Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c) 2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
For most of life I allowed others to decide my worth. Attempts at self-esteem and confidence easily crumbled at another’s disapproval. A war of hateful and critical words took over my thoughts regularly. My hope for happiness and peace rested in the occasional genuine affirmation.
That sounds grim, does it not? Pathetic. Yet so many people live in that water world, doggy-paddling their way through wave after wave of self-loathing. Many of those same people desperately cling to the approval of others as a lifeline.
Needing to please others is a trap. So are isolation and negative self-talk. Truth is, by noting each day a positive attribute of one’s own, we build roadways to total freedom.
It took therapy for a few years to conclude my value is inherent. So is yours. Go on a treasure hunt and discover your worth.
(1) What do you enjoy doing? If you think to yourself, “I’m boring,” are you with friends who appreciate what you like? If not, maybe you will benefit from finding others with your interests.
(2) What are your characteristics? Did you know that each perceived “flaw” has a positive opposite that you can nurture?
- If you repeat yourself so much that others express annoyance, find a place where talking is valued. Perhaps in long-term health facilities like nursing homes or sitting with hospitalized children, multiple short visits may be appreciated.
- Are you stubborn? Dig in to a worthwhile cause and use your energies for good.
- Do you withdraw from crowds? See that as a strength and use your preference for small groups and one-on-one to become a mentor or to work in any so-necessary behind-the-scenes jobs.
(3) Pour into your belief system the truth about your value. Does someone disparage you, play games with your mind, treat you like mud? Write down and keep affirmations with you, talk to supports, read positive books, ask God to show you, refuse to fall for the lies. If you cannot leave such a person, dismiss them as a ranting ignorant. Combat such foolishness with a list of your strengths.
(4) Live what you love. My sense of value took a strong turn toward healthy when I began again to use my gifts and talents. Art, teaching, research, writing… these are a few my joys.
This treasure hunt will take various turns and lead you a long way. The X on the spot is not a one-sure-thing that makes you valuable. No, you ARE valuable. This search is to open your heart to that truth.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.