's power... that you too hold the incredible gifts you've been given, even if you may not yet know what to do with them.
I believe you are a gift... a light in the darkness for yourself and those around you.
If your trauma is getting in the way of your light, let me help. It would be an honor and a privilege to help you unearth your true potential. It is indeed, why I am here.
If you'd like more information about tapping or want to set up a session, don't hesitate to reach out. I would love to help you (re)discover your true you!
Are you a highly sensitive person? Me too. Check out this HSP Survival Kit. It is a small but mighty library of tapping meditations made just for the highly sensitive among us.