I mentioned a while back that I’m reading a book Therapist recommended me called The Journey from Abandonment to Healing by Susan Anderson (review to come soon).
It talks about the 5 stages of abandonment grief: Shattering, Withdrawal, Internalizing the Rejection, Rage, and Lifting.
In stage 3 Internalizing the Rejection she asks you to keep in mind The Four Cornerstones of Self. These are those basic inalienable aspects of what it means to be a human being. No matter what happens in your life nothing can diminish these things. “These are invincible principles of self that no one can take form you.”
The Four Cornerstones of Self
- Facing, accepting, and ultimately celebrating your separateness as a person. We are, each of us, a wholly separate human being, whether we are in a relationship or have just ended one. We enter the world and depart from it on our own.
- Celebrating the importance of your own existence. You are not more or less important than anyone else. Every person’s existence is important, and it is up to you to value and respect your own. Regardless of your age, attributes, or physical capacities, each person’s existence is important. Life is a fleeting, precious gift that must be realized in the moment.
- Facing and accepting your reality. No matter how difficult things may be for you at this moment, it is the only reality you have. Remember that it is always changing and that you are the force that moves it forward. You may not have chosen the challenges you now face, and chances are you are not to blame for the things that have gone wrong. But the situation is yours to deal with. You can choose to rail against it, or you can make the best of it. The responsibility for owning it and c hanging it belongs to you.
- Enhancing your capacity to love. I believe that most people use only about 5 percent of their capacity to love. Love is one of the most compelling powers we possess as human beings. You cannot control the love of another, but you can increase your own capacity to give and receive love and all the benefits that flow from it.
You, as a person, have worth and value independent of anyone else in your life. You need to value you. This is something I struggle with often. I’ve had a lifetime of being not good enough. Says who? Why does anyone else get to tell me what I should be striving for in my life? It’s my life. I get to choose what goals I want to reach and how I get there. No one else has the right to define my value as a person.
I also like this because it reminds you that you are responsible for your own life. So often we get caught up in blaming. If he hadn’t done this, that wouldn’t have happened. If she had only listened I wouldn’t have to feel this way. It’s not my fault this happened. And so on. All of that may be true, but the simple fact of reality is that these things happened. Understanding where the problem originated is helpful so that you can avoid that situation in the future. Blaming, passing the buck, and refusing responsibility for yourself only mires you in the past. Stuck. Ultimately you control your own life and the choices that propel you into the future. You must decide for yourself where you go from there. No one else is going to take responsibility for your life, for you. You must do that. No matter how you got to the place you are in, you get to choose where you will go next.
2 and 3 are conclusions I came to a long time ago and have very much embraced on this road to healing from my mental health issues. I still struggle with accepting myself, but I’m getting there. And if I’m really honest I have to admit that love still scares me. I have a lot to work on there. I can give love. I can give of myself to others, but I’m afraid to receive love because I’m afraid that it will be taken away. I’d rather not have love in the first place than have to mourn the loss of it. All love is a gift though. Not all love leaves. If it does though, that simply leaves room for new love to come in.