Menu

Overcoming Low Self-Worth

HomeForumsEmotional MasteryOvercoming Low Self-Worth

New Reply

This topic contains 11 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  LisaS 6 years, 3 months ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #39447

    Richele
    Participant

    For a long time now I have been struggling with poor self-worth. Some examples: I have turned down men who were romantically interested in me because I inherently distrust them; I can’t think of any reason a person would want to be with me, unless it is because they assume I’m desperate and want to take advantage. I have found jobs that interested me, but not applied for them because I was certain I wasn’t good enough to get – or do – the job. I often fear that my friends don’t really like me, and only hang out with me because they feel sorry for me. When I was participating in a friend’s blog challenge, one of the questions was “What are you proud of?” and I became totally paralyzed when I tried to think of an answer.

    I know that I would respond to a friend who expressed these concerns with love. I’ve read other forums and articles. I’m familiar with the responses I am likely to get – that I need to develop self-compassion, that I need to accept myself, that I am worthy, beautiful, unique, etc. The thing is, when I hear this sort of advice – even when it is very good advice – I always think “but if they knew me (and especially if they saw me, because I am overweight and really despise myself for it) they would say differently.”
    I believe, very much, in the truth of compassionate words for other people. What I want to know is, how can I learn to believe in these words for myself, too? I read articles on sites like this one saying “everyone is worthy of love” and other lovely sentiments like that – but my subconscious reads these words and adds “except me.” Every time. And I can’t figure out how to overcome this.

    How can I escape this negative place and get to a place where I can start healing?
    Any words of wisdom are much appreciated.
    Thank you!

    #39453

    Matt
    Participant

    Richele,

    I’m sorry for all the difficulties you’re going through, and to have a low self worth can be very painful and disorienting. Everyone deserves love, and we can all develop self worth… yada yada, I get it… you don’t hear or feel the resonance of those kinds of words. So what in the world is going wrong?

    What I feel from your words is you think you’re special and unique. Ha! Sure, there is a certain genetic uniqueness that each one of us have, but millions of people are just like you in their struggles, and failing just like you. You’re so boring and ordinary that you struggle to be unique… you’re a bag of flesh and blood like billions of others who try to find peace and joy. “Except you”? Ha! Ridiculous! Do you know how utterly idiotic that sounds? Like somehow your “special circumstance” makes the wisdom and compassion of others somehow not apply to you? Puuhhlease. Get over yourself.

    Suck it up and follow the heartfelt advice you’ve been reading. It isn’t like a magic switch that just “turns on the love”, rather it is a practice, a process. You’re not “unhelpable”, just lazy and too ashamed to admit it. That voice in your head that says “I can’t” is not your friend, its a parasite that grew from your inaction. Said differently, you think you can’t because you haven’t, and have decided to hide instead of standing up and making all your dreams come true.

    Whew, now that’s out of the way… consider that each difficulty you’re suffering with is solvable. There is always a path to joy, and many, many wise men and women have transcended space and time and brought back insights which help lead us there. We only have to trust them enough to get up, to expose our wound in the mirror… because once we decide to look deeply at who we are and awaken, we gain confidence that what we are doing is correct, because as we do it, we feel better. We know what we are saying, because we’ve been through it.

    So, get up! If you’re unhappy with who you are, write a list of what you see as wrong with who you are today (which you cycle through your head anyway, so it should be easy) and then pick one, any one, and do one thing to make it different… to grow. Even something like painting your nails, doing five minutes of meditation or a walk around the block. Take the first step, you can do it! I know it. Know. It. The whole world is waiting for you, but only your feet will take you there.

    I’m sorry if my words have been painful… you asked “where is my wound” and hopefully the words buzzed loud enough (as i poked it) that your unhelpful voice quieted enough that you know not only are you seen, but you are loved. My heart goes out to you distant sister, and I wish you well along the joyous path right in front of you.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #39459

    kaya
    Participant

    Richele,

    I just want you to know that you are not alone. I am going through a similar situation right now and it has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do in my life….to accept and love myself the way I am. For many years I hid away from my insecurities and avoided them by drinking and distracting myself. I realized that it was no longer serving me and I wanted to get in touch with my true authentic self, so I decided to face my fears and really get in touch with who I really am. It has definitely been a struggle, but as Matt said, when you can identify with what is troubling you, you can figure out a solution. For so many years I’ve had body issues and insecurities that came along with it. I struggled with a very low self-esteem and felt unworthy of love because I associated appearance with happiness and acceptance. We live in a world of illusions, and it is so easy for us to become distracted and lose sight from who we truly are. I have really been learning to trust my inner voice (I have noticed 2 voices, I call one my ego voice–the one who tells me I am worthless and can’t do anything, and the voice of my higher self, or my intuition). My ego voice is extremely active, and when I attach myself to the negative thoughts that come from it, I lose sight of who I truly am and fall into a deep dark place. I am learning to listen to my higher voice now, and even when a negative thought comes from my ego voice, I learn to let it pass and not attach myself to it (I know, it’s easier said than done, but with practice, it becomes easier). Just know that you can do it, even if it seems impossible–and you will become so much stronger for facing your fears and insecurities. Like I said, it can be extremely challenging but be patient and persistent. There are many times when I feel like I want to give up but I just force myself to keep going….have faith in yourself. Hang in there, my thoughts are with you 🙂

