When you grow up knowing you are loved and treasured, it provides a firm foundation for a healthy self-esteem and the roots for self-confidence to grow. When you grow up in an abusive environment, however, that foundation is flawed, sometimes even non-existent. And the roots for self-confidence have never even been planted.
So how can someone who grew up without these basic needs that every single child on Earth should receive, build self-esteem and self-confidence? It has been a lifelong journey for me. I went to therapy for the first time during my first marriage, which sadly began deteriorating on the wedding night. Yes, folks, you read that right. You'll have to read my memoir to learn more.
It was couples therapy and unfortunately, didn't help our marriage survive.
At the same time, though, I began individual counseling. There the process of unraveling my issues began. I'd never told anyone prior to this that I'd been sexually abused at seven. My parents never made a big deal out of it so I thought it didn't matter.
Over the years, I began reading self-help books, attended consciousness raising groups in the 70s, tried every kind of therapy known to man, went to seminars, and wrote in journals, the latter probably being the most helpful tool of all.
When you feel flawed, when you deep down in your guts believe there is something wrong with you, that you are different from everyone else, and that if people really got to know you, they'll discover the horrible you that you believe you are, building self-esteem is like what I imagine building the pyramids or the Taj Mahal or other great structures is like. One piece at a time.
The first step is recognizing that you have issues that other kids, other adolescents, other young adults don't seem to have. The second step is accepting that these issues are affecting your ability to function at the highest level possible,i.e. feeling happy, productive, successful. The third step is finding ways to overcome those issues by paying attention to the negative messages playing inside your head and discovering ways to root them out.
These days, I'm pretty lucky. Out of a 24-hour day, only minutes of negativity plague me. Most of the time, I catch the thoughts before they root inside my soul and take hold. I can tell when that happens because my energy sags, I get cranky and irritable, I don't feel like doing the things I love to do, I don't write, and so on. It's much harder to rid myself of these feelings once they've moved in.
So pay attention to your thoughts. They provide a wealth of information about the state of your psyche and your soul and can shift paradigms in a nanosecond.
Happy weekend everyone,
Insecure Writers Support Group
Welcome to Following the Whispers blog
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here on Monday and Tuesday. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair.
"ONLY ONE THING IS MORE FRIGHTENING THAN SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH, AND THAT IS NOT SPEAKING IT." Naomi Wolf
"We are called human beings, not human doings."
Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher
"The way to do is to be."