As we were growing up, the messages that we recieved regarding our own worth shaped how we view and interact with the world. Those message shaped our core beliefs and how we show up in relation to the world around us. In addition, we have continued to receive messages from advertising and our culture about our worth and how we don’t live up to the expectations and unattainable ideals. So, the original messages and the reinforcing subsequent messages have long-lasting and deep impact in our lives.
When we receive these messages as children, we most often believe them as they can come from people we are close to and, at that point, we do not have the ego strength or cognitive ability in our developing brains to know that other options exist. When we buy into messages that we are not worthy of love and belonging just as we are, our nervous system goes into stress response and for survival, we shift who we are, how we show up, and how we relate to ourselves, to others, and to the world. And because these messages were likely received early on in our lives, they often become the soundtrack that runs in the background of our daily functioning; something that we don’t even consciously think about.
These underlying beliefs about ourselves and the world around us can contribute to expectations of ourselves and rules we hold about how we want others to perceive us. This becomes a struggle as we cannot control how others perceive us, however, we often put pressure on ourselves to be seen in very specific ways and to not be seen in other ways. These are identities that trigger shame and disappointment in ourselves when we cannot live up to the ideals or control how others perceive us.
As we move through the journey of healing ourselves and increasing our own self-worth, we must keep in mind that we are complex creatures and growth occurs in a spiral. That means that we will have to come back around to things that we have dealt with or faced in the past and that we have the opportunity go deeper into healing with each pass. We cannot expect that we will be able to heal all old wounds and change core beliefs in one fell swoop. Revisiting an issue does not mean that we failed in any way the first time around; it means that there is more there than we could shift at one time. It means that what is there was established out of survival and unwinding the belief that without it we cannot survive can take time. It means that we needed to grow and integrate before we can hold the shifts that occur as we continue to work through the layers that we have held and believed for so long.
As always, we must first become aware of what we are doing and believing and be brave enough to question if this belief applies to us any longer and if this is how we want to continue to live our lives. The decision to evolve must come with the understanding that growth does not happen in our comfort zone and so we must be willing to withstand the discomfort of unwinding old patterns and we must believe that we can withstand the discomfort.
In this process, it is helpful to have support rather than attempt to do it all alone. That support may be one person or a group of others, but the work of evolving is difficult enough without adding to it the expectation that we have to be able to do it without any support.
If this resonates with you and you aren’t sure where to turn for support in your journey, please reach out to me, to a therapist, or to anyone who has proven to be supportive in your efforts to evolve in the past.
I invite you to explore your own story of worth with curiosity rather than with judgment and to embark on the journey of integration for yourself.
I will be exploring right along with you.
Chat again soon,