(Small Content Warning: reference to child abuse, fyi)
You were born worthy.
No really, you were. We all were. I mean, think about it. Nobody (I hope none of ye anyway) looks at a baby and thinks they have to earn love. That they have to do anything to deserve care. That, as they develop, their thoughts, acts, or achievements have to meet some exacting high standard before they will be acknowledged or respected.
Because that would be abusive behaviour, right? If a person was doing those things or expecting those things from a baby or a small child, they’re abusing that child.
And if you, by any chance, were abused in any of those ways… I am so very sorry. But even so, I would hope that you wouldn’t turn around and treat another baby or child in any of those ways.
Feck, this got real deep real fast. *Goes to add a small content warning to the top of the post.* I’m getting to the point, I promise.
You were that child.
You were born deserving love, and care, and acknowledgement of your development and growth and efforts. You were automatically worthy of all that, just by the simple fact of being born.
Most of us would agree with that, right? Like, logically we can see that to be true, and right, and a good way for folk to be going about their business in the world. The difficult part comes with translating that into a sense of self worth now.
Where is your self worth?
Do you ever feel you’re not worthy of love? That you don’t deserve care? That your thoughts, words, actions are not good enough to be acknowledged or respected?
If you’re about to say no, that’s not you… just stall that there for a second and consider that sometimes, even if we don’t consciously think those things, they are messages we have internalised for ourselves. And so we think or act in ways that may be unconsciously sabotaging our chances of love, care, and respect. We may not truly love, care for, or respect our own selves.
If that’s still not you, for real, in any way… fucking good on ya. For real. See ya tomorrow for a different topic, all right?!
I suspect though, that for most of us here there’s some painful truth in all of that. Somehow, as we go through life from childhood to here, we pick up and absorb these thoughts or feelings that we are not enough, as we are, to deserve good things for ourselves.
Sometimes there’s a clear and obvious primary cause for this. An abusive parent or ex, for example, who consistently undermined your courage, your belief in yourself, your trust in… everything.
But we are also surrounded by commercial messaging, literally from birth, that is designed specifically, by really smart people who often understand your brain way better than you do, to make you feel that you are not good enough. That you have all of these problems, and it’s only with the judicious application of Product X or the life saving support of Service Y that you can be good enough. For a while at least.
This seeps into society too, so the people around you are consistently reinforcing these messages. That’s how advertising works. It gets a foot in the door of your brain and eventually, as pressure mounts and your confidence falls, you begin to do their work for them.
The innate sense of self worth you were born with, has been syphoned off in a steady stream through the years – sometimes actively and with intent, but also passively – leached from all of us into the fabric of the world in which we live, for the benefit and profit of the 1%.
That’s a bit grim, right?
It is. So. What are you doing about it?
What can you do?
Simple Ways to Build Self Worth
First off, that little bollix that lives in your brain, that whispers bad things about you to you? You need to strangle that fecker.
Take a day and make note of every negative thing you think or say about yourself. Just one day. But every single thing. Make a mental note of them as they happen, or better yet write them down. In a journal, or on a stack of post its or something.
Do whatever it takes to make it super obvious how regularly we shit talk ourselves, and how awful the things we think and say actually are. Like, really look at them, at the end of the day. Your little collection of awful things about you.
They’re not true you know.
Your feelings are not facts. Your brain is giving you worst case scenarios, worries, concerns and negative biases.
Please, for the love of dog, recognise that your negative feelings are not the truth, and refuse to internalise them as such. Just don’t accept them. And if there’s one or two you’re genuinely not sure about, ask a friend. Look for evidence.
I’m betting you’ll be given out to for being unkind to yourself (if you have good friends), or that you won’t find any solid objective evidence to support the untruths you have been telling yourself.
Finally, for now (because oh you know we’re going to come back to the topic of self worth, if for no other reason than that it’s something I struggle with constantly), focus on the things you do like about yourself. Yes, you have them. Find them ok?
When you catch that brain weasel bollix attempting to say nasty things about you, do a mental switch. Imagine yourself as a small child, and the brain bollix is somebody horrible. Are you going to really let that fecker scar that small child for the rest of its life?
No, I hope not. Take care of that little version of you, and let it grow and develop to an abundance of self worth. You deserve it.