grief self worth and healing

Do you believe you are worthy of healing? It sounds like an odd question, I know. Really, though – do you?

If you believe it’s an easy “yes,” do your actions reflect that you are?

For many years I struggled to cope with the events of loss and trauma that occurred during my childhood. Well into adulthood, my self-worth was in the toilet. During my teen years, although I was pretty thin, I would wear baggy clothes. I hid my body. I hid a lot during those years. I didn’t have a boyfriend until going into my senior year (even then, I couldn’t believe it). And, I had big aspirations for my life (travel was at the heart of every endeavor I considered).

As you know, life can be planned down to the letter. However, life always has other plans. Plans that are sometimes better than what we imagined, too.

However, what had held me back in so many ways was the fact I did not feel worthy of good things. And, even when I thought I had a good thing, I anticipated it (or them) going away or leaving, which is what happened, too. Relationships in my life were either strained or ended. I never let anyone get too close. I allowed others to take advantage of me (I didn’t know what boundaries were). I didn’t appreciate the good things I did have (including my job that I should have been fired from more than once). I even flooded out of my apartment. It was as if, if I had both shoes, I was creating chaos for one to drop, or, I was barely hanging on because I was losing one. Do you know what I mean?

It wasn’t until my now-husband came back into my life after many years of friendship, where he showed me what I was worth to him. And, slowly but surely, I began to understand my worth and how I contribute to the world around me (positive and negative). I discovered faith (and hope) for the first time, and I started to turn my life around. But, this didn’t happen until my eyes were opened to the fact that I was worthy of good things because I am, and no other reason was needed. I didn’t have to do or be anything to anyone else to be worthy. I didn’t have to perform or be someone I wasn’t to please someone else – I could be me, and that was enough. This awareness was only the start, though. Because even from this time, it took me another sixteen years (sixteen years!!!!) to put that feeling of unworthiness to bed – for good. And, it didn’t happen until I resolved all of the trauma and pain that was the catalyst for it in the first place.

Our lack of self-worth is very much tied to childhood grief. Whether your parents were divorced, a parent died, you were sexually abused (a big, big one),  adopted, in foster care, you likely weren’t raised knowing you were in charge of your own agency. Meaning, you weren’t encouraged to make your own decisions (reasonably, of course, for safety reasons) and weren’t allowed to express your opinions. Perhaps you grew up in survival mode.

I’ve learned so much about the power of choice after going through what I have gone through in my life. Fortunately, my husband and I are on the same page as we raise our children, too. We do not force our children to do anything they do not want to do. And, we ask probing questions to help them come to their own conclusions about what matters to them.

Something as simple as having the ability (and choice) of not wanting to play a sport serves them well into adulthood. We don’t force our kids to do any sport they don’t want to do. However, once they start, they’re finishing. It is important to us, as parents, they learn what the word commitment means. These lessons serve them later when their friends have all gathered around and “they’re all doing it (drinking or whatever “it” is),” and they have the know-how and the conviction to say “no.” Regardless of what others may think, and because they’ve flexed their “decision-making” muscle, they can confidently stand by what they feel is right for them. I always ask my kids, “what does your gut tell you?” And, I conclude with “it will never steer you wrong.” I also tell them that nothing good happens after midnight. But, isn’t that the truth in adulthood, too? Lol!

What does the power of choice have to do with self-worth and healing?

Had I learned the skills and been encouraged to exercise my right to choose, I would have known and understood that my desires had worth. I would have grown up understanding that, what I feel in my gut, is what is right for me and would have created boundaries early on to protect myself from further pain and suffering. Instead, what happens, is we become detached from our own inner-guidance system. That muscle doesn’t get flexed, so we look to the external for all of the answers. We don’t know where to go, what to do, or why we’re here. We lose touch with ourselves. And, we base our decisions on the feelings/actions/behaviors of others.

Grief is the catalyst for lack of self-worth, and our learned behavior and generational teachings influence us like gasoline on a fire.

You want to build self-worth and heal? It takes inner-work, and it’s anything but easy. 

If you don’t have boundaries in your life, aren’t sure what they are, or are reading this feeling like nothing you ever do is good enough, that you’re everyone’s doormat, and why bother because life only seems to hand you lemons? Start by digging deep, my friend. There’s healing to be done. And, you are worthy of it. Always have been, and forever will be. If only you could see it.

Hope and healing is just an email away: [email protected] 

much love, victoria

 

 

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