An Inner Dialogue: Processing Worthiness
I am afraid.
What drives this fear?
Could my need for love and acceptance from others be the driving force?
Why do I believe that I am only safe if I have the approval, the acceptance, the love of others?
Safe from what?
Safe from their harsh judgement, their ridicule, their disapproving looks?
When I was a child I watched how others were treated that didn't seem to receive social acceptance. I heard my parents, my peers downgrade the value of others based on what they did or didn't do.. how good they were in sports.. what kind of grades they made in school... what they contributed to the world. Those whose actions were pleasing to these adults and peers were safe from these judges ridicule, from their negative judgement. They were loved and accepted because their actions were pleasing to the self appointed judges of the world. I decided that what was pleasing to the adult, to the judges, as good or successful becomes the bench mark for what needs to be done, achieved, and maintained for love and acceptance and therefore feeling safe in my world..
Then it began.
That's where it all started.
I began running.
Running and trying to be all that is loved and accepted by the judges so I could be safe from their judgement and ridicule.. So I could be safe from their harsh words, shaming, their disapproving looks. So I could be loved. So I could be safe.
I am trying so hard.
This one belief, this one misunderstanding that we are only safe if we have love and acceptance from others is making so many of my decisions for me. What the judges think of me matters because if they don't love and accept me, I am not safe.. If I am not somebody, if I don't matter, if I don't do something great, I won't be loved, admired, respected, accepted. I won't be safe.
So I push myself to the point of exhaustion.
I allow my inner dialogue to abuse me and push me to do things I don't even want to do.
I am pushed to the point that I don't even know who I am anymore.
I don't know what I actually like to do.
I am not free.
I am owned by the judges.
I don't know how to have fun.
I don't know how to relax.
I don't know how to love myself.
I am now anxious and afraid all of the time.
I am trying to follow the rules of my mind to obtain love and acceptance so that everything can just be ok.. but yet nothing is ok.. nothing ever seems ok or seems to stays fixed or good. This anxiety has become my faithful companion. So I try to do more things to gain more love and acceptance, but I only become more afraid instead of feeling more safe. Now I am expected to do these great things which only adds to the bar I raised for myself. Now I have to try even harder to maintain my status that is supposed to feel safe to me, but doesn't. It only feels anxious.
This isn't working.
This is all wrong.
The ideas my mind has of what will get me to safety is flawed.
I think I'll stop.
I think I'll just relax.
I think I will stop trying, stop doing for love and acceptance.
What I am doing is not working.
I don't feel safe.
All this trying seems to be making things worse.
My mind is not going to like this new plan. It is so afraid if I stop running towards being as valuable as possible that my worst fear of being a nobody will catch me. It will catch me and overtake me, and then what?
No one will love me?
No one will want me?
No one will accept me?
Everyone will judge and ridicule me?
They are already doing that anyway and I am running as fast as I can.
I am doing everything I know to do.
The truth is, the people in my life that I care about the most will probably be very happy that I feel relaxed and not stressed and anxious. The people in my life that care about me the most will probably be proud of me because I stopped running. My anxiety will calm. Everything will calm. I may even get an idea to do something I love.. not because I'm running out of fear.. but because I am relaxing into me. I realize the doing isn't the problem. It's good to do. It's good to create. The problem is doing for the wrong reason. Doing to prove my worthiness. Doing to avoid judgement. That was my misunderstanding I had as a child.
I am going to stop running now and see what happens.
I may have to do it afraid but I guess that is the definition of courage.
I have courage.
I have the courage that I need to stop running, to stop trying to earn or deserve love, acceptance, and safety.
I am going to just stop now.
I'm going to stop caring if others think I am valuable and deserving of love.
I am going to stop allowing others to be the judge of my success and worthiness of love.
No one gets to be the judge of me.
I am empowered.
I am just me.
I am still afraid but at least I have a new plan. Let's see what happens. Maybe I asked a friend to support me as I stop. I may need that. My mind may try to get me to go back to the old plan of running and I may need calm reassurance and a reminder from a friend that the old plan only brings me anxiety and not safety.
I can do this.
I am ready.
No more running.
I will be free.
I will have peace.
I gave my power to the judges.
I am taking that back... Today.
What is the difference between a healthy push and self imposed mental abuse?
Have you every heard someone say, "You really shouldn't be so hard on yourself"?
For many of us, our inner dialogue can be incredibly cruel, harsh, and relentless.
We mentally abuse ourselves thinking that is what is necessary for us to change, to do or be better, to succeed. It may be the only way we know. Self imposed mental abuse is a real issue. We constantly tear ourselves down with our internal dialogue and create emotional instability and insecurity within ourselves in the process. Our confidence and ability to trust ourselves is destroyed.
Of course we all want to be the best version of ourselves, but internal mental abuse is not the way to get there.
Learning the healthy push is the better way to go.
