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Pursue a New You Through True Self Value, Part 1 (How To of Confidence!)

Current levels of Self-Value

One of the biggest questions that I regularly come across is how does a person develop self-value? People are looking for the how to of confidence. So many people are left with scars from their childhood from how little value they have. More scars develop as people get older and experience more pain.

Some people end up with the beliefs that they only have value if they are a good parent, provider, employee, etc. The common thread is that a person’s value either doesn't exist or exists outside of them.

When your value is external, what happens when your children grow up or if you lose a child, if you don’t need to provide for somebody anymore, you change or lose your job, get fired, or retire, etc. What happens when life changes and you are not prepared for it because you have always determined your value based on some external source?

Others determine their self value based on how they think other people perceive them. Then the external value is not only at the mercy of changes in life, but also at the mercy of what you think other people think of you as well. Given that you feel little value to begin with, it is inevitable that you will misinterpret what you think others think of you, contributing to the low value.

Then there are those who cannot find any sense of value at all, or it may come in bits and pieces, but the overall experience can lead to one of emptiness, unbearable sadness, depression, and hopelessness that come with feeling that you have little or no value. The how to of confidence is sorely missing.

The lack of value is not just an empty space unfortunately. That would be easy to deal with in comparison to the feeling of negative self worth. The self hatred, anger, and shame can become palpable. But where did those feelings come from and how did they develop? We are not born with it; we are born full of ourselves, full of life, curiosity, and a zest to learn. We inherently felt our own value, bursting with life as we were. So what happened?

Development of Self-Value

As we grew from babies to toddlers to small children, all the messages started to pile into our very pliable sponge-like brains. We were told to stop being who we naturally were. Don’t do this and don’t do that. Bad girl; bad boy. The pages of the how to of confidence primer is ripped apart!

Many more limitations were put on us than were encouragement and explanations. Our curiosity got squelched and many were punished, some severely. Eventually we stopped wanting to learn and grow as our brains became cluttered with all those messages, pain becoming a frequent consequence for normal expression.

Then as we grew older, other negative experiences added to these bad feelings about ourselves. We are so unaware of the sheer volume of negative messages in our subconscious. Only a small percentage makes it into our consciousness. And you wonder why you can feel so emotionally overwhelmed?

We need to go a little further back to understand our parent’s behaviors. Regardless of how good, bad or neutral your upbringing was, the one thing that can be said for all parents is that they did the best they could, given the tools that had, and the circumstances that they were in. That was the best that they were able to do back then, with how little they understood themselves and their own behaviors.

We are of a generation where personal growth has become much more important. Years ago many of these concepts that are regularly available now were unknown to most. Parents raised their children in the same way that they were raised, hopefully with at least some improvement in parenting techniques, but unfortunately not in all situations. Suffice it to say that for better or worse, your parents raised you in the best way that they knew how.

Many people aren’t even aware of how they were affected as a child. They think back and feel that they had a good childhood and good parents. Yet even in that seemingly good situation, many were left with internal messages that left them with no sense of self-esteem or self value. But the how to of confidence is missing some pages!

The Process of Change

The bottom line is that it really does not matter what the exact nature is of how we came to be the way we are. The primary focus needs to be finding what those conscious or unconscious messages are that are in our psyches right now. How do each of you, individually see yourselves? What are those messages and then how do you change them? What do you replace them with and how do you do it?

Before we jump further into this discussion, a word of warning. Nothing will change if you are not willing to change some deep ingrained beliefs and judgments. The old saying of do you want to be right or do you want to be happy applies 100% here. It may take you some time to adjust to new ideas and beliefs about yourself, but if you reject them outright, you will not change.

Also, this is not an intellectual process. You use your intellect to help in the process, but this is a deeply emotional, transition on all levels of your being. You only feed information into your brain so that you become aware of the tools. You must do the work, take the risks, face the fears, be creative, and ultimately learn how to stay focused on what you want to achieve and even to have fun. It is very much like regaining some lost aspects of how you were as a child. The how to of confidence requires a hands on approach.

Increasing Self Awareness Objectively

Self awareness and self honesty is where everyone needs to begin. Your outward focus of being concerned with how the rest of the world perceives you needs to be turned inwards. How do you really perceive yourself? What are the actual thoughts you think about yourself, especially around others? Are you afraid of saying what you really feel? Do you even know what that really is?

