Self Esteem and Seeking Validation from OthersBy
I needed someone to validate my existence. I wanted someone who could tell me that I was worth the air that I breathed. But because I didn’t believe that I had value, I didn’t believe anyone who attempted to tell me that I did. If I met someone who liked me, I wondered what they wanted from me. I wondered if they were sincere; I was sure that they must have a hidden motive. If a waiter in a restaurant treated me like my business didn’t matter I was hurt and my mind would start spinning about why he was treating me that way. I would examine every single sentence that we exchanged, looking inward for something that I must have done to cause this attitude in him. By the same token if a waiter was really nice and attentive to me, I wondered if he was only doing it for the tip.
If friends invited me over, it wasn’t long before I questioned if it was because they wanted my company, or because they wanted me bring cooking or baking. Did they need an extra girl? Did they want to play a joke on me? I was always second guessing everyone and everything because of my history with abuse, but I also second guessed everyone, because I was always second guessing me. That was the way that my mind operated because that was the way my mind was trained to operate. If my mother told me that I looked nice, I wondered what she wanted; subconsciously I braced myself for what was coming next…. continued
That was just the way that it was. All through the history of my life, people complimented me when they had a motive. Something bad was surly going to follow. I could not trust anyone because I had never learned that there were people that were trustworthy. To make matters worse, I was comfortable and even attracted to the familiar abusive types who DID have motives, and who were not trustworthy. I was so mixed up that I mistrusted the people that didn’t have wrong motives, MORE than I suspected the ones who did. The foundation for relationship was never built properly in my life. I operated from a faulty and dangerous platform.
This was the never ending spin that existed in my mind; I wanted someone to love me. I didn’t believe anyone could. I didn’t love myself. I couldn’t because I didn’t think I was worthy. I wanted to let live fully and free of the guilt and shame, but I kept thinking someone else could affirm that I was worthy of freedom. I thought someone else could change my low self esteem. I thought someone else could restore me and convince me that “ME” was good enough. But I didn’t believe it in the first place so round and round it goes.
I had shared my story with others several times with seemingly no success, partly because I was not having any impact on myself. I was so disconnected from myself I couldn’t even hear myself. It was in realizing that I didn’t relate what happened to ME, as having happened to me, that I realized why I was always in that emotional spin and always in my head invalidating myself. I also realized that I had to find a way to reconnect to myself and I did that by talking about the events of my past, big events, little events, sexual abuse and emotional abuse and HEARING myself. And then I listened to the feedback from safe people who heard me. I heard me, others heard me and validated me and through all of that I was able to finally really see the value that I have as an individual human being. Not the value that was given to me by someone else. Not the lack of value that I had been defined by others with. I had to hear and accept THE TRUTH about me by taking a look at the lies I believed about me.
The process of re-wiring the belief system is hard because I learned what I believed about myself from such a young age; it was all I knew. But consider this: I was not born all messed up. I did not get the idea from my own mind that I was not good enough. I was not born with pre judgements about my own value. My self esteem (or rather lack of it) was given to me; it was taught to me. The lack of trust that I had was CAUSED by others. There were reasons for the depressions, the struggles, the nervousness and anxiety. But I wasn’t born that way.
This understanding has been one of the most effective core truths on my journey to wholeness
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