I was sixteen years old, when I consciously accepted a negative definition of myself. I vividly remember standing in front of my bedroom mirror and tearing myself apart from head to toe. I found fault with everything about my physical appearance. My self-assessment was brutal. And even now, I grieve for the sixteen-year-old girl in the mirror who didn’t understand enough about God, her worth and the power of words to realize the damage she was inflicting on herself.
That day, a chain reaction of emotions was unleashed as I dared to say out loud that I hated myself. It would take me years to stop, dismantle and reprogram my thoughts. I lived frustrated by my life experiences. I was convinced that nothing good could happen for, or to, me. If it did, I was always wary that it would soon be taken away. In truth, my experiences manifested my thoughts and belief that I wasn’t worthy.
Thoughts are not idle. They have power and influence. Ever been in a bad mood? It started with a thought. Emotions eventually aligned with negative thoughts and our actions soon let everyone else know something was wrong. Bad moods are actually tangible thoughts. Others can “feel” our attitudes.
When I began to do the work of personal development, I unearthed a mountain of negative thoughts and beliefs that limited me whenever I wanted to change my life. In my thinking, I was never qualified enough for the next job, the guy I liked couldn’t find me attractive… and on it went. It didn’t stop until I learned how to handle my thinking.
Over the next few weeks we will explore the dynamics of self worth. What you discover will explain key things about the current state of your life and the possibilities for your future. Your self-views are driving your life views. They are critical to the everyday decisions you make, the relationships you form, or fracture, as well as the opportunities you maximize or mishandle.
The first step in your transformation is recognizing where you are. You need to know your self worth. The purpose of this exercise is to bring self-awareness.
1. I am_______: I would like to caution you to not think too much as you do this exercise. Your instinctive response will be the best clue to your real thoughts. On a sheet of paper, write I am ________. Fill in the blank with every thought that comes to your mind—negative and positive. Keep going for as long as you can.
When you are finished, I encourage you to just accept what you’ve written. Accepting doesn’t mean that you don’t intend to do the work to change. It means that you acknowledge where you are. It can be challenging to face how we feel, but acknowledged truth opens the door to change. Remember that this is simply your starting point—not your end.
Accepting who we currently are is critical to our transformation. Self-rejection and judgment undermine our resolve to change. We can’t heal what we don’t nurture, attend to and love. It is true of our influence on others and ourselves. Criticism only breeds defensiveness. Pity only breeds brokenness. But when we accept ourselves, we can experience wholeness and authenticity that empower us to change.
Do the work! Take 30 minutes to complete the above exercise. Then, practice this affirmation: “This is who I am. I am still worthy of love. I am a masterpiece in process.”
Recently named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who shares transformational truths that change lives. Follow her on Twitter for updates regarding her newly released seminar THRIVE! 7 Strategies for Extraordinary Living and more.