Where Does Self Worth Come From?By
I received the following question from a reader;
“Darlene, I wish I would wake up one morning with this deep sense of my own self worth. How did that happen for you? Was it something you had to think about enough before you felt it, or did you just feel it right away? This is where I’m struggling. I still so easily cave in to someone else’s opinion of me. And I see that valuing myself is at the heart of my entire future of healing and thriving.”
This was a long process for me; in fact this might be the definition of the 2nd process. ( I have come to see my process in two parts: the first part where I got the help I needed for my mental health issues and became a whole person and the second part where I learned how to live in that wholeness)
I certainly didn’t wake up one morning feeling a sense of my worth and identity and resolving never to be defined by anyone else ever again! As I have written before, after digging deeply into the root causes of my dissociative identity disorder and chronic depression, I began sorting out the truth from the false about myself with the help of my therapist. This was what I call part one of my recovery.
Next I learned to listen to the little voice in my head that caused me to doubt myself all the time.
In one of the self help programs that I used to be in, I had been taught to ignore the nagging self doubts and little messages of fear in my head. In my process of permanent recovery, I learned to listen to that voice and even respond to it. This was very frightening in the beginning because I was afraid that the voice was actually true!
First of all, I identified whose voice it really was. When I first started to learn how to do this, the voice I would identify would not be my own, but would be my mothers, or brothers, or an ex boyfriend. I would ask the voice what else it had to say to me, and I would keep listening to it until it had nothing else to say. The deeper that I went with this process, the more illogical and childlike the things that would come to my mind (the voice) would sound.
This process made me realize where my low self esteem and limiting beliefs came from in the first place, and also made me realize that most of my fears and beliefs were no longer valid. The more that I repeated this process, the more I realized that I was the one in my own way and that underneath those other voices, was my own voice telling me that I was not really valuable, or loveable or capable etc.
I realized soon enough that this was the core of my survival system and that I had used it since I was very young. My inner world was so rooted in self protection that deep down I was afraid to define myself as worthy, capable, confident, beautiful, and smart- all those true words about me- in case my new life of wholeness was going to be dangerous! Those voices and beliefs were a form of protection, but they were also counterproductive to my new life of freedom and they were holding me back in the past where I was unhappy, and broken.
This is a hard question to answer in one post, but I am sure I will be expanding on it in the future. I thank you for asking and welcome anyone that wishes to remain anonymous to either use a fake name or nick name in the comments section, or use the contact page and your questions will be answered this way.
~Wishing you the best of mental health!