Redeem Your Self Esteem (from Abuse)

Self Esteem is something that can always be worked on. Even the most confident of people still have fears and doubts, signaling areas for them to look at and address. The average person copes well in life, hiding their insecurities and getting by whether or not they work on their self-esteem. Of course increasing ones self-esteem creates a better quality of life for anyone who is willing to face their personal challenges and do the work necessary to change.

But for people who are victims of domestic violence, self-esteem is barely existent to begin with. While it does exist in some areas, it is quickly negated through the process of abuse and the resulting effects on the mind. Self-esteem is elusive and connecting to it is like being on a roller coaster. A victim’s sense of self is continually eroded, creating a situation where they just don’t know what to believe anymore.

There are many great resources for domestic violence victims who want to learn more about their options. To find multiple resources type in “domestic violence help” as a search term on the internet and you will get a list of sites that offer valuable information and help. In this article, I want to focus on what a person can do to change how they see themselves by increasing their understanding and introducing some new behaviors to increase their self-esteem.

If you are a victim, the main reason why you are in the situation that you are in is that you have lost your ability to make choices and have lost your own voice. You no longer know what to believe and are listening to the wrong voices. This self-doubt has a history that most likely started in your childhood, by seeing how your parents communicated to each other and by the messages that you received from your parents about your self-value and self esteem.

Your parents showed you the blueprint for what a relationship is like. Whether or not you are consciously aware of it, those messages and blueprint are what you are reliving. It is never to late to look at those messages and how they relate to your life now so that you can change them and eventually change your circumstances.

What you think and believe about yourself needs to be brought to the surface in order to change it. This process can be painful and confusing, because you will be asked to essentially reevaluate who you are and discard parts of yourself that you have always firmly believed in. If you can change even one small piece of yourself, you take the most important and hardest step in initiating change and bettering your self esteem by just making that first step.

Do you think you deserve love? Have you at various times felt desperate to be loved? Do you just say yes to the love that you get, not knowing that you can pick and choose the type of love you let into your life? Is the type of love you get familiar to you? Does this remind of in any way of your parents relationship or their relationship with you?

Love is something that you can choose, but it must start within you. Imagine if everything you were told about love and about what was wrong with you was a lie. Where would you start to pick up the pieces that were left shattered from all those untruths?

Start by being open to the possibility that what you currently believe may be flawed. Rather than question yourself and your value, question the thoughts that come into your head unannounced, the ones that repeat themselves over and over. Any automatic, repetitive thought that supports a low self esteem needs a second look.

At this beginning stage, the first step is to just watch how these thoughts rule your world. Actively wonder where they came from. They did not just magically appear. Each one of those negative messages was told to you or given to you by somebody else. There will be a secondary tier of messages that have evolved from those primary ones. Those are the ones that were created by your own mind based on those original negative messages.

Be honest with yourself that those messages are not natural to your being. If your mind tries to convince you that it doesn’t matter what the source of those negative messages are because they are true anyway, then this is where you first stand up for yourself. Nothing is going to change in your life unless you take this basic step. Those negative voices are not you and they were placed in your head from external sources. Do not doubt yourself, doubt the messages tat give you low esteem.

If it were at all possible to strip away all those negative comments, even for just one moment, who would you be? What would be left? Is there anything left inside you that you can identify with without all that negativity? Is there a layer of hurt that prevents you from seeing anything but low self esteem?

There is a lot of hurt and pain to overcome and get past. There is resentment and anger. You will go through a process very similar to the grieving process as you choose to find something else to believe other than what you currently know. There may be fear about what if what is on the other side of the fence is worse than your currently experience?

Do not let that voice stop you from trying. That voice is the voice of your low self esteem's fear that wants to keep you where you are. It tries to keep you from moving out of your situation. Take the risk and try something different.

The next step is to redirect the energy that you feel into a direction that will help you instead of hurt you. Take your anger, resentment, sense of unfairness, sadness, and any other feeling that comes up and use that energy to tell those negative voices to just stop. Your goal is to get even just a moment of quietness. Use that energy like a sword to slice up those words. Imagine words flying everywhere and anytime a negative statement tries to enter your head, dismember it.

This is a type of internal housecleaning and decluttering. The negative messages of your self esteem take up all your energy and all the space so that there is no room for you to create any other type of movement. By slashing up these messages and fighting them, you start the process of making room for other, more positive thoughts and messages to enter into your consciousness.

You don’t need to believe in this, you just need to do it. Take action and do this as often as you can. You will find yourself strangely energized. At this point, you can still be easily disrupted from this new space, but you now have a tool that you can use without anyone else knowing about it.

You can use it at anytime, anywhere, even around other people. You can use this tool with new negative messages that come at you. Silently use your sword to cut up that negativity and make room for new self esteem.

The more you practice doing this, the easier it will get and it will eventually become automatic. As you get comfortable using this tool, you can start to introduce the next step, which is to seek out the opposite of what you have been hearing in your mind.

An excellent exercise is to write down the most common negative messages you are used to hearing in your head on one page. Then, write down the exact opposite on a second page for each item on your list. Make sure that the new statements are positive. Those will eventually become you new self-esteem!

There may be an obstacle at this point, and that is disbelief about the positive statements. You have heard the negative versions for so long that even hearing the new statement can make you cringe and want to stop right there. If you experience this, then double check your new statements as if you were reading them about somebody else. You can make sure that they do not covertly hide any negativity in this way.

So, now you have gone through the process of stopping negative thoughts, using all that pent up energy to really smash them away from you. Now, read through your new list and just pick one statement that you can relate to. Repeat that to yourself over and over. Feel the new statement, allowing it to shift into other positive statements if it wants to. Do NOT let it become negative, if it does, fight it immediately with all the energy you can muster. Keep this process clean.

Over time you will be able to add additional statements. If the new, positive statements still ring false to you and don’t seem to be working, create a new list that you just know to be true about yourself. There will always be a few qualities that you are confident about. They don’t have to be big or fancy, they can just be small little observations that you have made about yourself over time. Use those instead of the first list of positive statements. Repeat them over and over to build your self-esteem.

As you practice these suggestions, you will find that doing this on some days is easier than on others. Doing your best is always changing. It depends on your stress levels, your challenges, how tired you might be, etc. On the days when this process doesn’t seem to work, set it aside for another day. You have too much already on your plate and you need a break. Allow yourself to understand your natural rhythms of good days and bad days. On the better days you will have much more energy to succeed at this new skill that you are trying.

This is just a small step in rebuilding your self-esteem. It is about beginning the process of learning to believe in you again. You did love yourself at one point, until it was beaten out of you, physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. You are quietly reclaiming a small space within yourself. Don’t tell the difficult people in your life about this or they will try to take it away from you and belittle you and the process. Allow it to create a shift in you internally.

When you make a change like what I am suggesting, you will find that your confidence grows just a little bit, and for some, more. It all depends on how badly you have been driven down. At some point this internal change automatically starts to show up in other areas of your life. It helps you develop a quiet confidence that you weren’t aware of before.

It has always been there, it is being uncovered by removing all the heaviness that has hidden it and bogged it down. Allow this new seed to grow by constantly doing this process. This will nurture and feed that seed, which will eventually become strong enough for you to make different choices and build that positive self esteem.

Ewa Schwarz

Thank you for your continued support.


recommended books