The moment my children were born there was a burst of love in my being that I had never experienced before. It was like a light went around the earth and the heavens and back again spanning the entirety of my life cycle imploding in my heart. It brought me to tears, as they gazed into my eyes for the very first time.
Then they woke up in the middle of the night… night-after-night. This new role infringed upon every aspect of my life as I knew it.
I would like to say it was an easy transition, it wasn’t. It was hard to reorganize my identity and accept this new role that would define me for my entire earthly life.
My children, as all children do, looked to me as their caregiver for affirmation of their security. They needed me to help mold their identity through my ability to mirror their intrinsic value.
“No Pressure!!!”…said… NO MOM EVER!!!
As their mother, I was responsible for echoing back to them their sense of value every time they cried out for me or sat playing with their toys, as they looked to see if I was paying attention or focused elsewhere. We have a unique umbilical attachment, and as their primary caregiver; I am a major contributor on how they define themselves and their place in society and the world-at-large.
As I watched them grow, they became more independent beings, gained their confidence and ventured further away; as is the natural order of maturation. Their sense of identity and how they held themselves valuable depended more on the mores of the outside world, social norms and peers—and less from my omnipotent motherly guidance.
I marvel at how the trajectory of life leads most of us to a quintessential moment where we unearth the belief that our value is a result of something outside of ourselves. We dive in and do the work of recovering a relationship with ourselves, no longer looking for affirmation outside of ourselves.
Our world is one where consumerism is the topic of every marketing agency that works to sell the notion that if you buy a product, you too could be: the pretty one, the cool one, the popular one who, the successful one; the one who is perceived as really making it!
And yet — that isn’t at all where value comes from.
- Value is an intrinsic birthright.
- You don’t earn it.
- You either believe it exists or it does not, but it isn’t something you have based on any one thing.
When you are busily looking outside of yourself for your validation, your internal tank only gets filled for a moment by the desired snack of the moment to satisfy the ego.
This can get tricky if you grew up believing that you must act, think, look or be perceived a certain way or maybe even feel you need to be a part of a particular peer group or attain a certain socio-economic status in order to feel good about yourself— this is an immature view of self-worth.
Your ego may be saying:
“Yeah, but the clothes, the car, the make-up, the smartphone, the socio-economic privilege sure makes me feel amazing inside…”
…but it doesn’t last, in fact, this kind of mentality keeps you from doing the interior work of growing up and becoming a spiritual and soulful being; which I believe is where lasting fulfillment comes from.
If you spent a good portion of your life believing that you had to earn your value, your key practice will simply be to reinforce the foundation of your newly cultivated belief, that is simply:
My value does not go up-or-down; it remains constant!
Your commitment to repairing a distorted view of what self-esteem means; actually, allows you to be active in recovery each time you repeat to yourself:
My value does not go up-or-down; it remains constant!
The key to breaking bad behavioral patterns and/or measuring your worth is based on choice. Are you going to align with a core belief system that you curated as an adult or a belief system that was downloaded into your operating system as a way to survive as a child? It’s about choice.
Ask yourself this question: “What did I download as rules, bias, truths, stereotypes, and/or rigid opinions in which I believed as a child and how do they correlate to my sense of self- worth now?”
All it takes is a distorted opinion or idea that you felt you earned value outside of yourself; therein, lies the danger. If you endured trauma in childhood, or were the super-star of the school team, unearthing the belief—that your value is earned outside of you can be unnerving.
Depending on how intense your desire is to be accepted and/or validated, that old triggering belief system cultivated in your youth can be overwhelmingly powerful.
This can leave you in a flooded emotional state – one which is based upon old habits established when you depended (because you were a child) on your self-worth being reflected by those who were entrusted with your care. Being cognizant or aware of the timing of when this belief first integrated into your consciousness will help make the necessary subtle shift(s) to bridge steps toward recovery.
Recovery: When you rediscover or recover your self-worth you allow yourself to bask in awe of your own life force.
There is one simple question I use when I am overwhelmed and question my self-worth:
how old do I feel right now?
Undoing habitual responses takes time. If you are in a feedback loop like the one illustrated below you can see that there must be an entry point to break the cycle. If you change the thought, you change the set-up for staying stuck in a shame spiral that leaves you feeling less-than with regard to your value. Use the thoughts/mantras below and put it them on repeat!
My Value does not go up or down.
My Value is constant because I exist.
My worth comes from my ability to decide in each moment that I have Value.
As it relates to your ability to esteem yourself from a functional adult state, your self-talk plays a big role in helping you manage your ability to live in a neutral state.
If you are down in the dumps about your place in the world, start to catch your negative thinking and check it for validity.
Get really curious about why you think negative self-deprecating thoughts, and then practice switching the thought from negative to positive. Viola!
…it does take practice for most of us!
- You are an adult.
- You are in recovery.
- You get to author your life through the sum total of your choice.
- You can choose your thoughts.
Change your thinking, and integrate a new belief that value isn’t measurable. In doing so your life will shift, as you begin to live a more authentic experience of what it is you are truly yearning to accomplish in recovery. If you don’t feel fully equipped on how to facilitate this mind-shift or want to learn more tools on how to catch negative thinking, read my Three-Strategies to Ending Self-Criticism in Early Recovery blog to drill further into the practice of taming the monkey mind.
As you learn to esteem yourself from within, you gain an ember for your internal light which continually shines.
In your ability to recover this internal light, you will go throughout your day expressing positive thoughts and affirmations.
This is an attractive high vibe energy that you own. That fire radiating from within you is one you are in partnership with on a moment to moment basis…
Fan Your Flame!
Lorri Lancashire is the founder of High Vibe Soul, LLC. a coaching program for women that struggle with recovery from food related issues and negative body image. Lorri works as a mindset coach and is also a Masters clinician as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas. She has a private practice working with individuals and couples. Lorri is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist through IAEDP (International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals). She has trained with Pia Mellody, the Beck Institute, and Terrance Real and is completing her training as an RLT therapist.
Click here to download Lorri’s free “I Am Solution” and begin to recover your joy!