“Our strength grows out of our weaknesses.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
A very small percentage of a person’s psychological makeup (say 2% of their total set of personal traits/perceptions/preferences/habits) can undermine the other 98% of their makeup that is healthy and positive. I find this astounding yet not surprising. We see it all the time. It gives credence to the adage, One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel.
I have a friend who, for years, nurtured her inner victim. She perpetually felt unworthy, a failure, a waste of space. The truth was, she was bright, humorous, physically attractive and professionally successful. It was as though she needed this “woe is me” crutch to draw attention away from all she had going for her. To this day I don’t know why she chose to be this way.
She finally dug herself out of that trench. It turns out that all she really wanted was to feel valued. Despite her positive attributes and achievements, she didn’t feel as though she was, somehow, contributing to the world’s betterment.
She finally realized that she was the one doubting her self-worth; that feeling worthless was an excuse for not doing as well in an area that mattered to her. In an epiphany (her word, not mine) she grasped that to feel worthwhile, she had to work at changing – like everyone else – and not give up on herself.
So what’s her mantra these days? That each of us needs to acknowledge that we’re capable of adding value to society, including our self. As adults, there really are no excuses for saying things like “I’m worthless, lazy or pathetic” because each of us have a choice to not be any negative thing.
If worthlessness is your negative trait and you want to untether yourself from being not good enough, try these shifts:
Be willing to be free. By now your unworthiness is probably a friend of sorts. Imagine that this identity disappears. It’s gone! Things would look very differently to you, wouldn’t they? Have the courage to step into the unknown and be free of what’s anchoring you.
- Risk rejection. If you don’t want to be burdened by unworthiness, put yourself out there. Be your whole authentic self; no airs, no masks, no “I’m not”… People will be drawn to you and you’ll revel in knowing that they appreciate you for who you really are.
- Challenge your beliefs about yourself. Get personal with your self-critical thoughts (I can’t, Others think, I’ll never, …). Then admit that these thoughts just aren’t the truth. Recognize that they play in your mind over and over, doing nothing more than limiting you. Ask yourself, what purpose are they serving? Then, send them away!
Remember, 98% of your psychological makeup could well be positive and healthy. Why hold on to a bad apple?