We begin life with almost a blank slate. Sure, heredity plays a role in who we are – researchers now tell us that we all have propensities toward certain physical and mental conditions. It also tells us that “nature” can be moderated and changed by “nurture” – those experiences we have and those behaviors we internalize that may alter that heredity. Recently, for example, scientists have isolated a gene that is a predictor of addiction – drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. Possession of this gene means that we have a predilection toward addictions. It does not, however, mean that we will necessarily succumb to addictions. That “succumbing” is a factor of our “nurturing,” or our environments.Life Happens!
As we march through this great experiment called “life,” we develop a sense of self-image. If we have had more “good” than “bad” during this grand experiment, our self-images remain relatively positive – we see our worth; we know that we can solve problems; we know that we can overcome adversity. It is when those big traumas come that our “world” is shaken so profoundly that we begin that downward spiral of losing our sense of self-worth and begin to lose the belief that we can not only survive, but triumph. Consider some of the major events that can occur to shake our very foundational beliefs in ourselves:
1. We find ourselves in an employment position that is untenable. We cannot meet the demands of our supervisors/bosses, are continually stressed, and feel like utter failures.
2. We are fired from our current job and find that our skills are not in high demand anywhere else.
3. A spouse or partner decides to end the relationship that has been built over a long period of time.
4. Children rebel, blame their problems on us, and cut us out of their lives.
5. Major breeches with relatives leave us wondering if we have been the cause of this familial strife
6. Financial difficulties result in the loss of a home
7. Addictions take our livelihood, our loved ones, and our security from us
8. Criminal activity results in fines, penalties, and/or incarcerations
9. A physical ailment or injury leaves us disabled
Any one of these events can create the feelings that we do not have value, that our lives are worthless, and that we are destined to a future existence of depression, despondency, and dependency (the “terrible trio” as I like to call them). Turning this around, and learning to believe in oneself again, is not easy and is not an activity for the “faint of heart.” Yet, it is accomplished by many, each and every day, as they take step-by-step measures to restore their senses of self-worth!
1. There is a Power at work in our lives: Whether you call it God, First Cause, Universal Mind, or the Force, it is greater than you, and there are certainly principles that are in play. Connecting to this Power is the first step in restoration. These connections may be pretty dirty right now, but getting the corrosion off and cleaning up that connection must occur. Some people find this with organized religions; some find it in support groups; some find it through meditation and communal connections to nature. It really does not matter which option you choose. It matters that you pursue your connection and allow the principles of “truth” to become a force in your life!
2. Remembering the “Good Times:” It is critical that you go back and reflect on your life as a whole. There have been great successes, great moments of achievement, and great events for which you bore responsibility. No one is suggesting that you “live in the past.” Rather, it is important that you recall those moments and times during which your great value and worth shone and were recognized by others. Getting into that “feeling” of worth can be a huge motivator to change current circumstances for the better!
3. Build on small successes. Perhaps you have been able to find an appropriate living situation after a foreclosure; maybe you have secured a job, even though it is not your ideal; perhaps you have established a new, positive relationship; maybe you have been sober or have avoided the gambling venues for a month. Success begets success! Build on these small things as you insist that you really can progress!
4. Find support and use it: There is a reason why Alcoholics Anonymous has been such a successful program for so many. People with little to lose have joined, found relationships and support, and have moved on to many successes – personal and professional! Using the support of others is not a weakness – it is a strength!
5. Get “outside” of yourself: Wallowing in self-pity only exacerbates low self-esteem. You may not have a job; you may be on parole; you may have lost your family. But others are waiting for your help! Tutor inner-city poverty-stricken children; take care of animals at a local shelter; bring your music to a nursing home; visit patients who are dying of cancer. When you see the gratitude on their faces or you receive that lick or hug, you will know that you have worth and value to others!
Life Throws “Curve Balls”The most wonderful thing about the human spirit is that it is resilient and ever-present! Even in our worst moments, we can dig deep into the recesses or our very being and pull out ideas and strategies to move ourselves. In doing this, we restore ourselves to our intended purpose – to live, to thrive, and to love!
Author’s bio:Julie Ellis believes that, only through experiential knowledge does one become an engaging and creative writer. Her degree in Journalism and a host of real-world study and experience has made her a permanent and popular blogger for PremierEssay.net.