Self Love: Feeling Worthy

A few weeks ago, Diana posted a fantastic post about feeling worthy. In it, she quoted a Facebook post by Paul Carter.

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photo from Unprofound.com
What seeds are you planting in your mind?

The greatest gift you can ever give yourself is the undying belief that you are worthy. Someone who doesn’t value their own self worth cannot fully accept anything gifted to them or anything earned.

If you do not believe you are worthy of someone’s love, you will never experience it. If you do not believe you are worthy of adoration, you will never experience it. If you do not believe you are worthy of adoration, you will never receive it. If you do not believe you are worthy of being strong you will never know it.

Inhale and grok* the belief that you are worthy of things both gifted and earned. .  .

There is a lot here.

We’ve often heard that if you don’t love yourself, you can’t truly love someone else. But this feels .  . . more. . . somehow.

How do you change your belief in yourself so much that you feel “worthy of adoration” without becoming completely narcissistic?

And if you don’t believe it, deep down, what kind of damage does that do?

Diana talks about not liking it when her friends don’t have a sense of self-worth, when they are down on themselves. I totally understand that. When people I care about do the same thing, I can’t stand it.

For example, when C starts being down on herself, it’s really hard to watch.

Here is this exquisite, beautiful, smart-as-hell, strong, strong-willed, talented, kind, good with small children, energetic, fantastic human being. And she will get down on herself for not being good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, good at martial arts enough. She was raised with a lot of positive reinforcement, and she still has all the same emotional fragility a lot of us have.

And nothing I say helps, because it’s coming from inside.

I know I do this, too. I talked about it a little in the compliments post, learning to just say, “Thank you,” and not add qualifiers or things that diminish the compliment.

When I look at things, particularly the last 10 years, I have not believed that I was worthy. It appears that deep down, I don’t believe I deserve good things. I create crises to ensure I don’t get good things.

I do things that make my life harder. There was a point where money was a big concern, and I missed a deadline for financial aid, and lost money that I needed. It created an even bigger crises.

And I continually do things like that, create situations that turn into crises

I didn’t believe I was good enough for the dream job I had.

I didn’t believe I was smart enough for my major.

I didn’t believe I could be successful.

I didn’t believe I deserve good things.

I am still struggling with these feelings.

Every time I make a step towards something good, some success, financial security, emotional support, anything, I do something to make that thing move further away.

I can tell that I’m changing a bit now, that the inner work I’m doing is starting to bring some success. But it still feels like. . . two steps forward, one step back.

I think one thing that’s helping me is hearing all these successful people talk about their fears and insecurities. Even Oprah!

The show has taught me there is a common thread that runs through all of our pain and all of our suffering, and that is unworthiness. Not feeling worthy enough to own the life you were created for. Even people who believe they deserve to be happy and have nice things often don’t feel worthy once they have them. 
There is a difference, you know, between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness. . . . 
What I got was we often block our own blessings because we don’t feel inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/The-Oprah-Winfrey-Show-Finale_1/6#ixzz2QUhF9Kfk

So, how can we turn it around?

I think starting with Louise Hay’s exercise of looking in the mirror and telling yourself, “I love and accept you just the way you are.”

After all, if you can’t do that, how can someone else?

One of the things, besides Diana’s post, that brought this up for me was this TED talk, with Amy Cuddy:

Pay particular attention to what she says about “Fake it until you become it.”

I’ve always hated, “Fake it til you make it,” advice, mostly because I know people who are or have been suicidally depressed and no one around them knew it. They were certainly faking it every day.

But I love her story about her experience with impostor syndrome, especially when she was approached by a grad student with the same feelings.

If you are already doing some kind of daily (or regular) writing exercise, such as affirmations, gratitude/blessings, or just journaling, what about adding to it just a little bit? Add in one sentence with something you LIKE or even love about yourself.

  • I made someone laugh/smile today. 
  • [Name] said s/he thinks I’m awesome.
  • I figured out something important today
Whatever you can think of. I don’t think it’s easy. I’m still having trouble coming up with something to be grateful for every day. But I am adding this to my daily (well, near daily) writing.

What seeds are you planting when you talk to yourself?

What have you done to find a sense of self-worth? What have you done to help someone else feel better about themselves?

*grok – For those unfamiliar, the word comes from Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, a tale about a human child/man raised on Mars by Martians who returns to Earth and tries to figure out human society. In the book, it’s a Martian word that doesn’t translate well into any human language, but sort of means to understand something so completely that you feel it in your bones, you know it instinctually.

Self-Love: Compliments

Since we are rapidly coming up on what my daughter’s friends call Singles Awareness Day (because nothing makes you feel as acutely aware that you’re single than Valentine’s Day, you know?), I thought I’d do a short series on loving yourself.

My friend N often says, “The only proper response to a compliment is, ‘Thank you.'”

Think about the last time someone complimented you. How did you respond?

“You look nice today.”

Did you say, “Thank you“? or did you say, “Oh, no, I have this huge zit right here!” or “My hair wouldn’t do what I wanted it to” or “I hate this shirt” or “I feel fat today” or some other self-deprecating comment?

Do you know what you’re doing when you do that?

You are telling yourself that you don’t like yourself very much.

You know the affirmations we’ve talked about recently?

This would be the opposite of that.

Affirmations try to counter your negative self-talk, and not accepting compliments, in fact denying them, can undo all the work you’re trying to do with the affirmations.

Back in November, someone I know casually on another internet forum connected to me on Facebook. While we were having a conversation about how we knew each other, he said, “you were always the scary smart one.”

WTF?

“Scary smart”?

This guy is an attorney with a pretty impressive resume and rapier wit, so, you know, he’s not dumb himself.

And I know a couple of scary smart people like L, a math professor and researcher that excels at taking complex concepts and explaining them to the average person. Or S, the tax attorney that creates complicated spreadsheets to analyze test data or housing and investment trends for fun. 

I posted on my wall, well, here’s part of the conversation [I removed identifying stuff]:

Me: Someone just called me “scary smart”; I’m not sure I can live up to that.



Now, you expect your mother and sister to say complimentary stuff, but both T and G are themselves very smart, educated women whom I respect.

While I’ve been reexamining some of my inner work stuff lately, I realize that I totally do this. I mean, I deflect compliments.


M has said some very nice things about me lately, and my first, immediate emotional response is to deflect it, to deny it, to diminish it.


But by doing that, not only am I disrespecting myself, I’m disrespecting him and his opinions. 


And every time we deflect a compliment, we are saying to the person giving the compliment, “I don’t trust your judgment.”


So, from now on, when someone compliments you, how you look, how you dress, how smart you are, your parenting, your compassion, your kindness, your organizational skills, WHATEVER,  just say, “Thank you.”


And then stop for a moment and really think about what they said; take it in; LISTEN to it; repeat it to yourself; write it in your journal; do something that helps you remember it.


Because the old saw about loving yourself before you can love someone else? Totally true.


 But sometimes looking at ourselves through someone else’s eyes can help us get there.