Yesterday I spent an incredible day in Atlanta with a very talented photographer (and woman) Rupa Kapoor of Woman Redefined. It was time for me to get some new photos for my book launch next year (more on that later) and Rupa was exactly the kind of photographer I wanted to work with.
Before you read any further, I’d like you to go to Rupa’s website and take a look at her photographs and read the stories of the women featured on the site.
I think you’ll agree that Rupa has a gift for truly seeing the women she’s photographing and bringing out the essence of who they are when they’re at their best and most powerful.
And that got me to thinking about how much you — and all partners of sex addicts — need to be seen and honored.
Most partners of sex addicts, especially in the early stages of discovery and disclosure, feel terribly unseen, rejected, less than, inferior, discounted, demeaned, ignored, unloved, embarrassed, foolish, and humiliated. The experience of being seen — in the most positive sense of the word — and honored, is seemingly out of reach and unattainable in the aftermath of betrayal.
If the sex addict in your life gets help and embraces recovery, that feeling of being seen and honored by him (or her) will likely return in the future. However, I encourage you not to wait until then.
10 ways to see and honor yourself, beginning now:
- Look at yourself every morning in the mirror and say — out loud — 3 things you like about yourself. If you’re feeling particularly brave, tell yourself, “I love you.”
- Dare to wear that article of clothing, jewelry, or accessory you bought because it brought you joy, but just can’t seem to get up the courage to wear. It’s not as big a deal as you probably think.
- When you’re in meetings, classes, family get-togethers, or with a group of friends, make an effort to express your opinion, ask a question, or make a comment. Every time you do, you’re telling yourself that what you have to say matters.
- Think of ways you’ve been “playing small,” and take one baby step toward expanding and stepping out of your comfort zone.
- Do at least one self-care practice a day that falls under the “want” rather than “need” category. For example, listen to your favorite music, meditate, practice yoga, take a bath with bath salts, drink your favorite tea, or enjoy a delicious piece of chocolate.
- Don’t allow others to belittle you, put you down, dampen your dreams, or poison you with self-doubt. Protect your confidence as if it were your most prized possession.
- Surround yourself with people who know how to listen and respect and love you for who you are.
- Dare to tell others — especially those closest to you — what you think, how you feel, and your opinions about important issues.
- Pay attention to your feelings, and don’t sweep them under the rug. You dishonor yourself when you ignore your internal compass.
- Find a prayer or mantra that reminds you to see and honor yourself. This one is very personal — what works for one person may not do a thing for someone else. For some, it’s as simple as: I matter. Choose a phrase that resonates with you and return to it regularly throughout the day.
Even if you only do half of these, you’ll notice a shift.
The more you see and honor yourself, the better you’ll feel. You’ll also develop a “healthy allergy” to people who are self-absorbed or can’t celebrate and honor you. Don’t spend your precious energy trying to figure out why they can’t be there for you. Refocus on yourself, your dreams, and goals.
Speaking of goals, as I mentioned earlier, I’ll be launching my upcoming book — Moving Beyond Betrayal: The 5-Step Boundary Solution© for Partners of Sex Addicts — in May 2016. I’ll be submitting the manuscript to the publisher (Central Recovery Press) next week. I am honored and excited about offering this information to you and the many partners who need the knowledge and tools presented in Moving Beyond Betrayal as they navigate the courageous journey from trauma to trust, and beyond.
As the publication date approaches, I’ll be announcing free offers and other online programs for partners. If you’d like to be on my list to receive announcements about the book launch and resources for partners, fill in your contact info below.
I’d love to hear how you honor yourself! Leave a comment below.*
© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2015)
*All submitted comments are subject to editing to protect confidentiality and maintain anonymity.