The difference between self imposed mental abuse and a healthy push is that one uses blame, shame, and guilt, and the other uses quality words of encouragement and inspiration. A healthy push comes from a place of understanding that we are all human doing the best we can in every situation and are always growing and improving. A healthy push uses quality words to encourage the best version of ourselves to rise to the surface. A healthy push is motivated by love. Mental abuse is motivated by fear.
Where does self inflicted mental abuse start?
What we witnessed from our parents while growing up determines if we adopt mental abuse or the healthy push as adults.
You may have heard your parents being hard on themselves for mistakes, blaming themselves repeatedly, or even calling themselves names. Maybe when you made a mistake, you were met with blame, shame and guilt, and heard, "why did you do that?" "That was dumb or that was so stupid of you!"
In that moment of hearing those words as a child, your impressionable mind was listening.
When we are young, our mind behaves like a talking parrot. Whatever our parents say, our parrot repeats. When we grow into adults, our parrot comes with us. When we mess up, our parrot speaks the words of our parent.
I witnessed an example of the blame, shame, and guilt model while traveling a couple of months back. I was on a flight to Indonesia in a window seat next to a 3 year old boy and his mom. He was restless as most 3 year olds are. He had slept most of the 6 hour flight but woke as we were about to land. He did not want to keep his belt on for the landing and in a last ditch effort to keep her child in his belt, this sweet, well meaning mom says, "if you don't keep your belt on I guess I can't be your friend anymore".
I cringed on the inside because I knew his parrot was listening and would turn on him with shame as an adult in moments where he wasn't doing what he "should" have been. This brief moment of stress and fear from his mom set him up to mentally abuse himself as an adult and teach his children to do the same.
How do we change this for ourselves and adopt the healthy push for ourselves and those around us?
Awareness. Understanding. Compassion. Encouragment.
Be aware of what we are doing to ourselves and others by using the old model of blame, shame, and guilt...motivated by fear.
Understand that we are all doing our best based off of our current level of knowledge and decision making abilities. We all mean well.
Remember that during those moments that don't go as planned, that seem to be mistakes, we can act from compassion...Compassion for ourselves and others.
Mistakes happen. We are all human. We are on the same team.
Meet those mistakes with objectivity and encouragement. Assess the situation. Collect the facts. See what we can change or make better. Put the time and effort in for that improvement. Accept the parts that we have no control over. Leave that mistake or event in the past. Bury it. It's no longer your business or part of your life. Move on in a positive and well informed way.
The healthy push is proactive and productive as opposed to mental abuse that only results in discouragement and lack of self confidence.
The healthy push moves you past those mistakes, armed and ready to improve and grow stronger.
Mental abuse will keep you stuck in the past and destroy your confidence and your ability to move forward and improve.
I think if we could learn to be the best coaches and motivators, to ourselves, our children, and those around us, everything we touch would change for the better and we would never find ourselves stuck ever again.
All of life is a game of balance. Energy in, Energy out. The better you are at keeping the energy balanced in all areas of your life, the more successful you are at the game of life. This leads to less worry and more happy.
Think about it:
Body-How's my balance? Am I putting more energy in that I am out? Am I even aware of how much energy I put into my body by way of food? Is it healthy energy or unhealthy energy? When you find your balance physically, your body finds it's natural weight, strength, and energy levels.
Mind-How's my balance? What am I doing with my mental energy? Do I focus on healthy topics or unhealthy topics? Whatever goes in tends to come out. If you constantly entertain thoughts of fear, worry, and confusion, you will act from fear, worry, and confusion.
Spirit-How's my balance? Can I even hear my spirit or my heart and what it is telling me to do? If the mind is out of balance, the answer will be no. If the answer is yes, I can hear or feel what my heart is saying to do, do you act on the guidance of your heart? If the mind gets in the way with fear, the answer will be no. Therefore you are out of balance.
Ignore one of these three and balance is lost.
To find and maintain balance, we must keep all 3 aspects at center stage. This means, you have to give each your careful attention and care each day.
What does your body need.. do that.
What does your mind need.. do that.
What does your spirit need.. do that.
Seem overwhelming? Undoable? Tried it before and failed? Just don't have the energy to do it? Don't want to even try?
It's your life and you matter!.. Do not give up on you right now no matter how bad you may feel. Reach out. Grab a friend who is in the same boat. Join a support group.
Whatever you do, don't just sit down and give up.. ever!!! Happy can be yours!!! It's just a game of balance! We got this!!
This is my personal focus this year. If you need someone to hold you up while you practice your balance..join me at https://www.facebook.com/groups/30DayHealthReboot/
for daily tips and support on finding and maintaining balance in body, mind, and spirit.
..Let's do this together:)
Angie Johnsey is a speaker, author and world-renowned Mind expert. A hypnotherapist and psychiatric nurse by trade, Angie assists clients all over the world to become aware of their mental and emotional patterns, bring clarity and peace to lives that were once full of stress and suffering, and choose the feelings they would like to have to transform their lives.