Purging

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It's impossible to start a process of recovery without a sound knowledge of what you're recovering from.  You must be honest with yourself about yourself.  The first step in this process is to truly understand that it is okay to be imperfect.  It's okay to admit that your behavior is, at times, selfish, rude, needy, and even hateful.  You must give yourself permission to be completely honest about your own "flaws."  Remember: owning your shortcomings can't hurt you (only failing to own them can hurt!).

Understanding that these "negative" traits and behaviors often hurt you more than the person you're targeting should help you to commit yourself to changing them. 

And, so today you will seize the opportunity to purge yourself of many of the so-called negative traits and behaviors you've been carrying around and repeating in your life.  This will require setting aside an entire day to be alone and reflect on yourself.  Why?  Because you're worth it! 

Think of this as a true mental health day.  Not the kind of casual mental health day we take just to get away from the stresses of everyday life.  No.  This is a day specifically designed to gain deeper knowledge of yourself and begin the process of moving on from negative habits you may have carried your entire life. 

So don't tackle this step until you're ready to invest some real time and attention in it.  Okay?

When you're ready, then, what I would like you to do is go to a place where you feel safe and comfortable and where you can spend some quiet time alone without interruptions.  Light some candles or put on some meditative music if it helps.  Then I would like you to take some time to think deeply about all the qualities in yourself that you consider "negative."  You know what they are; you probably just don't enjoy thinking about them very much.  Why?  Well, because thinking about "negative" perceptions of ourselves brings up some very uncomfortable feelings.  And that's why we avoid facing them directly.

But understand this: it is our very reluctance to feel the feelings associated with our "negative" self-assessments that keeps us stuck in them and prevents us from moving on.  So, we're going to do a four-step process.  We're going to: 1) identify our negative behaviors and patterns on paper, 2) deeply and fully feel the feelings attached to them, 3) completely accept these feelings with an attitude of pure self-love, and 4) commit to some new behaviors and approaches.

Ready?

1. Okay. Write a list of those persistent behaviors and traits that you feel create a negative you.  (Yes, even that one).  Be honest.  No one is going to see this list but you. 

2. Now go through the list, one item at a time, and for each of these "negatives," feel whatever feelings come up.  You'll surely feel some discomfort and this might seem scary and "dangerous" at first.  But know this: your feelings, no matter how powerful, can't kill you or even harm you.  It is only our erroneous belief that feelings can harm us that prevents us from fully feeling them and moving through them.

As you feel each feeling, remove all mental labels and judgments from it.  Strip the feeling of whatever name you usually give it; just feel it in your body as raw energy.  When you do this, you will realize that emotions are neither positive nor negative; they are simply forms of energy.  Even pain is not actually "bad" when we stop thinking of it as a negative.  Studies have shown that the feelings we call excitement produce the exact same physiological changes as the feelings we call fear.  We just interpret one emotion as positive, the other negative, depending on the circumstances. 

Stripped of interpretations and judgments, our feelings lose their power to scare us.  In fact, when we simply "have" our feelings without repressing, labeling or judging them, we realize that all feelings are essentially "positive": that is, they are all expressions of the fundamental life energy that flows through us and makes us alive.  Some call this energy love.

3. Once you have gotten to a place where you can feel your feeling in your body without labeling it mentally, then accept it thoroughly and send it love.  Yes, love.  Love the feeling.  Now, love yourself for having the feeling.  Can you do that?  Great!

4. After you have felt, accepted and loved the feeling that comes up for each negative behavior or trait on your list, cross it out and turn it into a positive.  For example, a habit of speaking critically to your family members might be replaced by a commitment to express love and appreciation for them instead.

You've now begun the process to a new you! 

You may also want to physically purge yourself as part of your inner purging process.  This is a great idea that will really help all your new changes take root.  There are many healthy physical cleansing options available - you can check with your doctor for a recommendation.  Purging is enhanced when we make it a both a physical and a spiritual experience.

Of course, let's be real here.  Eliminating the negatives in the above way is not the total cure.  The total cure comes when you intentionally live out positive behaviors in your daily life.  Will people still hurt you?  Yes!  Will you still feel depressed at times?  Yes!  The difference, however, is that you will now be healthier in your mind and body.  Your emotional and spiritual immune system will be better equipped to withstand and overcome the external stressors, because you are being intentional about living in a positive place...daily.  Remember: all your power is within!

Negatives to Purge / Turned into a Positive

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