I once heard that for each negative comment, we need ten positive comments to counteract the effect. I’m not sure how accurate those numbers are, however I have noticed that as people we seem to place more stock in the negative than the positive. A compliment is accepted and appreciated for a short time, but an insult often clings to our minds and grates our souls for years.
So powerful are the hold of negativity on us, that we often carry it with us and allow it to affect our view of ourselves. This is best seen in the ‘baggage’ we bring from childhood into adulthood. They say context is everything, and each person has their own context which shapes and moulds them into who they eventually become. The way we think about ourselves is directly linked to the way we think about others. Simply put, if you have no self worth, you are unlikely to find true value in others. If you don’t love and accept yourself, you might find it difficult to love and accept others in a way that is healthy and constructive.
I see many broken lives in my line of work. Young people who have been taught in both word and action that they are worthless, a burden, in the way, something to be used and abused. These young people eventually turn into adults and, if they are unable to find healing for their life-scars, continue to exist in their emotional prison or worse, inflict the same burden on others.
Each of us have scars that remain part of who we are. It could be a painful childhood, it good be grief, it could involve abuse and neglect, it might be the dark dungeon of addiction. Some of us find healing by using our experiences to become better people, to gain wisdom and then turn the negatives into positives.
Breaking the chains that hold us captive is not easy, and many find it easier to remain a prisoner. Breaking free very often entails making an effort to change the way we think about ourselves and others, it means getting out of our comfort zones and exploring painful memories. Sometimes it might even require seeking professional help, and other times it might simply be an acceptance of what happened in the past and a resolution to draw something positive from the experience.
The process also involves looking at the effect of our past on our present and asking the hard questions: Has my past made me bitter? Am I projecting my experiences on my family, friends, co-workers. Am I abusive toward others due to my own issues with self-worth. Am I inflicting the same behaviour that scarred me onto those around me? What legacy am I leaving behind for those who come into contact with me?
For many of us that first step to breaking the chains is very daunting. We know a change is needed but, since most people are habitual creatures, we kick against change, even a good change. Instinctively we know it’s going to be painful, we know it’s going to be hard work. When those thoughts run through our minds we should remind ourselves of the following:
I’m worth it. I might not feel like I’m of value, but I am.
Much love XXX