As an African woman out of the West, who is recovering from PTSD, Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome, and all this disorder entails in the 21st Century, it had become first nature to fall into the detrimental habits of perfection-seeking, people-pleasing, and operating from ego-driven motivations. Unbeknown to me, and operating out of sheer habit learned in what I call abandonment survival mode, much of how I conditioned myself to operate and function in life did not serve my intentions to cultivate greater self-worth.
In countless circumstances in relationships, I beat myself up about what I could have done differently when the outcomes did not turn out the way I thought they should have, especially when I thought I was on my "best" behavior. Or when I took special precautions to make sure acted in a way I thought the other person would have wanted me to. It did not occur to me that I only contributed secondary to others' responses and that their reactions were theirs alone. Or that I had no control whatsoever in how they chose to respond, even if I was polite and well mannered. In this process, I also disregarded my own feelings, constantly placing the other party's beliefs above my own. Time and again this made me spiritually vulnerable to others who simply wanted to control my vibration.
As a survivor of extreme abandonment, I learned at an early age how to try to manipulate others into "not leaving" me, or so I thought. Though I know now, this is impossible. I also took it particularly hard when someone decided I did not serve a purpose in their lives any longer as a result of a misunderstanding or disagreement. I took every unwanted or unexpected response personally and counted it as a personal rejection. Over time, these "rejections" piled up in my heart space, making it more difficult to trust and open up to loving and accepting myself and to loving others who truly held honorable space for me. It also caused me to fear rejection to the point that I would remain in stagnant relationships for the sake of not feeling rejection.
This unhealthy self-relating spilled over into my 1-1 relationship with myself. I always seemed to look at what I didn't do "right", what I fell short on, what mistakes I made -- what was imperfect. Now, don't get me wrong, taking responsibility through self-reflection is key in any growth. I had become well versed in taking responsibility. However, I lacked showing myself compassion and valuing my own point of view, always placing others' values above mine. They had to be the correct, because I was so screwed up, right? I was the one who others abandoned. I was the one no one wanted. Subconsciously I continuously programmed myself into the victim role by not observing that I too had a unique position that was just as valuable.
As years passed, these perceived "rejections" became more and more devastating to my self-esteem and self-worth. And as a result of this collected detrimental data, It became more difficult to be motivated in my daily works, because deep down I questioned what I had to offer the world and if it was valuable and sound. This was a result of decades of not valuing my voice and insight.
Now, as I approach 40, I'm clear, I will do the best I can and move forward regardless of how others choose to respond, even if their response is to Xnay me out of their lives. I'm clear. My outlook is valuable, even if only to me. When I began valuing my own vantage point and releasing myself from expectations to please others, it was then I began to truly cultivate inner power. I began to feel a greater sense of worth because I valued myself first, no matter how others responded. I started to live by the following principles. If you can relate, maybe they will assist you in your own self-worth journey:
We all have a truth to express in life. Sometimes our truth may not be in alignment with another's. And this is OK. When I stopped trying to please everyone, I began to see what I was doing right. I began to be inspired by the positive accomplishments I've made in my life thus far. I began to appreciate the life I created. I began to see so-called mistakes as opportunities for growth. I began to value what I have to offer to another's life, not just what they have to offer to mine. And when I began to give myself the credit I truly deserved, my entire life changed. I stopped second-guessing my intuition, and like Emerald Legassi, BAM, the inspiration to be creative returned. Ultimately, my heart-space was lighter as well.
I certainly haven't "arrived" as they say. But I'm well on my way to the next graduation. Today, I give thanks for all I've gotten "right". I no longer singularly focus on what I can improve upon. I also acknowledge my small and great accomplishments as well as the lessons I've mastered and am still learning. I make sure to make a practice of keeping the balance within. Even if it's simply giving myself credit for keeping a tidy home or creating a nourishing dinner.
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