    Kaya

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by  kaya.
    #39461

    Zenhen
    Participant

    Richele,

    Thank you for sharing your struggles on this forum. I can’t really offer my advice but I can offer my experience. I too struggled and continue to struggle with feelings of low self worth. Although others consider me to be highly attractive, smart, funny, lovable, etc, I never believe them. I kept this hidden for a very long time, even to myself. When I started my spiritual quest and opening up my heart more, these feelings of inadequacy and low self worth started to rise to the surface. I had to dig really deep to figure out the source. I have everything that people would want: a good job, attractive and kind boyfriend, great network of friends but I still feel crappy and like I deserve none of it. I always felt that boyfriends just wanted me for my body and that they never really loved me. Many have tried to prove their love to me and it was never enough. I always felt like friends were only around because of the things I did for them. I felt like no one really loved me but just wanted to use me. I felt undeserving of good things. Most of all I felt like a fraud because my outside life didn’t match what I was feeling on the inside. I portrayed this confident and “perfect” persona. Really it was all a cover up.

    So when I began to try to eradicate these feelings with positive thoughts it wasn’t working. I became depressed and gained a lot of weight to fill the void inside and also so that men would not be attracted to me. I began to truly see myself in a terrible light, even to the point of not deserving life. I realized that these feelings were not the illness but a symptom. Earlier childhood sexual abuse and verbal abuse really impacted my view of myself. I looked at myself through lenses smeared with shame and guilt. I felt despicable and immediately was disgusted by anyone who claimed to love me because I could not love myself. As hard as it was, I wrote all of these feelings down as bluntly as possible. For example, I don’t deserve love, no one will ever love me because I am ugly, and I deserved to be abused and lucky to receive it. I just wrote until I couldn’t write anymore. I was disturbed and shocked to see the final result. I couldn’t believe all of these nasty, illogical feelings that I had about myself. Revealing these buried feelings were quite painful and hard to swallow, however I felt like a burden was lifted. I showed them to my boyfriend and he couldn’t even began to comprehend how it is that I saw myself in that light and he said you know none of it is true. I said I know that but I don’t feel that. This was the epiphany moment for me. I had to change my feelings not my thoughts. I had to have a change of heart. I saw every interaction I had with another person through my warped perspective and I used any kind of normal behavior as “evidence” and reconfirmation of how I felt. I started realizing it had nothing to do with others but because I felt this way I was always going to “see” that people are using me or don’t care, etc.

    Looking at the list really helps me realize just how untrue these emotions are. I wouldn’t recommend writing this list out until you are truly ready. Also seek help from a professional to help you because they will be able to give you an objective perspective. Things didn’t get better for me immediately but change takes time and patience. Just admitting these feelings alone were half the battle. You took the plunge and opened yourself up today so you are already half way there. Seek ways to improve your situation but do so wisely. If your weight bothers you, work on losing it but do so kindly. Love your body the way it is now and appreciate all that it has endured. Don’t lose weight in the mindset that I am an ugly person and I must lose weight to be beautiful. I did this. I gained weight because I felt ugly on the inside and I needed it to match my outside and I didn’t want men close to me because of my abuse. Also it would confirm the negative beliefs that I held of being unattractive. Then when I lost weight, I was my own worst enemy criticizing myself for being fat and ugly. I lost too much weight again making myself unattractive. Looking back, I created a lot of situations in my life to confirm what I was already feeling inside. I would say to take a deep look inside because no matter what your external circumstances may be you will still feel worthless if you don’t find the root cause of your feelings of low self worth. It took me time to realize this. Once you do find it, accept it. Be understanding of how you got there. Accept that we all carry hurt, pain, self sabotaging tendencies and be thankful that you have room for improvement. Just don’t confuse improvement with perfection. Also weaknesses are only windows of opportunity. You said that you had nothing to be proud of. I want to say that I am proud of you for opening up and for sharing. Because you were brave enough to share with us, I was brave enough to share of myself. Thank you and I send my warmest wishes to you and all the love in the world!

    #39503

    Richele
    Participant

    Thanks for your honest response. I never thought of negative thoughts as being potentially narcissistic – that is a really interesting pint of view.

    #39504

    Richele
    Participant

    Thank you for your support, Kaya. I really like the concept of the ego voice – I think mine has been shouting really loudly and if I can learn to turn down the volume, I will be off to a good start. Reminds me of a quote: “Pride is not the opposite of shame, but it’s source.” (Matt’s answer also reminds me of this)

    #39505

    Richele
    Participant

    Hi Zenhen,

    Thank you for your compassionate words. I really identify with the idea of knowing but not feeling.

    I was near tears reading your story. Thank you for having the courage to share it. While it seems you have already come to realize this, I want to tell you that no one (NO ONE, EVER) deserves to be abused.

