Post by Susan Peabody on Jan 5, 2008 13:04:11 GMT -8
Building your self esteem is the most important thing you will do in recovery. You must be able to love yourself and stand on your own two feet before you are ready for a healthy relationship. We would like to hear about your struggles with self-esteem and what has worked to help you.
Post by Firststephie on Jan 6, 2008 5:02:32 GMT -8
My experiences with improving my self esteem have first of all been about acknowledging my feelings. Since my childhood was traumatic and my mother was not really a mother for the most part, I had a lot of angry feelings. When I was young I covered those feeling up with sarcasm or humor. Only recently have I acknowledged that I am angry for what I missed out on in my childhood.....a loving, nurturing mother. So acknowledging all my feelings including anger, sadness, envy etc. were important. Also, standing up for what I believe in like my values and also the treatment I will accept from others is very important. I cannot have good self esteem if I let others treat me poorly. I must stand up for myself in all situations. Also, being obsesed with others can really lower my self esteem. I must, must must stay away from people who remind me of my parents and trigger those feelings that get me in a state of mind that consumes me. My Higher Power helps me with my self esteem. By allowing me to work in a creative field and expressing my feelings through art, I know that I am a worthy person. (to be continued)
Post by flowerchild on Jan 9, 2008 21:36:24 GMT -8
Self Esteem, ahh yes... Well, I can tell you that looking back I had zero. I revolved my life around others and took on their likings and lifestyles. I am only now after several failed relationships and living in darkness for many years, am beginning to find mine.
The big breakthrough for me was discovering that I am valuable to God as his precious daughter through Christ. He loves me and I placed him in my new parent role. When I think about how much he loves me and is always there for me to call on and will not leave me or abandon me, I am content. And, this was so hard for me to grasp because God is a spirit and not flesh and blood. But the feeling that comes from the emotional or physical abandonment of a flesh and blood man or mother or father vs. How every time I call on God he is there and he is faithful and draws me close if I let him, is real.
I also try to take care of myself in a day to day, moment to moment basis, being with obsessive thoughts that are not good for me, that I now Stop immediately and tell myself that this is me trying to force my will upon others. I pay attention to my miniscule physical needs, like going to the bathroom instead of holding it for another hour while I finish up something.... I stop and take care of myself and treat myself with respect. I grew up neglecting these very small tasks for a force that was stronger than I was, by pleasing everyone around me or not making any noise or fuss.... Always trying to be happy for others sake. Now, I can also say no, when I am tired or just don't want to do something or go somewhere.
I had to grieve the old me by looking deeply at my shortcomings and pain that I have caused others and others have caused me, by doing the 4th step, Inventory. Helped a great deal. I now own my past and it's ok. Whereas before I felt, that I was not worthy because I had this big dark secret and even though no one knew, I did and I knew I didn't belong with others that were better than I was.... That was a lie I told myself and let others tell me. But when you own the truth of your past you are free, I have worked and continue to work on things and have been forgiven and only with this am able to truly forgive others.
I think self esteem is also humbling your spirit, being constantly thankful for all things and having a spirit of love that pours outward not just inward. So then you are able to value others as their own individual. Not with an entitled, demanding, anxious spirit that leads to hate and envy. So now, when I am faced with disappointment, I can gracefully respect their no or their reasons for anything, I can't change them, when I was trying to before, I was only really keeping things the same or making them worse...
And by no means am I going to be able to do any of this with an unhealthy mind, that's why it's important for me to stay connected, in my groups or accountability partners, and with God.
Self Esteem....I thought I had a lot. Years ago I was living with my Al Anon qualifier, former husband, on welfare, overweight, and no hope. Through divine networking, I was lead to a power cassette album on raising self esteem. I have listened to it many times over the years, many times.
I thought that going to college, getting a bachelor's degree in psychology, getting a teaching credential, and almost at the point of reaching my master's degree would lift it. And, I suppose in some ways it has.
