Sunday, September 09, 2007

Believing in Ourselves, pt. 2

Over and over the comment comes up (here and elsewhere) that it’s so hard to believe we’re worth loving or taking care of or are good enough.

And I think that’s what scares us the most—that if we look, we’ll discover we aren’t. If we don’t look, maybe we can pretend a little longer that we might be.

It colors everything we do and all our relationships with other people.

If we aren’t good enough:

1) How can we take chances in our careers? How can we believe we’ll really succeed?

2) How can we risk letting anyone else close?

3) How can anyone possibly love us and if they do how can we believe they aren’t somehow flawed?

4) How can we trust we won’t be hurt?

5) How can we do new things if we don’t believe we can do things right or well?

6) How can we look at and acknowledge the things we want because if we do it will hurt so much when we can’t have them and how can we possibly have them when we’re so unworthy?

7) We may tend to punish ourselves—before God or anyone else can do so and maybe do it worse.

8) We may walk on eggshells with people trying to make it up to them for having to deal with us or we may try to be perfect so they don’t get fed up and say we’re too much trouble and abandon us.

9) We may tolerate abuse—overt or covert—because we assume that’s how things will always be for us and maybe that it’s even what we deserve.

None of the above is likely to surprise anyone reading here. I post it to remind us all of what it costs not to find a way to value ourselves. And that’s just flat out unfair to the child inside who got hurt—maybe very badly—at some point in our lives. That child inside deserves to be loved and cherished and protected.

It comes down to responsibility. We have a responsibility to protect that child inside us. No matter who has done what to us in the past, this is NOW and it’s our responsibility to make sure no one hurts that child again—not even us.

That means making a conscious choice to make a list of things that make us smile—and do them EVERY SINGLE DAY.

That means making a conscious choice to treat ourselves with kindness and respect even when—no, ESPECIALLY WHEN we don’t think we deserve it.

That means making a conscious choice to learn how to protect ourselves from bullies of all kinds—verbal and physical. (Again, I strongly recommend Take the Bully by the Horns, by Sam Horn.)

That means making a conscious choice to challenge the old messages, the distorted beliefs we’ve carried around way too long.

And I know it doesn’t happen instantly. Heck, I’m writing a story right now and there are moments when it cuts like a knife to my heart to realize something my heroine sees about herself and her life that I hadn’t known I didn’t know about my own.

I’m still learning. I’m still growing. I’m still discovering those hidden pockets of self-doubt. (And I don’t know any human being who doesn’t have them.) It’s like breaking a bad habit, the habit of seeing ourselves as unworthy. The only way that happens is to replace it with a new vision of ourselves and opening ourselves up to the possibility that it could be a very good one.

And the good news is that every step we take toward doing so, no matter how tiny, makes it easier to take the next.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),
April_optimist

4 comments:

Karma said...

I know that this is a really central issue for me - believing in myself. So, I really appreciate your posts and guidance on the issue.

keepers said...

us too, believing in our ourselves has been central to our recovery and healing and it was not easy. this has to be a major issue with everyone in our shoes.

thanks for saying it again

keepers

motherwintermoon said...

"Challenge the old messages." Metamorphosis is a beautiful process!

April_optimist said...

I think it is a major issue and so central to our healing. Once we "get" it, our whole lives can change.