    Maybe one day soon I will make my list. And, just so you know, I am working on getting professional help.

    My warmest thanks,
    Richele

    #39656

    LisaS
    Participant

    Richele, Zehnen, Kaya & Matt,

    I think the fact that we’re here reading & writing in these forums means we want to make a positive change in our lives. I too have this “ego-voice” nagging me day & night. I’ve gone to sleep crying and woke up crying. I’ve tried to hide my troubles in social activity, but being an INFJ (introvert), I find myself forcing relationships to happen and coming off way too aggressive. It actually winds up repelling the very people I’m trying to attract. It is difficult for me to really feel at ease in social situations. I can’t engage in healthy, positive relationships if I don’t believe I have anything valuable to offer. So I am here in this forum to start that process.

    The one thing in my life right now that I am really trying to focus on is finding the “real me”. I have always tried to be what I thought I was supposed to be – to make my significant others happy. I’ve been a “pleaser” in all of my intimate relationships and those relationships have failed. I know that it is because I have not been true to my own nature. And that is because I feel ashamed of my nature.

    In case it’s sounding that way – no, I’m not gay, but I have always been a tomboy. Much more comfortable being friends with men than with women. Maybe I’ve just hidden there all this time because it didn’t force me to embrace my feminine self. I am afraid she will not be pretty enough, that she never learned how to cook, that she has no fashion sense, or that she will not be a good enough wife.

    Actually – there is some justification for that feeling. I can actually mark the moment that my 12yr marriage crashed & burned – when my husband told me I was a “disappointment as a wife”. What a hurtful thing to say! Not that he wasn’t free with other criticism as well… But now, even though I have been on my own since February – I find myself picking up his slack with this abusive ego-voice, telling me “maybe he was right”.

    I don’t want to be in that place anymore. I am going to do everything in my power to learn to love myself. Learn how to cook, buy clothes from somewhere besides Target, and so on. I do believe that quote that says “no one will ever love you more than you love yourself”. No one can fix that for me – I have to do that work myself.

    #39697

    Cathy
    Participant

    I have been living with victim mentality for so long that I do not seem to be able to be in a relationship without expecting the worst. I am fearful to try new things. I am working my way through a self esteem building book. Tiny Buddha has been my inspiration to succeed at living my life again. I am in a relationship again and I really want it to work. I would appreciate any helpful ideas to get control of my emotions instead of my emotions being in control of me.

    #40000

    Zenhen
    Participant

    LisaS,

    Cooking, dressing nice, entertaining guest,etc, do not make you a woman. I hate how we use these restricting, limiting, shallow traits to define what it means to be a woman or man. If you are a tom boy then be one. This doesn’t make you gay. Remember there are “lipstick” lesbians. By the way I love getting clothes from Target and goodwill. I find that if people try too hard to fit these molds of being a man or woman, then they cease to be. We should just focus on what it means to be..not what it means to be x,y,z. Have you ever met a woman so “feminine” that it made you want to vomit or a man so “macho” that it was off putting? That is because these people weren’t being authentic.

    Also understand that our society is highly extrovert. Some societies actually view extroverts as annoying like some Asian and European cultures. Only about 30% of Americans are introvert. Be okay with being an introvert and learn the right balance for you. I am an ENFP, the most introvert of extroverts. I am highly attracted to introverts. I find them mysterious and deep. Many introverts don’t like talking because they tire of talking about mundane, boring crap and want to talk about things that really matter. For this reason, I find introverts to be more stimulating to me. Below are some links that will help you embrace your introvert nature. Please start pleasing yourself. Your husband was seeing you as a wife not a person, not a human being. You aren’t a disappointment as a person.

    http://introverts.net/

    http://www.thepowerofintroverts.com/

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/introvert-myths_n_3569058.html

    http://zendotstudio.blogspot.com/2012/11/bidding-for-good-and-embracing-your.html

    Much Love,

    Zenhen

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by  Zenhen.
    #40099

    LisaS
    Participant

    Zehnen,
    Thank you for your uplifting comments! I have been trying very hard to let go of negative thoughts as soon as I notice I’m heading that way. I’ve been on that Happify site as well and I tell you – I think it’s really working. I’m starting to accept and even relish that I dance to a different tune. If the men I’ve met thus far don’t want someone who is trustworthy, kind, tender-hearted, playful and “usually” pretty darn cheerful, then I just haven’t been meeting the right men. It isn’t my loss, it’s theirs…Thank you also for the links – I’ll be checking those out.

    Love,
    Lisa

    #40100

    LisaS
    Participant

    Zehnen,
    Thank you for your uplifting comments! I have been trying very hard to let go of negative thoughts as soon as I notice I’m heading that way. I’ve been on that Happify site as well and I tell you – I think it’s really working. I’m starting to accept and even relish that I dance to a different tune. If the men I’ve met thus far don’t want someone who is trustworthy, kind, tender-hearted, playful and “usually” pretty darn cheerful, then I just haven’t been meeting the right men. It isn’t my loss, it’s theirs…Thank you also for the links – I’ll be checking those out.

    Love,
    Lisa

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Please log in OR register.