It was 11 PM April 22, 2012, and I was up due to insomnia and chronic sadness. My mind was flooded by all the reasons I hated myself and what was wrong with me. How do I so clearly remember this? Because I wrote it out. I wrote out all the ways I was a burden and despised myself. It has always been so easy to identify how I am flawed and speak hate over myself in isolation. It is much harder to speak love and kindness to myself, but it is a habit I practice regularly. Speaking love over myself has built me up in ways that external affirmations never could. If this reminds you of yourself, then I want to share with you how I began to speak love over myself and heal from low self-esteem.
If You Don’t Love You, Others Won’t Know How to
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel makes the bold claim that we only allow ourselves to be treated as poorly as we treat ourselves. When we see ourselves as unloveable we become like that item we’ve had for sale on offer up for over a month. We continuously lower our value (and standards), and feel grateful once we have a buyer.Those friends that never consider your feelings are tolerated. You idolize and chase the men that sexualize you and ignore you. For years you date the boyfriend that curses you out when they are mad. You don’t have to feel grateful for subpar platonic, familial or romantic love.
Yes, those people are all wrong, but we are wrong for allowing this to be our reality. How we love ourselves sets the standard for how others will love us. If in private you tell yourself that you are fat, that you are a burden, and that you are annoying what stops you from accepting this type of “love” from others.
3 Things That Helped Me Heal From Low Self-Esteem
- God: The greatest example of how we should be loved is God. When I began to spend time prayer journaling God would reveal the perfection he saw in me. My mind would constantly flood with thoughts of how I just hated myself, how I was a failure, how no one liked me… the list goes on. Every time God would sweep in and shout out my perfection through His words in the Bible. These silent moments alone with God began to build a solid foundation of self-love within me.
- Getting to know myself: As I mentioned in last week blog, when I began to date myself I began to learn about myself. Those moments alone forced me to clarify my values, my likes and my dislikes. I have also mentioned in the past how counseling has helped me grow in understand the why behind my thoughts and actions. Counseling also helped me gain the skills to mitigate those unhealthy thoughts and actions.
- Walking away: As I learned what I truly valued and how I should be loved I gained confidence in walking away from unhealthy and toxic relationships. I also learned to set boundaries in existing relationships. In those moments standing up for my self-worth and drawing a line of what was and was not acceptable felt paralyzing. To this day I am not perfect at this, but it is truly liberating to proclaim that I am worth more. Losing a friend or a romantic interest in the process is difficult, but reclaiming your time and energy for yourself is worth it.
You Can & Will Heal From Low Self-Esteem
On this self-love journey, you may feel compelled to blame each toxic word from your childhood or past for your fractured self-love. I will caution you to avoid this and focus on building a solid foundation of self-love in this present moment. Healing is 100% possible and 200% worth it.
As always everyone’s journey is unique, and you may not be ready to begin you self-love journey. However, if you are believing the LIE that your life is invaluable please seek help. I want to encourage you to seek professional counseling because this may help you understand why you feel this way. I truly believe there is hope for every unique situation, even yours. If you suffer from severe mental illness or thoughts of suicide I want to encourage you to seek help today. Find a local therapist or contact the National Suicide Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 or texting “START” to 741-741. Please feel free to share your experience with low self-esteem or share what helped you heal from low self-esteem in the comments. You sharing may be the hope someone else needs.