Severe trauma is not the only contributor to people feeling lost or misaligned in their lives.
Lack of self-worth can come from many sources. Other’s experiences in life may seem terrible in comparison to what led you to feel as you do, and within that comparison lies the very block to you moving through, letting go and finally leaving behind the effects your own past is having on you now.
Emotions are relative. Whatever the circumstances in your life, you are the only person experiencing your emotions; the good, the bad and the ugly, and however you feel, for whatever the reasons, out of whatever circumstances, is relative to you and your life.
My own past feelings of unworthiness came from a number of areas in my life. I recognise them now of course, and I know too that those events, circumstances, and situations would be a comparable blessing in some people’s lives.
I didn’t suffer abuse in my childhood, I haven’t lost either of my parents or in fact anyone in my close family. I am, for all intents and purposes, extremely privileged. And I give thanks every day for that now.
But there was a time in my past when I was consumed with fear. Fear of speaking out, fear of showing up, fear of having an opinion, fear of saying what was on my heart. I grew up a very polite, rule-following, ‘yes’ girl. It served me so well, kept me out of trouble, I did well at school, got good grades and for the most part, I was happy.
I know now though that I was kind of numb too. I had begun to follow others’ advice, took others’ fears onboard as my own, and pushed my head so deep into the ground to avoid listening to myself that it took the best part of 18 years to pull it back out again.
“Speak when you are spoken to. Do as you are told. Be respectful of others needs.” All good-intentioned, well-meaning advice that every well-meaning parent/teacher/guardian bestows on the children in their care. And rightly so, on many levels. But somewhere along the line, I lost how to respect myself. To hold myself accountable and follow my needs and desires somehow, looking back, I missed that, for a while at least.
“Speak when you are spoken to. Do as you are told. Be respectful of others needs.”
The huge level of healing that exploded my heart, mind and life, and enabled me to show up like I never had before - in my life, relationships, and business, came when I allowed myself to stop comparing myself, my emotions or my life, with anyone else's.
When I learned to drop blame, I stopped assuming my emotions weren’t valid because nothing ‘Serious” had happened in my childhood, and validated my feelings as appropriate for me, and me alone.
You don’t have to have been through massive trauma to feel lost, misaligned and out of balance in your life, and you don’t have to have experienced harrowing grief either.
Your journey through your life is yours, and yours alone. This post is to in no way belittle if you have been through trauma, grief or abuse on any level. There is no denying the impact that can have on all areas of your life, and if you want to move through that, please, reach out.
And if you haven’t, yet you still find yourself in a spiral of emotions, feeling unworthy, lacking confidence and confused why your life isn’t panning out as you had planned. I have your back too.
We are, all of us, worthy. We are, all of us, here to make a difference to others - whether that be to those nearest and dearest to you, or to the wider world around you. We are, all of us, deserving of the best, most aligned, most congruent life you can imagine.
Whatever has brought you to those thoughts of ‘I’m not good enough” matters less than how ready you are to be at peace, let go and leave behind all that isn’t serving you now, so you can move forward into the happiest, most peaceful version of your life, from today.
This is how we do that;
1. It starts with the feelings of security you have in your physical environment. Externally to yourself and internally too. When you look around you do you feel a sense of peace, or does something jar inside?
What about when you stop, take a moment to go inside yourself, can you do that without fear of what might come up for you? Do you find peace there too, or is there a jumbled mess of thoughts and emotions?
Picking through weeds, taking out the trash, or clearing through the leftovers and releasing everything that no longer serves you, is the only way to finding peace and it’s where you must start. The great news is though, that you don’t have to relive everything. You can focus on the gems, pick out the gifts and simply let go of everything else. If you choose it that way.
Think of it like walking through woodland, the pillars of the trees are around you, they hold the canopy above you as you stroll through the mulch of hundreds of years of leaves gone by. Every now and then you come across a plant, fungi, a small animal darting through the undergrowth. They’re all meant to be there. And every now and then you find a piece of litter, a foil packet, or something made from styrofoam - this you know immediately is out of place, so you place it in a plastic bag along with the other undesirables you’ve found and when you are out the other side of the woodland, you place the bag in a bin and go on with the rest of your day.
It really can be that simple. Sometimes though, we need someone to hold our hand while we do it.
2. Next you’re going to want to recognise the stories you have been living by. They could be based on something, like mine were, in being the ‘Good Girl’, or they could be from a myriad of different factors. The trick is to notice, what stories have you been living by? How are these stories serving you? What stories would serve you better now?
We live our whole lives based on a perspective borne out of the filters we have created through our lives. Changing these filters - expanding them, repurposing them, or deleting them completely will open up a world of possibilities, both for your past and for your future.
Take this example. A lady I worked with had lived her life believing that her mother wasn’t interested in her as a child. That her Mum didn’t care what she was up to and showed little regard for the childlike fun she so desperately wanted to share. Through work on compassion and kindness, taking on an appreciation that this story could have many different alternatives to it, we worked to consider the many multitudes of scenarios where in fact her mother had been incredibly attentive. We found untruths in the stories my client had been telling herself, and we brought life to those endless possibilities.
Simply by changing one overriding story you can release scores of past hurt and misunderstandings and move forward in a whole new level of awareness. And that is a beautiful thing.
3. Now you want to be turning your attention to the love, compassion and respect you give to yourself. Awareness here is key. Calling yourself out when those unhelpful voices start chanting. Bringing yourself up short when you notice tones of frustration or ridicule are pointed at yourself. Creating a deep, unwavering recognition when your small self is trying to take hold.
Awareness is the first step to happiness. It’s a continuous process. The more you do it, the easier it gets and the easier it gets, the more you do it.
Only this morning, while out for a run, I began noticing that my right knee was beginning to hurt. The simple solution would have been to walk, but I knew that wouldn’t have been the kindest thing I could do for myself at that moment. So what did I do instead? I started talking to my knees. I sent them love and gratitude. I thanked them for doing all they were to help me cover the ground, I slowed my pace to take some pressure off and I worked out how to improve my posture a little to make it easier on all of my body. I then set myself some goals, that I would move to a fast walk once I had covered a certain distance, and then back to a run when all felt realigned.
The result was that I ran further today than I have in months and my knees are absolutely fine.
4. The final thing to work through is giving up on blaming anyone, or anything for the circumstances you find yourself in. And that includes yourself. It’s about taking all you have worked through above and releasing that out to everyone in your life. Now and in your past. It’s about letting go of the notion of taking anything personally.
Yes, this can be a hard one. I’m not saying it’s easy - though it can be - I can promise you that it does get easier though. Start small, and work up to the events that are screaming at you like the ones you ‘could never forgive’. As you start to forgive, release and let go of the smaller events and notice the changes that are within you, you will become more courageous to work with the larger ones.
This isn’t about making bad things ok. It’s also not about belittling horrible things that might have happened to you. It’s about giving up the connection to the emotions wrapped up in those events. Taking responsibility for your life in the now. Accepting bad things sadly do happen to good people. Appreciating that every single one of us is working this thing called life out and that with true love and compassion - for yourself first, and then for each and every other person out there - you can step into the truest, most aligned, happiest version of you.
This is what finding and connecting to your true self and happiness is. This is who you really are.
The best time to have learned all of this, I feel, would have been when we were children, but as we can’t turn back time, the next best time is right now. You are worthy of everything you desire.
Of course, this is what I help my amazing clients achieve. If you are striving for better, and greater but feel held back by an invisible rope around your waist, or that damned glass ceiling above your head, despite feeling like you’ve tried many different avenues - books, courses, counselling, reach out to me and let’s see what the right next steps are, to your peace, happiness and contentment.