What has determined your self-worth? The opinions of others? Your parents? Your children?
I know my parents greatly affected my self-worth as a child. I was the child to be seen an not heard. I had no opinion, I was allowed no opinion. I couldn’t disagree or I would be slapped, yelled at or both. I would try to please both of my parents by being the best student in school and achieving the honor roll every year but that wasn’t good enough. I was told I didn’t deserve it, so somehow I still failed. When I was small I was belittled for wanting to be pretty. Yet told I wasn’t feminine enough and was such a disappointment.
I was isolated from having a social life, I wasn’t allowed to have friends over. I learned to be alone. I got my share of spankings, whoopings and bruises, but it wasn’t child abuse those days. No bones broken, only hearts, ego and self-esteem. Their criticism would make me feel worthless, like I was not loved or valued in their eyes. It took a long time for criticism to lose its grip on me.
But parents aren’t the only ones who can help influence your self-worth. As you grow older, you go to school, classmates, teachers and the world in general feed into this feeling of not good enough, that something is wrong with you. That something is lacking within you, that you’re broken somehow. You may get married, you may even marry someone that feeds into your low self-esteem because that’s what you think your worth, that’s what you are used to. You marry someone just like your parents. You don’t think you are worth better than that. Eventually however, marriages can’t sustain a low self-esteem or self-confidence, you have created self-defeating behaviors in your life and self-destructive behaviors that destroy a marriage.
Or you can grow, you may have children and begin to realize you want better for them, they deserve a healthy self-image. You grow and realize that you deserve this same healthy self-image that you are worth more, that you are intelligent, beautiful and have love to offer. You realize that all these people telling you otherwise were either manipulating you to their own egos or just didn’t know better. Didn’t know the damage they were creating. Didn’t know how words could be so damaging and hurtful. You know not do to this, and break the cycle. You can’t shield your children from the hurtful words and actions of others, but you can reassure them they can achieve anything they want to be, that they are beautiful as they are, that you are proud of them and love them exactly for who they are.
So you grow along with them, you grow strong, you grow independent, you learn that these are only words after all, they don’t reflect who YOU really are. These people didn’t know the real you or your soul. Only you know you. Only you can be who you want to be and achieve what you want to achieve. If you want to raise your children without the issues you had as child you have to break the pattern and you have to start with yourself. It isn’t an easy path, you may slip and falter along the way. But you get up and move forward again and again. And leave a marriage that is destructive for you and for your children.
The self-defeating behaviors and self-destructive words can sneak up on us. For example, have you ever looked in the mirror and thought to yourself, “I’m too fat”, I’m too old”, or I’m just not smart enough for that job.”? I know I have. We have to turn these thoughts around, yes, we may look in the mirror and see that we look tired, but that’s not too old, we may see that we have gained weight, but we are not too fat, look closely, look at that smile, those beautiful eyes, (hint: always smile, it makes you look so much younger, and more beautiful. The more you smile, the better you feel anyway) . Those wrinkles you see, you earned those laugh lines. I always said I wanted to grow old gracefully. Believe it or not, I do think I am. I’m not skinny, far from it, I call myself voluptuous, it makes me sound like one of those Ruben paintings, I like that. I’m not young, but not old by any means, and as long as I can dance, smile, work, travel, try something new once in a while, like last year when I went indoor skydiving. I do believe I will stay a young hearted soul.
We need to take all those old thoughts we had about ourselves and turn them around. That’s what I want you to do right now. Make a list of all those thoughts that make you think that you are not good enough for that job you want, for that love you think you deserve, for that cute little outfit you have been eyeing in the store. Now, on the other side of the paper, Write down all the reasons why you deserve and are good enough, because. YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH. Write that all over that paper. You deserve everything you want. There is absolutely no one more qualified for that love than you, you are kind and loving. You have a lot of love to give. There are millions of people out there, someone is out there looking for you too. The time just hasn’t come yet. That cute little outfit? Why not? What is keeping you from getting it? You don’t think you deserve it? Why not, who better than you? You can’t afford it? Save up! You’ve worked hard for it. You don’t think you’ll look good in it? Try it on, you’ll be surprised, just how good you’ll look, if you see that it’s not your style, you might find something even better. If not today, tomorrow. You want that new job? Put in that resume, ask for it! You never will get it unless you ask.
Self-defeating behaviors can make you doubt yourself when you risk success, when you try for something new, when you even fail at something new. But even when you fail, at least you tried. And when you try, you have moved forward, you have taken that step that you would have never done before. Don’t allow yourself anymore self-destructive thoughts. If you need to, remind yourself daily of your self-worth, with daily affirmations. Tape them to your mirrors or write them on your mirrors in lipstick and repeat them to yourself every time you walk by. The more you hear them, the more you believe them, the more they become who you are and the more confident you will become. And guess what, people see this, they recognize you for a self-assured person, you will find success becomes easier to achieve. Problems become less, anxieties become less stressful. Your whole life in general becomes more peaceful.
I’m going to include some affirmation images in my image gallery that I use for myself as screensavers that you can use as well and I will also include at the end of this blog some links to some other blogs that have some very nice affirmations that I think you should start using on a daily basis. You will discover how much different self-confidence and an increase in your self-worth makes you feel and you will see results in the positive attitude that you will begin to receive from others as well.