"Self-Love is the basis of all emotional healing. In this book, Nina Norstrom guides readers through an engaing and life-affirming journey." —Tim Desmond, author of The Self-Compassion Skills Workbook "When you don't love yourself, how can you expect another to love you?" Author Nina Norstrom admits It's a simple question with a very complicated answer. Self-love should come naturally, but for many of us it doesn't. Whether it stems from childhood abuses or toxic relationships along the journey of life, self-love can often be one of our greatest challenges. In Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Where Does My Self-Love Fall? author Nina Norstrom helps us probe into our thoughts and emotions to uncover our self-concepts and gives us tools to reshape them, and in the process learn to fall in love with ourselves, which is the first step in living a fulfilling, happy life.Readers of The Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn R. Schiraldi, PHD and The Self-Compassion Skill Workbook by Tim Desmond will like Mirror, Mirror on the Wall.
|Publisher:||Boutique of Quality Books|
|Product dimensions:||8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
Nina Norstrom is the author of Not A Blueprint, It's the Shoe Prints that Matter: A Journey Through Toxic Relationships. She is a requested speaker on the topic of toxic relationships and the havoc they create. She lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area.
Read an Excerpt
Toxic Defined in the Raw
Identifying the Faces
It takes a great deal of work to build healthy relationships. Don't be discouraged as you make the effort. Anything that grows requires daily nurturing. In the process, be aware the word "toxic" exists. Toxicity has become a worldwide phenomenon and a visible reality among every aspect of today's society.
Raising one's awareness of toxicity is like shining a bright light directly into a dark room — the darkness flees and only light remains. Toxicity is made up of negative elements or entities of any sort that attach to our being and bring on an unhealthy interaction. The following statement could be a prime example of a negative entity image: I thought I was over my depressive state but it still lingers. These negative entities cannot survive inside purity. To shine the light on toxic relationships, one must embrace the pure essence of self-esteem, self-love, and self-confidence. Negative entities contaminate our ability to acquire self-esteem, self-confidence, and happiness, hindering our vision of the greatness that lives around us. Such contamination drains our energy and leaves us feeling listless. It can happen easily and quickly.
Toxicity in the context of a bigger stage, like today's society, is readily apparent. The negative entity that creeps inside our circle is usually masked in a variety of shapes, sizes, and disguises — all creating conflict and damage. When the conflict erupts, we see the unhealthiness clearly. These unhealthy interactions become readily visible when our soldiers are on the battlefield fighting a war, when fathers fight against their sons, when mothers turn against their daughters, in the abandonment of and cruelty to our animals, in our emotions soaring against our feelings, in the abuse of alcohol and drugs, in the ugliness of illnesses and diseases — the list goes on. These unhealthy interactions become the norm and begin to make up our own relationships.
Life is full of relationships, giving ample opportunity for toxicity to rear its ugly head and find a home. Think about the people in your immediate circle — those you see on a daily basis. Do your interactions with any of them make you feel ashamed, embarrassed, or negative? Then think about people in your broader circle — those you see on a weekly or monthly basis — and ask yourself the same question.
What are some other words that describe toxicity? Thinking of synonyms can help you identify toxic relationships where you didn't expect to see one. I call these other words the "faces" of toxicity because they identify all the different ways toxicity can appear in our lives. I'll start with a couple ideas, and then you can take it away from there. Let's have some fun!
Toxic makes me think of ...
How many "faces" can you think of? Plenty more, I'm sure! Feel free to use bullet points to list your responses.
Now that you have the list, think about someone in your circle who fits one of the faces. What has made your interaction with them a toxic one? Were you initially aware of their disposition? How have you dealt with that person's toxicity?
Let's take a more in-depth look at ways you can be exposed to toxicity from a relationship standpoint.
Different relationships in their many disguises can be toxic when involving:
people (such as the boss-employee power struggle, colleague-colleague bullying, friend-friend verbal abuse, spouse-spouse manipulation, etc.)
diseases or illnesses (such as the Ebola virus, cancer, addiction, or PTSD)
emotions or feelings (such as rage, shame, worry, or bitterness)
Try to add to the list above, either as a new category or as examples of an existing category.
Identify some of the ways we are exposed to toxicity by filling in the blank spaces.
a _ _ _ _ _ s, b _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ s, d _ _ _ _ _ _ s, d _ _ _ s, e _ _ _ _ _ _ s, r _ _ _ _ _ _ _ s, and e _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ s.
It's extremely important to understand that toxic relationships occur regardless of one's sexual orientation. Living a healthy lifestyle shouldn't be a challenge. Yet we consistently engage in unhealthy relationships and situations. These questions will help you gauge your ability to identify those toxic relationships. We will discuss toxic relationships further in Section 7.
1) How does society define a toxic relationship?
2) Think about the unhealthy signs that signal toxicity in a romantic relationship. Name four of those signs. As you list them, describe what they look like inside the relationship. For example, abuse is a sign of toxicity and could look like one partner hitting the other, one partner calling the other ugly, or one partner telling the other, "No one will ever want you but me."
3) What is it about your relationships that require a change? You may want to define that change by starting with the following statements: I know I must ...; I will remove/give up ...