But with relationships, I have a long way to go in this area. I belong to three other programs, and know the steps work.
I've written this before, but I have never been in a "healthy" love relationship. From my teens, as far as I can remember have been involved with the wrong men. My very first boyfriend didn't want to kiss.......and was really gay and didn't know it. I pined after him for a long time, both of us not knowing.
I have a pattern of changing who I am for a guy. The most recent, I think I did better. I know it. Because of the recovery I have in other programs. But, I believe I still have issues with this. I still long for phone calls, and fantasize about the next time we see each other. At least I'm conscious of my fantasies and try to change my thought pattern.
I read that building the self esteem makes it easier to wait for the next love. It makes loving the self a practice.
I received an email from my Single Mom Bible teacher saying that there would be plenty of time for romance when my kids are grown and gone. My youngest is 11. I didn't care for that. I wonder if self esteem has something to do with that.
Post by Rainbows Always on Jan 14, 2008 6:35:46 GMT -8
Asolutely i think it does. My self esteem has slowly been increasing (maybe in my sleep lol as I never saw it happen). But I no longer define myself by the way 'the man" loves me, so therefore I define myself. It definetly makes it easier to be me. No man involved. Tonight Im happy to be alone and embrace this time I have (lots of evenings alone as a single mum) so I read and post here and do my service, (lots of it) I go to OA, all whilst I am a single mum. It will all pay off. Im doing the hard yards now, learning, reading, step work full on so that one day (in God's timing) I will be ready and healthy for when i do meet a man.(if it God's will for me)
Having a HIGHER SELF ESTEEM definetly has made it easier for me to be just with me and not "need" a man. Today I relinquish that control. I know Im still a love addict and I have considerable recovery in such a short period of time but I know that at the moment Id probably only attract another "sick" person...so Im waiting.........(and working on me)
It's a miracle. Ive handed over my life and my will to my Higher power. He's in charge now. And I truly believ that when HE thinks Im ready (not me-what do I know) that God will introduce me to the man Im supposed to be with.
Self esteem seemed like a good thread to hop onto.
Just wanted to post an update. Still at the same job, still working with the same POA. In may ways things are better, in many ways not. It's really just time to throw in the chips, and get another job. I am not strong enough, nor do I have the energy to continue to withstand the unpredictable events which continue to throw me into withdrawal. It is keeping me locked in. I need to do NC. Need to get away from this person forever. Will keep you guys posted.
Just bought the Brenda Schaeffer book, and am already struck by some of the suggestions.
For instance she poses that "many of us grow up in a closed family - that is, a family in which the children are expected to believe and behave as their parents did".
A closed family. Imagine that. Are there any other kinds of families? Wonder what that would look like. Honestly couldn't imagine being raised to think for myself, and explore and defend my own beliefs...
Comparisons to my peers has really done a lot of damage to my self esteem. I have always been different even within my family. As I grew up into a young adult I noticed that my peers were doing things I wasn't. I felt very bad about myself. It got really bad when I noticed how many of my high school graduating class were married and or with children. In my dating life the men have always told me I am marriage material & would make a great mother, but there I was, one of the few with "morals", yet it seem the men preferred the "looser" women. I went through a period of trying to change myself into what i thought would be more acceptable, less different. But that only made things worse.
I spent a lot of time focusing on what I didn't have ( and how to get it). Today I had the awakening to stop comparing myself ---we are all unique . The things I tried to change about myself are the things that make me so awesome. I may not be married or have children, but now I know why, I had this condition called Love Addiction that has taken complete control of my life, in all areas. All I could focus on was being in love & having love. Oddly enough, it wasn’t about love at all, but more the lack of love I had for myself.
As of today, January 5, 2011 I vow to stop comparing myself to others of any age. I am where I am supposed to be in life. All things are planned and now I am gearing up for the next leg of my journey. I accept who I am . I’m a wonderful creation. There’s no one quite like me and that’s a great thing.
On a final note I still have time to do all the those, but now I have the chance to get it right =).