When I was asked to write for a Women’s Magazine, I stopped short in my tracks and tried to think of a commonality that we all shared and were all battling. I hope to start with this topic and go down the list of what arises when we avoid this important entity to the core of our development in relationships with our loved ones and acquaintances. At the end of each article I will share an important section in my Memoir: Silent Screams from the Hamptons and what it took to finally make the changes in myself to live a Joyful and Serene Life.
We women are forever busy holding up our families, our job places, society, and extended families. We’re the caretaker, the breadwinner, the mother, house cleaner, nurturer; and just plain chief cook and bottle washer.
Loving ourselves sounds so simple, but how do we do it? Learning more about who we are is a good first step. After acknowledging who we are, we can begin the process of accepting what we can do and what we shouldn’t do. Getting a more balanced view of ourselves when we acknowledge how hard we are working to change. We want love. We deserve love. We must become initiators because as the fulcrum of the family no one else will do it for us.
What does it mean to love ourselves all day long? It means loving ourselves even when we feel shame for yelling at a loved one. There will be days when we need to make a conscious decision to love ourselves moment by moment. This is a process that in time we will realize the gains we have made. We will see that it is possible to love ourselves fully, even though we have not become perfect. As a woman, I see how we are so hard on ourselves with never allowing ourselves the ability to become gentle with ourselves. It’s all about performance, accomplishing and providing for everything and everyone outside of ourselves.
I’m learning to nourish myself with affirmations. By stopping and making the time to add them to my thought patterns has changed my perception of my self and what I need to start feeling about myself. We have been told that Mom and Dad raised us to the best of their ability, but that does not mean we were given the affirmations or the gentle guidance that we needed as youngsters. Our parents were not able to pass on what they didn’t have, and old patterns die hard. We are sharing our personal stories and being loved for it. We are getting the positive strokes we deserve from friends. We are telling ourselves that we’re worthy of respect, love, and all the good that the universe hold.
I have personally found that when we start the process of loving and nurturing ourselves, the rest of the family situation starts to improve. When we start blazing the trails for ourselves, the rest of our loved ones start to follow suit. We teach people how to treat us. When we’re not feeling the love and respect for ourselves, no one else will either. It becomes a cut and dry issue of boundaries. Boundaries that we have learn to set for ourselves and for every one else. When we (women) start learning to ask for what we need and allowing ourselves the space and nurturing that we deserve in order to continue carrying the Herculaneum responsibilities, we will begin to see the necessary changes that self love can bring.
From Silent Screams from the Hamptons Chapter 17
It’s Not the End of the World But I can See the Edge
I was sick and tired of being scared out of my skin all the time. Nothing was ever going to change in my life, until I figured out that it was me who had to change. I was living some else’s life. The person I thought I was had left the building a long time ago. It horrified me that my children were now viewing the movie that I had watched as a child-witnessing parents physically assaulting each other. I had to start the process of breaking this chain of destruction, or my children were going to grow up living these habits, hurts and hang-ups all over again! Somehow I had to halt the violence.
Christa Jan Ryan was born into a chaotic family, enduring alcoholism, drug overdoses, and violence. The youngest of six children; three of her sisters are triplets, all born with Cerebral Palsy. She has been a professional landscape designer and consultant to the rich and famous of the Hamptons for the last thirty years. Following her heartwarming first book, From the Depths of a Women’s Soul, Ryan’s Silent Screams from the Hamptons has won 2 awards, been on; NPR, ABC, NBC, and Time Warner. She lives in the Berkshires of Massachusetts with her two sons and cat and continues to write about important issues with a renewed sense of purpose and humor.