Finding Self-Worth

Sometimes we have the mindset of a seedling and forget that we are a tree in the making.

Struggling with Self-Worth

If you read my last pregnancy post, you’d know that I am on bedrest. Bedrest and C-section recoveries are extremely difficult for me because I have a tendency to displace where I put my worth. If I’m honest, I find worth in being helpful and capable. I find worth in doing. However, now and in the weeks to come, it’s either I reframe what makes me feel worthy or sulk about feeling worthless. Bedrest has been difficult enough, but the C-section recovery will be a monster. Not only will I not be able to do much, but I’ll have to depend on others to help me with most things. It’s during times like these that I feel like a burden and find difficulty finding my value. Yes, rationally I know that I’m not worthless. The newest member of the family is thriving in my womb. After she’s born, I’ll be feeding, changing, and doing whatever I can to cater to her needs and keep her alive. Sounds amazing, but a lot of mothers in my position have the same skewed sense of worth. Pregnancy and the post-partum period are the examples I’m using, but a lot of people ,in various circumstances, have difficulty valuing themselves and recognizing their worth. Below, I have some tips that might help with battling the distorted thoughts that cause us to feel worthless.

Finding Worth

Challenge Distorted Thoughts and Beliefs

It’s CBT time again and the beautiful triad of thoughts/beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. This time, we’ll just focus on thoughts. Thoughts are important in the triad because they are the most susceptible to change. Thoughts can be changed by rational thinking and challenging. Feelings and behaviors usually go for the ride laid out by our thoughts. My distorted belief is that I’m  worthless if I’m not doing or able to do X,Y,Z. Some people might struggle with finding their distorted thoughts because they frame their thoughts and beliefs as feelings. For example, “I feel worthless” is less accurate than, “I believe that I’m worthless.” A number of things that we claim as feeling are not feelings. They are thoughts and thoughts can be challenged. The best way to challenge these thoughts is to think of 3 ways that the thought isn’t true. If it’s hard, imagine that someone you cared about shared the same thought with you. What would you tell them? Let’s say my thought is, “I’m a burden.” My 3 challenges could be that no one has expressed that I’ve been a burden, my loved ones have expressed a desire to help, and many other people have reached out to help.

Find Motivation

I want to note that I didn’t say find positivity. I said find motivation. My husband is not always positive with me, but helps me challenge my thought distortions.  He drives me out of my slump and thrusts me back into reality. Tough love doesn’t work for everyone and in every situation. Nevertheless, I’m asking you to be open about sources of motivation. Motivation can come in places where you and most people least expect expect it.

Some people find motivation by helping people that they perceive as less fortunate such as the homeless, disabled, and impoverished. I want to emphasize that the real motivation doesn’t come from merely seeing the resilience in those populations. Pity for others doesn’t changes lives. On the other hand, the realization that you are impoverished in your mindset will change your life.  It’s when the script is flipped that we are able to see that we are the less fortunate. We can then be motivated to move on to a more valued self.

It’s also helpful to learn from others in your situation. If you like books, there’s a book out there for you that talks about what you’re going through and how someone found their worth through it. Sticking with my initial example, I sought out books about C-sections and the toll it took on the minds of mothers. Despite almost 30% of women giving birth to their babies,  I was able to find one book. This is not to discourage you, but encourage you to keep looking. I found the book My Cesarean and it was life changing. For half of the book,  I found motivation in women that rose to the occasion. In the other half I found myself talking to the book and telling the women in the book what I needed to hear.

Many of us either aren’t into books or need something more interactive. That’s where finding your tribe becomes useful. Facebook groups have been invaluable to me as I have navigated through weightloss, becoming sober, and preparing for the birth of my next child. Some people in the groups discuss their feelings of worthlessness and the comments they receive usually help me as well. Other times, I need that personal boost and reach out to the groups.

Don’t Give Up

Through all of your thoughts and feelings, you have to keep trying to find your worth and find gratitude. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Don’t give up on yourself and believe that you are more valuable that you can conceptualize. Choose hope. Don’t only hope that things will get better, but hope that you’ll find fulfillment and peace.

Christian Worth

From time to time, I’ll include how I approach a topic from a Christian perspective. My religious beliefs are a big part of my life and it wouldn’t be authentic if I didn’t mention aspects of Christianity in my blog. These portions aren’t exclusive to Christians, so don’t completely check out if you’re not a Christian.

Identity is very important. As a Christian, my identity is built on being saved by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for my sins. His sacrifice means that I am no longer condemned, but convicted to live a  way that glorifies God.  My conviction to do good works is independent of my righteousness. Christians are righteous because of Jesus’s sacrifice alone. All of this is to say that my worth as a Christian does not originate in anything that I or the world can provide.  My worth is built in Jesus and the righteousness that was gifted to me. Therefore, it does not matter if I work hard, have kids, be “productive,” or do any of the multitude of things we have been brainwashed to believe gives us worth. The only thing that matters is my faith in Jesus and the worth that is bestowed on me through Him. This freeing yolk is what gives me peace when I have no reserves or ability to find worth in myself.

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