Disclaimer: To all who want to comment, "your self worth should come within," please refrain. It's not an overnight process & internalized criticisms skew our thoughts. Seeing the reality that you are loved is a step towards increasing your self worth.
One day, I was sitting there for the 1,000th time asking myself why I could only see my flaws. Why was I constantly beating myself up? Why could I find no good within?
Why can't I accept genuine compliments? Why can't see myself the way they do? Why does it never reach past my armor into my heart and soul?
After years of abuse, I had found people who saw value in me, my work, my feelings, and my accomplishments.
But every attempt to positively affirm my achievements bounced off the protective wall barricading my self-image. At the root of this self-torment stood one question:
Why can't I believe it?
It was in this moment of continual frustration that I had an epiphany:
What if I saw myself through the eyes of people who love me and treated myself accordingly?
While simple on the surface, it was a radically life changing thought.
Too frequently, I brush off support and love from people who care about me in favor of the one criticism. Too frequently I invalidate these words because they come from people who love me.
Essentially, in my own twisted up brain, I'm told that those compliments and perspectives are invalid-clouded by rose colored glasses of swayed emotion.
To add, when you've been abused (especially where every action results in violent criticism), it can be extremely difficult for your heart and brain to accept anything positive as true.
I wanted so desperately to believe the positive things people were saying about me, but deep down in my heart, I felt like it was a lie. I was a fraud. Someone unworthy.
I felt that if they saw the real me they would understand just how wrong they were.
But what if they weren't?
What if I'm the one who has been in the wrong?
What if accepting every negative criticism as truth and dismissing every positive compliment as unfounded was a lie?
How life-changing would that be? How would that impact my decisions? How would that influence my self-worth? How would that boost my self-confidence-giving me the courage to pursue everything I've ever wanted?
What if I learned how to choose to believe there is good in me?
Take a tangent with me
If you have ever seen the television show Ted Lasso, then you are familiar with a very distinctive scene between the titular character and his close friend, Coach Beard.
If you haven't seen it, I'm warning you now they are potential spoilers ahead.
In this scene, the pair are watching a video where a former friend and colleague (Nate) tries to hurt the team. However, as the video continues, the man's actions become more pitiful and desperate.
Though he commits this "crime" against them, Lasso isn't angry. He instead responds with a profound line:
I hope that either all of us, or none of us, are judged by the actions of our weakest moments, but rather by the strength we show when and if we are given a second chance.
This simple but astute proclamation gives Coach Beard-as well as the viewer- pause in their judgement and hatred towards Nate.
It reminds us that we are all imperfect. We're all weak. We all make mistakes.
Yet more than that, as the show continues (and the "villain's" redemption occurs), it is the perspective of the people he valued most that influences (and always has) his self-worth.
Why go down this tangent?
Because it is the perfect example how the ones who value us, who love us, who forgive and encourage us, are the ones who see us for who we really are, even when we can't see it ourselves.
Just as Lasso was able to see Nate's true motive and hurt, those around us can too.
And instead of the disgust, hurt, and the weakness we see when we look within, our loved ones see someone redemptive.
This was along the lines of the epiphany I had for myself. For far too long, I was looking at myself at how my abusers saw me: failing, unworthy, and deeply flawed.
But these weren't the people who knew me.
The people who know me see me in an entirely different light.
That's right, not the people blinded by love, but the people who know me. Who see me at my highest and my lowest. Who hear my screams and tears as well as my peals of laughter. Who witness every mistake but also every victory from the front row.
The people who see all of me and decide I'm worth loving anyway.
The people who love me are the people who know my character and heart. They might witness the bad, but they certainly don't think it outweighs the good.
And for too long, their compliments and love bounced off the thick armor I've developed around my heart. Their love couldn't penetrate its steely protection-built from years of abuse.
But what if I'm not limited to that? What if I can choose to be different? What if I thought and lived differently? Wanted something new for myself? Was it possible?
We so often forget that we have power and control and choice in our lives.
At some point or another, someone (often an abuser) tells us who and what we are.
And we internalize it. We embody it. And we think if anyone tells us differently, it's just a fantasy.
So we go through life with the idea that we are inherently evil and unworthy. Anyone who says otherwise just doesn't see how we've "fooled" them.
But again I ask: what if that’s not true?
What if, just like we hope, the positive affirmations, the compliments, the wonder, the love-what if all of it is true? Possible?
What if it's just waiting for us to see that we're worth it?
What if we just have to be willing to be brave? To let one compliment at a time settle in and nourish our starved souls.
What if we challenged the immediate thoughts that condemns us? Asked who is saying this to us?
Imagine how differently -how much more freely lived-our lives could be if we just saw ourselves through the eyes of those who know us best-who love us.
Today, my friend, I challenge you. I challenge you to challenge the automatic self-hatred that bubbles up any time you accomplish anything. Defy the criticism. Reject the lingering wounds of insults.
Let the words of those who know you and love you be a balm to your wounded spirit.
And hopefully, in time, you will begin to believe the truth of it.
If you are brave enough to try.
If you loved what you read, would you be able to buy me a cup of coffee? It's okay if you can't right now. I still appreciate your support in reading.
Thanks for being a part of the journey 💗
About the Creator
I’m a freelance writer & artist. I create pieces about the things that move me with the hopes that they move my readers too. My work has been featured in multiple publications. Check out my website for more at https://msha.ke/ashleytripp