We all get down on ourselves once in a while. It is a natural human instinct and can serve as a good motivation booster. Unfortunately, there are many who live daily with the notion that they will never be good enough. It is a crippling feeling that can affect any type of person from the most unsuccessful to the most successful. And why?
There are a million and one answers to that question and it varies from person to person. Much of the time, it is probably the way an individual learned to organize and filter their existence from a young age. It could have developed later after much failure and hardship. Who can say? It also doesn’t help that we live in a society that glorifies excessive beauty, wealth, and power. We are bombarded with a constant stream of media that tells us we need to be better in every way.
In the face of such powerful forces, it can be difficult to learn how to counteract the inevitable negativity those forces instigate. However, I think it is important not to view it as a struggle. Instead, we must examine why we feel such things. So without further ado, here are some things to think about when coping with negative self-worth.
1. You are a super intelligent being
Maybe some of you are thinking, “No that’s not me, I didn’t go to college, I didn’t even go to high school. I don’t know anything about anything.” Pish posh. Education is no measurement of intelligence. Even the most “unintelligent” (I use that word grudgingly) human being is smarter than any other creature on this planet. The point is that every person has the capacity to learn. Furthermore, it is not the things you learn, or even the things you are good at that make you intelligent. It is the ability to choose to do those things. It is human will. We all have it.
So maybe you’ll never be an astro-physicist. My guess is there is something (or many things) that you enjoy; something that no one else can do quite the way you do. Maybe you don’t know what that is yet. So start looking, and don’t stop until you find that thing. Then, it is up to you to use that incredible gift of intelligence and make the choice to pursue your endeavors.
2. You are your own worst enemy
Those of you who immediately doubted your own intelligence while reading number 1, this one’s for you. Who said you’re not intelligent? Who said you can’t do this or that? You did. Sure, somewhere down the road we’ve all been told by one person or another, whether by suggestion or actual words, that we are not good enough. So what? At the end of the day, you get to make that call, and only you.
Too often, we forget that we are in charge of our existence. We let ourselves be swayed by the opinions and biases of our parents, friends, partners, and sometimes even strangers. Understand, I’m not endorsing delusional behavior. Sometimes we want to have or do something so badly, but for the wrong reasons. It is up to us to reflect upon and examine why we want the things we want, and why we do the things we do. Only then do we see that we can in fact be our own worst enemies by letting ourselves get pulled into what others want for us, rather than what we truly desire.
3. You’re all you’ve got
Of course I don’t mean that you are alone in this life. We are all in this together. Yet, when it comes down to it, only you, the individual, have the power to give meaning to your life. Yes, there can be people, things, and endeavors that bring you great joy and value, but you are the one who chooses to bring those things into your life. And ultimately, it is your reaction to, and what you learn from those forces that ascribe meaning to your existence.
Your reality is your own. The way you experience things is a manifestation of everything that’s going on inside. It all comes back to the individual. In acknowledging our patterns of thought, emotion, and action, we get to know ourselves better. We learn to be friends with ourselves, and realize that we are the only ones who can change our reality for the better.
4. The pains of youth are not your fault
Sometimes all of the above thoughts don’t quite cut it. Sometimes we need to dig a little deeper. An unfortunate fact of life is that many of us harbor feelings of extreme inadequacy based upon things that happened (or didn’t happen) when we were growing up under our guardian’s roof. Many may not even realize that their anger, sorrow, and anxiety stem from this incredibly pertinent time in their lives.
If you are still living with childhood pain, it must be acknowledged and worked through. Maybe you’ve always blamed yourself for your parents’ divorce. Maybe you’ve lived with the notion that you don’t deserve love or attention because you never received any from your guardians. Maybe it’s much worse than either of those examples.
In any case, you must understand that whatever it is for which you are blaming yourself, it is not your fault. How could it be? A child knows no better. Our little minds are only partially developed then. We only want one thing: the love and affection of our guardians. If we don’t get what we need and deserve, how else are we suppose to feel but unimportant and worthless?
If you are an adult dealing with these issues, remember that it is not about casting blame. It is about acknowledging that you are responsible for your own well being now, and that you deserve to take care of yourself. Of course, we don’t just wake up one day and start doing this. It will only happen with intense therapy, self-reflection or a combination of the two. It is up to each of us to take that step.
The next time you are feeling the pangs of self-loathing, try to think or, better yet, feel your incredible potential as a human being. It may not work the first time or even the tenth time, but make a habit of shifting your thoughts from the negative to the positive, and you will begin to alter those patterns.