4) When you remove a toxic element from your life, you are left with free space. What would you like to add to that free space you've created? You may want to start with the following statement: I'm going to fill my free space with ...
5) a. Identify one relationship from the past that was extremely unhealthy, damaging, and suffocating. Write a message to yourself or partner relaying why you've moved on. Do this with no holds barred and remain true to self.
b. It's important you don't keep toxicity among your precious possessions. After writing the message, find a way to destroy it. You can send it to a friend, family member, or church; throw it in the garbage; rip it to shreds; bury it; cut it up; or burn it up! It doesn't matter how you rid yourself of this poison ... just remove it! After letting go of that negative entity, how does it feel? Be precise in your explanation. Tell it all — emotions, feelings, and overall satisfaction.CHAPTER 2
Letting Go to Rediscover Self
Every one of us will experience some form of a negative entity. This negativity isn't always the consequence of toxic relationships. There are other forms of toxicity to be considered — particularly within our own minds. These negative entities can be very damaging and harmful to our well-being. Cleansing one's life spiritually and emotionally is so refreshing. The discovery of self comes alive!
The journey of self-discovery is an ongoing process, a tough and rocky trail. As those emotions and surroundings are unveiled, the effects of self-discovery bring enlightenment, fulfillment, and clarity to your life. You begin to understand who you really are. While moving from one relationship to another, you give self space to heal. When you explore beneath the surface of yourself, the very essence of knowing your true being can open your eyes.
You and your partner may want to do things together as a unit, but don't lose yourself in the process. You'll be stumbling to find your way back. When you become a part of your partner and he/she becomes a replica of you, it won't be easy to see a clear picture of exactly who's who. Your thinking process vanishes and your identity disappears. Suddenly, you've become one and the same. You will have the same feelings and emotions, do the same things, say the same things, speak in the same manner, and act out the same way. In reality, you and your partner are different and separate people. It's important not to compromise your own identity for someone else, not even for romantic relationships or friends. Be true to yourself, and keep the inner you intact. Taking care of self may be a challenge, but think of it as a necessity.
Know when your identity has been stripped or lost. Otherwise, you won't recognize self. You have a life separate from your partner. No one can live it but you. Have you forgotten? You have your own identity ... don't become a shadow of your partner. If one of you absorbs the other's identity, it will be difficult to define who the Absorber is. Just be aware it happens. When it does, you won't even realize it or know yourself. You'll have a misconception of who you are. Self is a big part of who you are. Embrace that self-love and keep it intact!
So often we find ourselves lost in relationships because we don't know ourselves. With this exercise, you'll peel back one layer of self at a time. When it's all over, you'll find yourself — you, the one that is beautiful and unique!
Consider the journey you've taken thus far, and discover a piece of you in these questions: a) What do you not admire about yourself? State why you don't adore that characteristic.
b) What self-love habits do you possess? What are you doing to maintain those habits?
c) Make a list of your self-love desires/goals. In what order would you list them, starting with most important?
d) What obstacles do you face in acquiring self-love? List three adjustments you can make to overcome these obstacles.
e) Where are you in the process of obtaining self-love? Be honest with yourself, both about how far you have to go and how far you've come.
f) What about self makes you beautiful? Consider using the following statement to define your beauty: I am beautiful because of my ...
g) We all have special qualities. What makes your qualities unique? Consider using the following statement to define that uniqueness: I am unique because ...
Self or Selfish
This world is made up of all sorts of people. Regardless of their character and opinion of themselves, they are who they choose to be and deserve to be accepted. Are you at your best? Do you feel comfortable in your own skin? The most valuable and greatest relationship we'll have in life is with ourselves. It's important to remain true to one's self. We must be honest and forthright about who we are and how we perceive ourselves. Others, such as family, friends, and partners, may have their own perception of us and that's okay.
It takes dedication to "self-concepts" (self-confidence, self-love, etc.) to reach optimum satisfaction in life. Maybe you don't have the gall to stand up for what you know or like. You're comfortable in your shyness. You may like being a dependent and know you are needy. You may like being someone's punching bag. You may enjoy shedding tears. You may like hearing yourself speak and know you are a whiner. You may admire the way another person stands up for themselves. You may think having looks is more attractive than brains. You may think having pockets full of money will buy you a new image.
Sometimes, it's the truth about self that seems overly harsh or even becomes a hard pill to dissolve. The beauty of this life is feeling comfortable inside one's own skin. And that's what matters. This means accepting how poorly or negatively we see ourselves, how we look, how we think of ourselves, how we choose to describe ourselves, how we choose to act, and the value of having good self-esteem. It's important to know the value of one's self-esteem is measured by the positive or negative side of one's self-worth. When you're comfortable with self, you begin to embrace the world around you.
While there are many interesting and different people to be in life, I'd rather be myself. I have come to love this new me that lives inside my skin. My journey has been very enriching and fulfilling. With a new vision of who I am in hand, I've come to admire and embrace my self-concepts. I cannot imagine anything more rewarding than meeting wonderful people, appreciating the beauty of life, and exploring and experiencing all the wonders life has to offer. To be able to care about others, share knowledge, and have compassion — there is nothing like the enjoyment of it all. What a great life I have, and you can have too as you accept self! There are so many more wonders to life that makes me want to remain who I am. With all my qualities for kindness, friendliness, caring, and dependability, and more, I just love being me! Remember, a person's first impression of you will last. Don't be afraid to show the world the real you. Self can be beautiful when it's you!
