We all have deep-rooted struggles. They manifest in various ways and could lead to more serious issues including depression, anxiety, violence, and abuse. Our attempts to treat the symptoms through medication or temporary relief never really treat the root cause. Consequently, they may be effective for a short period, but the problem re-surfaces over and over again. This leads me to this question: what is your struggle?
For me, that inner struggle is with my self-worth. Dictionary.com defines self-worth as the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self-respect. After almost 30 years alive and having lived in different countries across the globe, my desire to understand why some of the incidents in my life keep repeating themselves, has led me to this. I have a low self-worth meaning I do not value myself enough.
You may be wondering what that looks like. Here are some of the symptoms: Constantly judging myself, others, situations, and God, not feeling great things are supposed to happen to me, being easily swayed by people’s thoughts and opinions (people-pleasing), boundary issues; not knowing when to say yes or no to be in control of my life, wanting to be perfect and thereby being very hard on myself when I fail. I remember different situations when people were rude or disrespectful toward me, took advantage of me, and I said nothing, sometimes even thinking, “I deserve that” or “that was good for me”. I believed that somehow it would make me stronger and able to bear hardships. Instead, those things caused me a lot of pain. Failing to address how they made me feel implanted a deeper root. As a result, this led to anger, shame, resentment, self-consciousness, thoughts and feelings of unworthiness.
Understanding these things is a great step for me. How to proceed is another step. Keeping quiet about them is not the solution. I am grateful for my relationships because through openness with friends, I took note of two books they mentioned and read them. These books have revealed so much, I will not be doing them any justice by explaining in a short paragraph. However, two things stand out: In “The Gifts of Imperfection”, Brené Brown has helped me realize that regardless of what I have or do not have, I am enough. Through his book, “How to Stop the Pain”, Dr. James B. Richards has shown me that I cannot trust my notion of who I think I am because I am who God says I am.
So take the chance and dig deep into yourself. Ask many questions; ask why to your ‘whys’. You will be surprised to find out what your struggles and symptoms are. But most of all you will be amazed by the freedom and inner-peace this discovery will give you.