As I look back on life and some of the painful things I endured, I have often wondered how it is possible that I could be as happy and thriving as I am now. Margaret Lynch, one of my mentors, helps explain this with three definitions of self.
1. Self-esteem which is the belief that one has value or self worth.
2. Self-confidence which is trust in one’s abilities, qualities, & judgement. Self confidence is broken into two parts: inner confidence and earned confidence.
3. Self-efficacy which is the belief that one has the ability to initiate and sustain a desired behavior.
My childhood experiences resulted in me having very low self worth. I compensated for my lack of self and inner confidence, with earned confidence. I spent many, many hours reading self help books, going to training, and earning degrees, as a desperate attempt to build my confidence. But the problem with lacking inner confidence is no matter how much you learn, earn, achieve, or try to be perfect, it does not increase. Sometimes those things can tone down the inner critic or self-doubt but it lies dormant and can be provoked when something big comes up. So while I had a good amount of earned confidence by doing things for others, earning degrees, and building my career, my inner confidence and self esteem remained low. Or said another way I didn’t feel worthwhile unless I was giving or doing for others.
I spent many years in that state. As I approached 50 I was struggling with the recognition my marriage was failing, I was reading and searching for answers. Everyone I talked to and everything I read, would say “you need to work on yourself first and then the relationship will work out”. Silly, silly me! I translated that to, “I need to do more and give more!” That isn’t what “work on yourself” means!! Let me say it again!! Working on yourself doesn’t mean doing more things or giving more of yourself. It does mean, digging deep and coming to learn and know your self worth to the depths of your very core.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
For me this required a lot of healing from past traumas and investing more in, not my temporal growth, but my spiritual growth. Building my relationship with God, reconnecting with the Holy Spirit, building faith, and learning to love myself was what I needed to restore and work on. So back to my original question. How am I able to thrive after going through so much pain? First, all that giving and doing served me well for many years. I was able to raise 3 remarkable children, develop an immense love for learning, and build a lucrative career. It gave me knowledge to draw from when I needed it most. It helped me find the tools and resources I needed when things felt like they were falling apart.
As I look back on those years, where things began to unravel, I recognize how my low self-esteem played a big part in the unraveling. While I had been working so hard to be happy, I was living in constant fear of doing the wrong thing or making someone unhappy with me. I conned myself into believing I had control of how others felt about me and I was constantly pandering for love and validation, while sacrificing my own physical and emotional needs. But there was still that constant inner voice nagging at me, saying” you are meant for more”, “you deserve better”. So the second thing that allows me to thrive is I learned to trust that inner voice. That voice pulled me toward energy Psychology and tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Energy psychology accelerated my healing, along with traditional therapy and spiritual development through prayer and scripture.
Third is once you have a stronger base of self esteem and inner confidence then you are more equipped to apply what you learn to changing habits and developing new behaviors. Now, I am embracing these new opportunities and starting to reinvest in my physical and emotional well-being. Each success reinforces & strengthens my self-efficacy.
That is not to say I don’t have plenty of triggers or more healing to do. In fact as I push myself to grow and pioneer new ways of relating and connecting with the world, I probably have more times of discomfort. Yet I also feel so much more inner peace and true joy. Now I have a deep enough foundation to take a step back,when something comes up, and say, “oh, there that is, a trigger, telling me I have something to work on, something to be curious about and learn from.” Now I recognize it as a gift, an opportunity to heal and grow. One of my mantras is “I will remember my pain and use it as a force for good in the world”. Seeing past hurts as gifts is so incredibly empowering. Once you heal, you don’t re-experience the pain, you simply remember it.
“A memory without the emotional charge is wisdom” – Dr. Joe Dispenza
There are many who play it safe and go through life in such a way that they never have to address those past traumas or build that inner confidence or true self-esteem. But I want you to know you were meant for more. Below is a link to one of my videos I created for an online summit. I am sharing it with you in hopes of helping you to find more ways to be TRIUMPHANT in achieving your life’s mission and start thinking about what you want to achieve in 2020. I am also offering up to three free EFT sessions through the month of December to help you reduce stress and remove roadblocks getting in the way of you achieving your dreams. It is as easy as scheduling a time using the link to schedule coaching services.
I am filled with gratitude at this time of thanksgiving and the first week of advent where the theme is hope. There was a time when I had lost all hope but I want you to know there is so much to feel hopeful about and it starts with you and your potential. I urge you to be courageous and reach for more, more joy, more peace, more happiness. Finding ways to live up to your full potential can be fun & so rewarding. Be courageous & invest in yourself so you can THRIVE and live your life wholly!! Watch Video