If I see that I am struggling with my sense of worth, feeling fat, ugly, not good enough, like a failure and perpetually stuck, what can I do about it?
All I know is what I experienced. I was a person with almost no sense of my worth as a human being. I thought my identity was simply based on what I had done in the past. If you had asked me to write a word over my photo, I'd have written "worthless". It's a long story on how my beliefs got to that point, but it played out in many ways. Being miserable at work and feeling stuck, hating my body and how it looked, always comparing myself to others, over-performing for approval, broken relationships, and generally feeling like crap.
Here are the things I did that made the most difference in my life, my sense of empowerment, and my worth.
- I got help. I stopped saying things like, "I shouldn't need to hire someone to help me do this. I should be able to do this on my own." and instead, I immersed in healing. I hired an amazing life coach and a personal trainer, who kept me going when I felt like giving up. I humbled myself and went to support groups at church and told my story. All of it.
- I moved my body almost every day. It is still what keeps the dark clouds at bay. This became radical empowerment for me. If I want to feel good about myself, I must work out. If I feel like crap and haven't been, I can't blame that on anyone or anything. I own it.
- I learned to step outside of my mind. In other words, I learned to observe my thoughts as opposed to constantly identifying with them. Turns out there's a lot of crazy talk going on up there, not all of which I want in control of my choices. I take a thought captive, hold it in the light, and decide if it's true before acting on it, believing it, or making it mean something about me.
- I decided I no longer wanted to be a victim. No matter what has happened to me, or what I've done, I don't want to live my life in the past. I want the ability to move forward without dragging that bag of fear, guilt and shame behind me. I decided freedom was worth the work.
- I tried new things. When I was repeating my old stuck patterns, and not getting anywhere, I finally realized that it was up to me to take steps in the direction of the life I wanted. I unzipped my self-protection suit and opened up my heart to the world. This took vulnerability and courage, but those two things are always worth it.
- I stopped trying to perform my way to worth. I kept requiring perfection, to earn what I'd been given and the space I took up in this world. What a horrible form of punishment for being human. I took off my mask, owned my fears, and quit trying to perform my way out of the pit I was in.
- I wrote it down. Some days my journal was awesome. Maybe I'd read a chapter from Dark Side of the Light Chasers, or heard a sermon that touched my heart so deeply that I wrote about it. Other days, all I could do was write the F-word across the page. Turns out what I wrote wasn't as important as getting real and getting it out.
- I learned to identify the BIG LIES. You know the ones: As soon as I am thin, I'll be happy. As soon as I have the right job, I'll be happy. As soon as I have the right relationship, I'll be happy. As soon as I have enough money, I'll be happy. As soon as I get the house clean, organized and remodeled, I'll be happy. Yadda yadda yadda.
- I learned to live life from the inside out. To me, that meant flipping the above lies upside down. As soon as I am grateful, at peace and filled with love, I will be at peace with my weight, my job, my relationships, and money.
- I learned to stop in my tracks the moment my old ways of thinking crept back in. This took practice and radical awareness. For me, it helps immensely to meditate, pray, journal, sing, take long walks in the woods, listen to loud music, pet my dog, chop veggies, and write. These things bring me out of the story I'm telling myself and into the NOW.
- Already good enough.
- Already forgiven.
- Radically worthy.
- Completely empowered.