Finding Our Strength
|March 26, 2012||Posted by Jenny Ann Fraser under Feast...|
Back in February I had announced a plan to create a series dedicated to what I have learned about finding personal self-worth. Then I disappeared.
Rather than wasting words explaining why this happened, (the short version is that I allowed myself to get side-tracked by life) I will simply continue on from where I left off with a better plan than I had at that time. This would be because I now have a plan…
For so many years of my life, I have struggled with self-worth. For a long time I lived in a space where I was completely incapable of believing that I was worthy of anything good, from acquiring a decent apartment to believing that I should eat. For a long time, I struggled to find reasons why I should stay alive.
Fortunately, I did choose life, and with the help of a few years with an excellent therapist, my own determination, and a willingness to embrace new ways of thinking, I found my way to a healthier place.
Growth, is somewhat relative. On one hand, I could see how far I had come from my darkest days, giving me every reason to believe that I had achieved a state of emotional health but over time, I became aware that I was still making choices in my life that didn’t serve me. The underlying belief that I was less worthy than others had diminished, but not enough that I was capable of accepting the best for my life, and so I began phase two of learning to love myself.
I made it. I now love myself, and realize that I was always worthy of love, compassion, connection, joy and abundance. The whole concept of Arriving at Your Own Door was born out of this revelation, and I would love for everyone to have the opportunity “Arrive” at their own doors. Wherever that may lead, it’s a great door.
As mentioned in my last post; Look At Me! I’m Better Than a Crack Addict!, I believe that we live in a culture that programs us to fail at loving ourselves (which leads to failure in many other areas). Every time you turn around there will be someone or something to tell you why you need to be better, and that someone else is, so it is no wonder that all around me, I see others struggling to believe in themselves and their dreams and goals. I hate seeing this. We rob the world of the best we have to offer when we can’t believe that we have a best to offer or that it is enough. We hurt not only ourselves, but also others with our own insecurities and dysfunctional ideas and fears about worth.
For years, I would look back on that terrible dark time in my past life with an overwhelming feeling of shame for having succumbed to mental illness in the form of anxiety and depression. This wasn’t due to not understanding my illness as much as it was due to how others might judge me because of it. There are many who would be less than kind then and now, but I recognize that those who don’t get it are simply misguided. They are not correct in their assumptions about me or my past and their errors are not something that I choose to spend my energy worrying about. By not being open, I cannot share what I have learned and that would be sad indeed. Knowing how much I have learned from my experiences makes having to endure even the worst of my past worth it all. I might not have the joy that I celebrate today without that history.
Over the next few weeks, I will be writing what I believe is what we all need to know if we are going to truly learn to love ourselves and others. It would be nice if we could spend our lives knowing this without having to hit bottom and climb our way back.
Of course, everyone’s journey is entirely different so I cannot believe that there is only one way to achieve any goal. Whatever get’s one to state of health and happiness is all good as long as it doesn’t impede the journey of anyone else.
In the coming weeks I will be tackling the concepts that I believe got me to where I am today and since how we think determines how we feel, it makes sense to me that this will work for others.
I will be taking a look at:
The Myth of Perfection: How aspiring to be more than we are capable of in this moment can prevent us from becoming more capable in the future.
Accepting What Was: We are not our pasts, which is a good thing because there is nothing we can do to change them.
Letting Go of Harsh Judgments: We are never more critical of others than we are of ourselves. Letting go of judging others harshly and finding our own compassion is a necessary step to letting go of harsh and cruel beliefs about ourselves.
Making Mistakes: It is impossible to learn anything difficult without making mistakes so why do we fear them so much?
Looking Within: Nothing external will give you the feelings of self-worth you are looking for. Outside circumstances can change at the drop of a hat and don’t determine our value. Learn to look within and love what you find.
Re-writing Your Story: No, we can’t change the past but we can change our relationship with it. There are always multiple angles from which to view any situation. Change the viewpoint and you change the story.
Practicing Gratitude: One of the biggest keys to my joy in life is focusing on all that I have to be grateful for, even when it is less than ideal.
Loving Ourselves: It can be done. Really.
What to do when we get there: This might just be where the real fun begins!
Part One of my Feast On Your Life Series: Look At Me! I’m Better Than A Crack Addict!