When I was going through my lowest point after having my second son, my self-worth was in shambles. The things I would say to myself I wouldn't say to my worst enemy (not that I have any enemies, but if I did, I wouldn't speak to him/her the way I spoke to myself).
Although I have come a long way in changing that perception of myself and most of the time I do accept and love who I am and my journey through life so far, sometimes that habitual self-doubt sneaks back into my consciousness and causes me to feel like I'm not good enough or feel like what I've done is not good enough.
With the launch of my book yesterday, this was one of those times. When this happens and I recognise it, because it is so ingrained, I often journal it. First I journal how I feel (but don't spend too much time here) and then I spend some time journalling how I can look at things differently.
I thought that I would share parts of this journal with you in the hope of helping you to get an accurate sense of your self-worth too, especially when it comes to other people criticising or judging you.
First of all - the problem, the story I tell myself that is inaccurate and what actually makes me feel down (because it's not the criticism of others that makes you feel down, it's the conclusions you draw about yourself because of the criticism).
Problem - Criticism from others
How does this make me feel - Rejected, not good enough
What am I thinking to feel this way - People are going to think I'm not good enough and don't like what I'm saying. People are going to think my work is stupid and not helpful when I've said it's going to help them. I'm going to be negatively judged. I won't be liked. I should've been able to write a better book and I should've written it differently. I'm an idiot (sieve brain is what sprang to mind - a term my father would use) and I'm not good enough to be anything special.
What must I believe in order to think this way - I need people to approve of me and to like me in order to be good enough or to make my opinions valuable.
Sadly this is the habitual story that occassionally goes on in my head that was formed from early childhood, and even though, these days, I'm quite detached from these thoughts, logically knowing that these statements aren't true, I still need to keep retraining my brain (something I often talk about in my book) to habitually think differently, because these thoughts don't serve me at all.
So this is about as much time that I spend on 'the story', because I don't need to rehash it over and over again. My brain has been doing that for years. Now it's time to upgrade this thinking in alignment with reality and true self-worth. So here's what I have written.
"People judge people all of the time. Every day we rate things based on our current beliefs. I rate if the day is nice or dreary (depending on if it's sunny or not). I rate if I like someone or not, based on how I perceive them. Someone will always be judging me. Whether they judge me as being great, being an idiot, or being neither good or bad, they will rate me based on their beliefs, their past experiences, and what resonates or doesn't resonate with them.
Their opinions do not reflect my self worth. They are simply indicators of their beliefs, not actual truths. Sometimes I won't be liked and sometimes I will. Whenever I receive criticism (and it is inevitable) this is another opportunity for me to remind myself that their opinions don't define who I am. In everything that I do, I am learning about life. Whatever I was doing that caused the criticism, I was learning something valuable from the experience. My life learning is that I'm not always going to get approval from others by being who I am and that I am okay just the way I am, regardless of their opinion.
I am always just doing the best that I can and I am always helping people to the best of my ability. Whatever I do or say, I am always influencing and adding to someone else's life, as they are to mine. What I say or do may be challenging to someone else because they aren't ready to hear what I've got to say. Their interaction with me will contribute to their journey - that's it. Even though my words might be helpful, they are only contributors to change. I don't change anyone. They change themselves because they have reached a point when they are ready for change to occur. If the information I give is unable to help someone, then I have still contributed to their development just by being alive. Learning about life from others and contributing to others' lives is what defines self-worth.
I will never know the true effect I have on others' lives and there is every possibility that someone will benefit from what I do, even though they are outwardly critical. Sometimes people's criticisms are indicators of their fears and own lack of self-worth. Other people's comments do not mean I am worth less in anyway, they simply reflect that person's beliefs, which quite possibly could be saying a lot about how they feel about themselves. I don't have to know whether someone thinks I'm good or not to be valuable.
Some of the greatest minds in history were confronted with criticism and rejection. I believe in myself. Talk to that one mother you do help. Keep searching for the mums who want to hear what I've got to say and can benefit from this information. Believe that this information will help that person change their perspective on how they view the challenges in their life, how they feel about themselves and what effect this will have on their children.
Finally, remember the bigger picture - an education on reality and true self-worth changes mums. A changed mum changes the life of her child. That child who grows up to feel worthy, influences change in society, ends crime and unites communities. United communities = a peaceful world!
It's not about me and how I'm being judged!
Here is a little clip I'd like to share about criticism, rejection and succeeding anyway regardless of the opinions of others.
Believe in yourself anyway - even if others don't!