She rolled her eyes. Outwardly she joked, but his words had almost knocked her out of her seat, and made her feel uncomfortable. What is there to honor? What does honor look like?
Her family of origin did not practice honor. Period. There was submission to abuse, attempts at controlling other family members, yelling, violence, mocking, criticism, lying, and dismissal of emotions. It was not a safe place to show fear, sadness, doubt, or love.
What was safer was anger. No one paid much of a price for anger in this household. The louder one could scream the greater the reward of being the only one possibly heard.
What does honor look like? For over two years she wondered if that statement could be true; is it actually permissible to honor me because I have value?
Thank yous, gifts, and special moments are what we often offer to our families. Translated into self-care, honor entails the same characteristics.
- Personal boundaries: We can accept gifts without buying into any strings that may be attached; We can recognize our limitations and respect them
- Remembering: We can look at honoring ourselves as an automatic- a regular event.
- Getting our needs met: We need support? We can ask for it; We need affirmation? We can look for healthy people who can offer it; We have a special source of joy? We can make sure it is part of our life.
- Self-talk: Choosing kind words, defending our rights and value within our own minds, and speaking with respect- these are how we can think to ourselves about our own being. We can be courteous to ourselves.
- Gifts: What nice thing can be brought into our day that is just for personal enjoyment?
- Praise: We can accept we did a job well-done without qualifying that fact. We can admit we made progress, have talents, deserve honor.
Truth is, we cannot honor anyone else if we are immobilized by fear, trying to control people around us to get our needs met, or distant from emotions. Of equal importance is that we will have a tough time understanding our value if we never practice self-honor. If we do not believe in self-worth, then why accept anything from God?
Honoring ourselves includes honoring our values, because no one likes a phony, especially if that phony is in the mirror. What is important to you? Who do you want to be?
The client originally mentioned early in this blog still ponders the statement, “It is ok to honor you. You have value.” Perhaps she will always wrestle with this idea. Nevertheless, at least she is considering it; that is one gift she has offered to herself.
NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
*photo from qualitystockphotos.com