Own It. Name It. Change It.

“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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

11 thoughts on “Own It. Name It. Change It.

  1. Good post … At the core of our struggles, in my limited opinion, is the lie that we are not good enough. The willingness to be free … An invitation? A question of what is it we really want? I think it is profound because being a victim and being enslaved is a way to make life for work, for some folks … Again, good post.

  2. Great example of self-sabotage, Eric. When we learn to control our thoughts . . . we are in a better position to control the emotions that flow from the thoughts we think.

    Changing the channel is easy . . . as long as we remember to do it.

      • Ah, but can you “send them away!” (your #3) and “be with them” . . . at the same time? 😉

        Challenging the truth of thoughts, choosing which thoughts to focus on and which to let drift away, selecting non-productive self-defeating thoughts to eject from the building, cleaning house, getting rid of the cobwebs, choosing which thoughts to adopt as mantras, etc.

        For me, it’s not as passive as just “being with them.” It is turning OFF the mind-numbing auto pilot, climbing into the driver’s seat, and CHOOSING which thoughts to think.

      • Brevity, on my part, doesn’t always serve to convey greater explanation. For me, it’s a comfortable and effective process. I choose to be with my thoughts and emotions before I choose which to address, keep or discard. It’s my chosen blend of passive preceding action, not unlike responding (after thought) – then reacting.

        I believe we’re much on the same page. In the end it is choice that trumps and enables us to effect desired change.

        Thanks for further sharing!

  3. Pingback: Change Your Mind . . . Change Your Life | Spirit Lights The Way

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