If you could be someone other than yourself, who would you want to be? This could be a celebrity, a family member, or a friend. Perhaps you choose to remain as you are — yourself. Think out your reasoning clearly and you'll be surprised by the discoveries you have about self.
Put Your Mask on First
First and foremost, help yourself before taking care of others. Remember the words from every flight safety video: Before you assist anyone, always make sure your own oxygen mask is secured. This is so true! How can you help someone if your situation is in jeopardy or unstable? If you're not conscious of your own safety, the likelihood of survival is limited. Put your mask on first! What does this mean in regard to self? There are many ways one can take care of self and thereby condition themselves to nurture others. Some ways to take care of self include staying healthy in mind and body, avoiding drama, and being a peacemaker. What are some other ways you can take care of self?
Did you know self-nurture and self-care are core parts of who you are? When you begin to self-nurture, you're caring for self. Just as you have to put your mask on first, you will have to love yourself to practice self-care. Self-care is priceless and should be a top priority on any to-do list. When self-nurturing and self-caring come together, you've internally validated self. Consider relaxation a formula for one's physical and emotional wellness.
There are a variety of ways one nurtures and cares for self, but generally the activity should be done alone to focus on self. These are some simple suggestions:
Do some mediation while relaxing mind, body, and soul
Get your eyebrows trimmed or waxed
Have a hand and foot massage
Listen to your favorite music
Pop in a movie and indulge with popcorn or chips
See a play
Spend time at the gym working on self
Spend the day at the beach
Stay in your pajamas and indulge with strawberries and whipped cream
Take a nice long hot and soapy bubbly bath with a few scented candles around the tub
Take a nice long nap
Take a walk and enjoy the scenery
Watch cartoons and indulge with some snacks
What the heck, just do them all!
Seldom do we let go of those busy, stressful days that engulf our lives. Far too often we abuse ourselves. We find time for others and never give time for self. Taking care of self should not be a challenge but a priority. Give yourself some added self-love. You can even title it a Me Day. This will mean taking in a day with no stresses, no worries, and no undue pressures. Pick any day of the week. It doesn't matter what day you choose, just pick. You deserve it, and self will love you for it — physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Enjoy it, and have a beautiful Me Day!
* * *
Complete this information after taking a "Me Day."
What date and day did you choose?
What did you do to nurtugre yourself on this day?
How did it feel to have a "Me Day?"
How often will you do a "Me Day" (i.e., daily, weekly, or monthly)?
What will you do on your next "Me Day?" (This could be more than one activity.)CHAPTER 3
Why Journal ... Writing About Your Journey
Journeys: we all must take them! And when we do, there are lessons to be learned along the way. It is through these experiences one can learn to find self, discover the ability to forgive, build awareness, acquire first-hand knowledge, and gain personal growth. Life is about the hardships we face, the struggles we endure, and the challenges we overcome. Life is so full of stuff — the good, the bad, and the toxic. Through all that stuff, everyday life teaches us a new experience. Knowing that life brings on such beauty gives meaning to living!
Journaling is an art with a slew of synonyms — journal writing, journalizing, expressive writing, therapy writing, diary keeping. Those of us who haven't journaled before may be unaware of the beauty in journaling. When we take on the journal process, we're reaching into an emotional and physical pipeline to wellness. Look at journaling as a vehicle used to express emotions and a means to step into the past, present, and future. Be yourself, accept yourself, forgive yourself, and above all love yourself as you proceed through this guide of removing toxicity from your life! That's part of taking a journey and living.
Reasons for Journaling
Journaling is a great self-teaching vehicle! It functions as a private space of comfort and solace from the crazy world. It represents one's most genuine moments, shines on the ability to write, and digs deeper into one's feelings that may be difficult to voice aloud. Think of journaling as a reflector tool or a sounding board.
Journaling is a beautiful process as a healing medium. Beginning to journal is like expressively breaking through barriers and releasing the toxicants. Consider it a wound-healing process that nurtures the body and mind — physically, mentally, and emotionally. Journal writing is an exercise associated with therapy work.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall ... Where Does My Self-Love Fall?"
Copyright © 2018 Nina Norstrom.
Excerpted by permission of Boutique of Quality Books Publishing Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Reflect on ...,
1. Toxic Defined in the Raw,
2. Letting Go to Rediscover Self,
3. Why Journal ... Writing About Your Journey,
4. Emotional Wellness and Toxic Emotions,
5. Young Adults Dating-N-Violence,
6. Signs of Being Toxic,
7. Relationships from All Angles,
8. Toxicity in the Workplace,
9. Combating Abuse and Violence,
10. Healthy Is the New Me,
11. Living Safe Within My Circle,
12. Living Healthy, Thinking Healthy, Being Healthy,
Appendix A: More Ingredients,
Appendix B: In the News,
About the Author,