Living with mental illness is full of potential challenges. One of those challenges is that it is so hard to look at ourselves and our actions with compassion and forgiveness. This has definitely been the case for me. I can be accepting and forgiving of everyone except myself. This is something I have been working on in therapy: looking within, and looking past the demons.
Because the demons are the ones that make it so hard to treat myself with compassion. I look within and see their darkness. I hear their lies that I am unworthy of the good things that come my way, that the people in my life will eventually leave me, etc. And for so long, especially early on in my recovery, I would look away when I looked within.
Yet those demons are not the sum of who I am. Their lies do not define me.
Looking within and looking past the demons for me is about sitting in the darkness and accepting that my demons are there, and looking beyond them. Part of this is the asking why, the asking of who I am, that I’ve described in previous posts. Part of this is learning to constantly remind myself that the lies that the demons of mental illness tell are just that. Lies.
Looking within and looking past the demons takes time. As I said earlier, it has taken time and taken therapy for me to do that. I don’t always like what I see, but the benefit is that once I see those things beyond the shadows that I don’t like, I can work to change it. Sometimes, many times in fact, sitting with demons and looking past them makes me uncomfortable, so if you are just starting out with this process of self-reflection and you are struggling and feeling uncomfortable about it, know that you aren’t alone.
Yet this is an important step for us to be able to look at ourselves with the same levels of compassion and forgiveness that we hopefully view others with. Because that is something that we all deserve.
Thanks, as always, for reading.