As I work with victims, it has been fascinating how many times not valuing oneself comes up as a problem that affects all areas of their lives. When I was in a difficult marriage and being abused, I remember thinking that I was less than human. I didn’t believe that I had value or even had the right to live. Having that kind of thought process reinforced my decisions to get pregnant. I had this belief that if I was pregnant then I was worth something because the baby I carried had value and was precious. This resulted in my believing that while I was pregnant I had reason to live. By the time I was pregnant with my sixth child in seven years I realized that kind of thinking had to change or I might have a mental breakdown.
Reflecting on that type of thinking, I am amazed and saddened that I ever believed such a devastating concept. When victims start believing that they are of value, this oftentimes improves the relationships around them, especially with their children.
An excellent exercise that I have found to work well is:
- Get a clean sheet of paper.
- Draw a line down the middle.
- Write the positive belief on the top right hand side like, “I am of worth.”
- On the left side column write down every negative belief that comes up. For example the first thought might be, “No you’re not. You’re a liar.”
- Once you write down all the negative beliefs go back and write the positive affirmation until you have written it twenty times.
- After you finish the twenty, you can look at each negative belief you have written down and come up with a specific positive belief to counter each negative statement. If it helps to come up with a positive, think that you are countering negative beliefs voiced by your child or someone you dearly love and trying to help. Oddly you may find it easier to think lovingly and positively about someone other than yourself.
- Write each of those positive ones twenty times.
- Work on this exercise for 10 minutes daily.
- Continue this exercise for thirty days.
Doing this for thirty days will allow enough time for the new belief system to sink into your subconscious. Oftentimes we get into negative belief patterns and this affects every situation we are in more than we know. When we learn to think about the positive and reprogram our thinking into one that will serve us, our self-esteem rises.