What fears do you have when you interact with other people? Do you want them to see you in a certain way? Use the answers as clues to what is missing in you. Are you looking for acceptance, recognition, love, attention, etc? What form of rejection does your fear look like for you? You can either make a list with this information or you can just observe yourself and see what thoughts, feelings, and physiological reactions you have. All three aspects give you a lot of information.

As you gather this kind of information about yourself, it is essential to remain an objective observer of who you are. It is possible that as you look at yourself more honestly, it will bring up more fear and self-judgment and stop this process in its tracks. Become a split personality and use that other, solely analytical part of you to gather data just like a computer does. Put the information into a file in your mind that is separate from your thoughts, feelings, and interpretations at this point. You don’t yet know the value of what you are gathering and you don’t know what to do with it.

Fear of Conflict as an Example

As you gather up your list of what you observe about yourself, you are really gathering up clues as to what you need to work on. This information also gives you clues as to the direction in which you need to go to start the work. For example, lets look at one of the forms of rejection, the fear of conflict.

This is a good example because we can unravel it into its components. A fear of conflict is many things (most fears are). It stops you from clearly expressing what you feel, need, and want. You feel that the other person has some sort of value that you do not have, therefore allowing their voice to be more important than yours.

Lets look at clear expression. You have not had the opportunity to learn clear expression in a way where conflict does not have to exist. First of all, you have a right to express yourself. The person receiving that information has the right to do what they want with the information they receive. They also have the right to express themselves and you have the right to do what you want with the information you receive. When you learn the how to of confidence, other people's opinions become far less important.

Yet what is it that you are trying to express? So many times we really are not clear on what it is that we really want to communicate, there are so many hidden agendas. We speak without thinking, in an automatic way. We even listen in an automatic way that creates assumptions about what is said without really listening. We need to become clearer on how we hear, what we are saying, and why we are saying it.

There are many clever little ways in which we attempt to change (manipulate) people, hide what we really want, or feel that we can only ask for what we want in a convoluted way. We do this out of a combination of how we saw our parents communicate to each other, how we observed others, and partly out of fear.

Yet people pick up on what we all think are subtle behaviors. We all have the ability to sense when something is off through body language, tone of voice, choice of words, etc. This lack of clarity and conscious or subconscious subterfuge contribute to what eventually leads to conflict. We don’t trust one other because the established patterns do not have clear communication and clear focus.

Motivation for Change

This ties into self-value in that we do not believe in ourselves enough to seek out that form of clarity. In fact, most people, even knowing what their options are, will avoid even learning the alternatives, because it is easier to just avoid the unknown, which is more fearful than that which they already know and are comfortable with. They somehow manage to get through life, not feeling good when conflict happens, even if it happens on a regular basis.

It is a catch-22 where there are just enough good times to offset the bad times to not bother doing the work to change. Being right is the payoff. They get to be right about the other person being the problem. Now, how many of you instantly went into thinking that if the other person isn’t the problem, am I saying that they are? There is no problem, there are only solutions to be found. If you do the comparison blame game, you will not learn and grow. This is not about comparison, blame, good, bad, indifferent, this is about do you or don’t you want to change your circumstances? Then put your focus on yourself in order to create better experiences.

Practicing Self Awareness

Practice becoming more honest with yourself about what you really want to say, why you say it the way you do, notice the fears, how you choose your words to try and get certain results, as well as the real intention behind your words. We all have moments of communication that could use honest assessment and improvement. The how to of confidence allows for an emotionless look at what we would like to change.

Make note of each and every conversation you have, even the ones with yourself. Are you really being as honest as you can be? Can you identify any fears that are underneath how you say things and what you choose to say? Can you feel yourself change to please others or to avoid conflict? What exactly are you afraid of? Always ask yourself, always dig a little bit deeper for more information about yourself.

In the next Ezine I will show you what to do with all the information that you gathering. Remember that this is to be done without judgment. If you start to feel bad about what you are observing then stop, and create that split personality in your mind, making believe if you have to, that it is just a computer gathering information. This is one of the ways in which you can distract your self judgment by having fun.

Picture one of those giant ancient main frames, complete with tapes, hear the whirring sounds of the machinery, feel the heat emanating from the computers, smell the electricity, even touch the metallic and other surfaces in your mind. You’d be surprised how using your senses is a powerful way of getting out of fear, judgment, or reaction. Make up your own scenario to distract yourself, just be sure to make note of what you are observing with the clear focus and intention of wanting to create change and more specifically, knowingly or unknowingly introduce more self value for yourself!

Read Part 2

Ewa Schwarz
OnlineCounseling.org

Thank you for your continued support.


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