There was a long period of my life when how I felt about myself was tied up with my behavior in the moment. Worked out today? YAY – you’re worthy and I’ll nourish you. Not worked out? You suck – no nourishment for you.
If I did ‘something wrong’ I would beat myself up for days and hate every single fibre of my being.
Whether or not I was worthy, whether or not I deserved to be happy, to nourish, to be loved, to be was all tied up in whether or not I was behaving the way I told myself I had to.
For me, unconditional self-worth was a hard one to put into practice. It was so ingrained in me that I wasn’t worthy, after a life time of being told and beieving it from many soures, that the idea that I actually was fundamentally worthy was totally alien to me.
Self-worth has to come before self-esteem. If you don’t believe you are worthy, how can you feel good about yourself?
Following the break up of my marriage, and my own breakdown, I had to look deep inside. I realised my worth was tied up in my actions. I only felt worthy if I was acting a certain way. I told myself I was bad. Unloveable. Unworthy. I treated myself accordingly, and looked for signs to back up what I believed.
A lack of unconditional self-worth can look like
- a strugging to set personal boundaries
- doubt anyone will love you
- let others walk all over you
- struggle to vocalise your needs
- put others needs above your own
- settle for less
- put too much weight in others opinions of you
- can’t accept compliments.
Finding unconditional self worth isn’t easy, it’s asking you to change a lifetimes way of thinking. But it can be done. I put in a lot of self work to learn to feel worthy – and to not tie that worth to anything.
I began by journaling, by looking at my core beliefs about myself – that I was unworthy, unloveable, undeserving, a bad person. Why did I think that? What proof did I have? Was that proof real or was I projecting onto other people? Where did these feelings come from? This was hard, becuase I believed those things about myself. I forced myself to really, really queestion each and every one.
Next, I started working with some mantras. I choose ones that were the opposite of those core beliefs – so something like ‘I am worthy and deserving of love’. Ast first it felt cheesy as hell, and so awkward. I’d write in it my journal eery morning and evening, I had it on a note on my mirror, I even had it set as a reminder on my phone. If I found myself feeling any of those old feelings, I’d repeat the mantra over and over again. It was something that I did conciously for three or four months before I began to notice that those old thoughts weren’t creeping in so often, and when thye did I would catch them and change them to more postive ones without even realising.
I stopped trying to people please. I’d spent y life so sure that no one could possibly love or even like me as I was, so I tried to overcomplentsate by going out of my way to please others. Seeing how unhealthy that was, I focused on putting my needs first. It meant I lost friends who didn’t agree that my way was the right way for me – but what kind of friend doesn’t want what is best for you?
I spent a lot of time really thinking about what it was I wanted. About who I was and what I believed. I created a new set of core mantras to shape my life around. I started doing things that were in my best interests instead of putting myself last.
Building my self-worth took a long time, and a lot of hard work. Ensuring that I value myself regardless of what else is giong on in my life has transformed my life, the way that I react to waht life throws at me,and the way that I interact with the world around me.