Each day you are faced with the challenge of living. You are doing your best to make it through as you deal with stress, pressure, and uncertainty. Inevitably you make a mistake. Without pause, your inner voice jumps in with a harsh and reflexive “What’s wrong with you?”
You feel frustrated and defeated by the never-ending questioning about your self-worth. Any time there is an error or slight misstep, the critiquing of self can be overwhelming. Constant comparison to others through social media only adds to the self-doubt and insecurities.
This messaging about your self-worth started at an early age.
“Are you gonna be a good boy or bad boy?” your caregivers ask.
“Umm, I am only two years old… so like really??? Can I even make that decision? All I wanna do is play”
Then, you act like a two-year-old and your parents literally yell “What’s wrong with you?” This question gets wired into your brain repeatedly. Every time you do something that displeases them, they shout it at you again. Or how about the infamous “Why can’t you be more like the other kids?’
Does this sound familiar?
I mean really? What do parents think will happen to your self-worth when it is constantly questioned with every accident, error, or slight failure. As an adult, this is now your programming and it is a challenge to escape it.
You want so desperately to make that voice stop because there is this inherent belief that something is wrong with you. You think you are broken and need to be fixed.
You spend most of your time and energy trying to be perfect. You’re self-worth is constantly taking a hit. You’re searching for any way you can be better and always trying to get it right. Yet, it often feels like you come up short. There’s that wired in question again “what’s wrong you?”
Here’s the good news… You are not alone. It’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. You are not bad, wrong, or broken.
Let me repeat, there is nothing, no-thing, wrong with you. This belief is false and an illusion.
Here are 3 reasons why you think something’s wrong with you and the ways to address each one so that you build self-worth.
1. You believe you are your thoughts. That’s the lie.
Just because you think it in your mind, this doesn’t make it true. Your brain’s job is to think, constantly. This is how you process information, evaluate situations and understand your circumstances. But just because you think it, that doesn’t make it so.
Remember that as a baby, you were a blank slate. As you grew up, your mind said yes to everything anyone ever said about you. As a child, you weren’t given the tools to decipher what is beneficial and what is harmful.
You just took all this information in without a filter. If you were told “You’re a loser,” your mind absorbed it. If you heard “You are awesome,” then you said “yes” to that too. Think about how many messages you were given from parents, teachers, clergy, society, and anyone else who was important to you. All those messages are still running around your mind like a committee in your head.
If you want to tame your thoughts, then call them for what they are – just a thought. A thought is a thing and it doesn’t mean it’s true. Stop believing everything you think in your head as fact and start identifying its origin.
When did I first learn this thought?
Does this thought belong to a younger part of me?
Is this my Dad’s/Mom’s thought?
Is this a message I picked up from society?
You see, it’s just a thought. Once you identify its origin then ask yourself…
“Is it true? Do I still want this thought?” If not, commit to releasing it and letting it go.
You can put it in its proper place, and realize that nothing is wrong with you. You get to choose. You are now free to choose a thought that better serves you.
So… what thought are you choosing?
2. You think that something is wrong with you because you have been taught to do and not to be.
What do you do for a living? Now, what are you going to do about it? How many times have you heard these similar questions in your life?
Since childhood, the focus has been on doing. “You are what you do,” they say. Anytime there is a challenge, it always comes back to the same question “what should I do now?” Your worth has become predicated on what you do.
Imagine a world where the focus was on how you are being instead of what you are doing. What if you were asked “What ways of being do you aspire to embrace when you grow up?” Or if as a child, the focus was on how you were being during school or in a challenging situation.
Imagine how your sense of self-worth would be if this had been the focus. Imagine if you were praised for being kind, responsible, or compassionate. Your sense of self would be far more intact if this had been your experience.
Instead, from early on in your childhood, the focus has always been about the roles you play. You are a student, jock, or nerd. It’s been about the labels of how you act. You are stand-offish, lazy, or weird. The way you were viewed by others impacted the way you saw yourself and you attached your identity to your behavior and what you did, not how you were being.
The shift comes when you start focusing on your values and use them as a guide for who you desire to be. Living from principles takes the aim off of judging your behavior and puts the intention on what you desire to experience and express. It makes your beingness the priority.
When you focus on the value of being responsible, being authentic, being open-minded, or being in integrity, it naturally impacts what you do. No longer is there a need to worry about the behavior because the values light the way.
How you are being creates what you are doing. Your beingness becomes your superpower.
3. You are too focused on the outcome and what you have achieved, instead of focusing on the process of building self-worth.
Life is a journey of moments, that happen moment by moment. Your life is constantly in creative motion, expanding and growing. It never stops and there is no completion. However, your mind wants it all nice and pretty. It wants it in a tidy, clean box. Make it easy. Done. Check. Next.
Of course, life doesn’t work this way. Life is messy and filled with uncertainty. This makes you doubt yourself and question if you know what you are doing. Again, back to that pesky, little “doing” thing.
It’s time to let go of the achievement model of self-worth. Your worth is not based on what you have completed. That is an illusion.
Focus on your process and practice curiosity about your experience along the journey. Curiosity is the willingness to question what you know and see.
When you come from a place of curiosity, you stay open to the infinite possibilities and meanings about what you’re going through. Everything becomes information instead of condemnation.
Once you define something and attach meaning to it, you limit it. By staying curious about your experience, it creates an expansiveness that allows you to ask yourself…
“What is this experience here to teach me?”
“How can I see this in a new way and grow from it?”
These questions direct your journey with a force no limiting thought can destroy.
Everything is moving you toward your highest and best good. When you can stay focused on the process of growth and transformation, curiosity will neutralize any idea that something is wrong with you. This is how you gain freedom AND self-worth.
Building your self-worth is a process and a practice of remembering the truth of who you are. Anytime you fail, make a mistake or experience self-doubt, it’s just information to guide you. It’s not a condemnation of your value.
The thought that “something is wrong with you,” is just that, a thought and nothing more. The truth is… you are perfect exactly as you are! There is nothing to fix because you are not broken. You never have been and you never will be.
If you’re in NYC and looking for individual or couple’s therapy, contact me to set up a free consultation.