Admitting that you’re struggling emotionally takes courage.
Take it from me.
I tried to hide my inner pain for many years, wearing plenty of masks. That is, until I finally got to a point where I just didn’t have an ounce of energy left to do anything.
I was done. I was in tremendous inner pain, shame, fear, and apathy. I remember trying so hard to come off as this strong, independent, successful woman because I didn’t want anyone to know how hollow I was inside. I felt weak. I also felt if I talked about it with others, they would judge me.
After I hit an emotional bottom, I reached out for help. I just didn’t know how to process the intense, negative emotions I was experiencing. I sought help in a codependency support group and a therapist.
I remember the first months of codependency recovery being very tough emotionally. I did not know how to handle my emotions and believe me – I had plenty! I remember feeling like a piece of dirt. I felt sad, lonely, and full of regret.
My self-worth was below zero on a scale.
Do you ever struggle with not feeling good enough?
Like no matter what you do, you’re just empty? Less than others? Miserable?
If so, I understand – and I feel for you.
For me, I started digging into my childhood to see if I’d experienced trauma that was contributing to depression, anxiety, and low self-worth. I did some digging myself and also with a therapist.
You see, lots of factors play a role in the way we see ourselves today, including our childhood environment, circumstances, relationships, and so on. Dysfunctional childhoods tend to foster poor self-esteem in children. Lack of warmth and encouragement growing up minimizes self-worth.
Likewise, using alcohol and drugs have the same effect. They are certainly “downers” and can strip self-worth incredibly fast.
If you struggle with low self-worth, consider doing some inner self-exploration. You can do this on your own and/or with the help of a qualified therapist. There are also some wonderful support groups you can attend to grow stronger emotionally and socially. In fact, many allow you to get a sponsor (mentor) and work through 12 Steps to help you get to know yourself better.
My sponsor in Codependents Anonymous was a godsend. She was there for me no matter what – on my good days and my horrible days. I remember calling her when my emotions were so out of control and I’m thinking to myself “She must think I’m absolutely insane!”
However, she was always there for me. She picked up the phone knowing she was going to hear some dramatic, cry baby story. Yet she never judged me. She affirmed my experience and encouraged me. That unconditional love helped me baby step my way to gaining self-worth.
As you dig into your past a bit, commit to healing what needs healed and then letting it go. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Forgive society. Take full responsibility for your level of happiness. You are not your past.
Make a list of positive affirmations. If you think and say these out loud, you will begin to feel differently about yourself. You don’t have to feel sad, miserable, or resentful. You can feel happy, joyous, and free – at least the majority of the time!
Here are some positive affirmations you can print out and repeat often out loud. As you do, your self-esteem and worth will be given a good boost:
· I love myself for who I am.
· I am worthy of love from myself and others.
· I am a beautiful, thoughtful, and caring person.
· My future is whatever I make it.
· I have plenty of talents and skills.
· People like me for who I am.
· I am always learning and growing as a person.
· I am a good friend to others.
· I am a good employee, mother, father, etc.
· I easily let go of my past. It is over.
You can also read inspirational and encouraging books and watch videos to increase your self-worth. There are plenty of free resources online. Take some time to invest in yourself in various ways.
Change is a process and it’s progress you’re after; not perfection.
I believe in you and I am cheering you on.
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