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The Survivor's Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse
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ISBN-1573440795

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This book offers an affirming, sex-positive approach to recovery from incest and rape.

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Dr. Laura Russell’s Column



Liking Yourself
by Laura Russell, PhD

Liking yourself while you grow isn’t easy. There are new ways of looking at yourself and at life for you to learn.

Here are some principles of liking yourself while you grow:

  • You are not wrong, bad or shameful for who you are.
  • You are not bad, wrong or shameful for how you are this moment in time.
  • Mistakes are a normal part of growth.
  • You cannot know what you have not yet learned.

There is a deeper real truth underlying the principles of liking yourself while you grow. You are not bad or wrong to have the life problems you have. What you experience really makes a whole lot of sense given your given your life story, current life events, and heredity.

This makes you NORMAL. Your feelings, you troubles, and even your faults are all understandable.

Examine yourself from this point of view. Really think about it.

What you think, feel and the current struggles you have are all logical, natural, and normal outgrowths of everything that has happened to you up until now.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you want to remain in this space. You might. That is for you to decide.

Nor does this mean you have to remain in this space. It means you can like yourself for the person you are right now in this moment.

Since you are reading this, you are a growing person. That’s a good reason to like yourself!

You are a person who is fighting your person history. Trying to grow and experience as much of life as possible. These are admirable qualities.

You can alter how you treat yourself over time. Probably you are mentally criticizing yourself for some difficulty you have right now. You say mean things to yourself every time you have that difficulty. You make yourself ‘wrong’ for that difficulty.

There are many techniques you can try to alter this thinking behavior. I write about this in much greater depth in my book. This is just a brief list of activities that people use to change how they treat themselves.

  • Positive self-talk
  • Make an acknowledgement list of all your activities
  • Spend time with people who like you
  • Limit time with people who criticize you
  • Acknowledge the self critical feelings from your past
  • Reason with yourself, challenging the critical thoughts

This next statement is so important; you cannot hear it too much. Growth takes time, lots of time. No matter how motivated you are, you cannot grow emotionally as fast as you can think.

Experiment with one of the activities. Try them one at a time. See how it works. Choose the activities that fit with your personal style. Normal experience is that this is a living process.

Positive self-talk is something I probably will need to work on all the rest of my life. The second item, keeping a list of positive activities, is something I worked on for at least six months. And reasoning with myself is a task I have not yet mastered when I begin to criticize myself.

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