How Important Is Self Worth in Healing?

Improving self worth is of utmost importance! Believing that you don’t deserve to heal is one of the biggest blocks to healing. And just going from undeserving to deserving is healing itself.

I feel honored everyday that I get to witness my clients’ shift in their self worth, from unworthy to worthy; first in small ways and then in big ways. I will show you how…

self worth surviving ups and downs
click to watch surviving ups and downs

Coming from unworthy

For some, the unworthiness runs deep and has been running a long time. It comes in a voice from the past. It is often the voice of someone who should have been trustworthy- a parent, an uncle, a grandparent. But instead this person told them that they were stupid and not good enough in speech and in action every chance they got. The voice stays with people, long past the end of the abusers’ life, and it is dreadfully hard to get rid of. It defines for them who they are and what their position in the world is: loser, disgusting, subhuman, undeserving.

When this kind of verbal degrading is combined with physical and or sexual abuse, it can be worse. Mostly because people blame themselves for the abuse they received.

It is a strange thing we do, blaming ourselves when people hurt us, but we all do it.

What’s worse, not only do we blame ourselves for the abuse, but think ourselves unworthy of forgiveness.

I was talking to a young woman yesterday who survived abuse in some ways similar to another client who had been tortured in a prison camp. It was unimaginable what she endured. She was telling me that she doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. I asked how does someone “be deserving”?  This stumped her. She spoke about remorse and she told a story of a terrorist killing many people and then feeling remorse. She said he was worthy of forgiveness. I said, you would forgive that but not yourself?

I had invited her to a distant view of herself, where she could see a different perspective. She wasn’t herself anymore but an observer to herself. From this position her non forgiveness was ridiculous. She quoted her mother to me:

“If God can forgive me, I must be able to forgive myself, because, what? Do I think I am better than God?”

We need to forgive ourselves to feel worth

We must think that we are worthy of healing, or forgiving ourselves (since this is the key to healing) or we cannot take another step. But how to we do this? The idea that we are unworthy has a truth status in our mind. We hold it like it is a fact. We also hold onto tons of evidence to “prove” this fact. “I failed at school.” Or “I messed up this relationship.” “The unworthiness must be right,” we think. Unfortunately, the skills and knowledge these people use to survive and still now be kind to others are invisible. Only the failures get airtime.

To finding self worth

But, unworthiness is not a fact, it is just an idea, a belief. Facts are hard to change, ideas and beliefs are easier. We need to begin to break down the truth status. Trying to do affirmations of the opposite is too far a stretch. Telling ourselves that we are awesome might not be initiatively believable. I know you are awesome but it is too far a gap to jump, from believing as truth that you are a loser in the biggest sense of the word — to you are awesome and worthy.

It may take smaller steps. Like infiltrating in the brain: “It might be possible that I contribute in some way to someone else’s life.” Once this is believed, you can take another step, gathering evidence. “I contributed to someone once, I helped Josie with her work.” It is also helpful to see oneself through others eyes. People who care about you can see more in you than you see in yourself. Your eyes are clouded right now. Spend time with these people so your worth (to them) is constantly reflected back. Being isolated is the worst thing someone can do when they are feeling this bad.

Taking it step by step, we break down the iron clad wall of unworthiness so we can let the healing in.

18 thoughts on “How Important Is Self Worth in Healing?”

  1. forgiving myself is very hard especially when others are involved. If my own decisions, or choices have caused suffering to my kids, how can i forgive myself? If i know that my son will suffer all his life from low self esteem because his dad keeps calling him stupid and useless and….

    1. The habit of blame blocks forgiveness. Needing to make ourselves or someone else “wrong” keeps us from talking responsibility and action. These are the antidotes for blame. Blame and the resulting guilt keep us from growing. Realizing that we are on a healing journey enables forgiveness and growth. Entertaining low self-esteem ensures the continuation of the pattern.

    2. You must forgive yourself so your son knows how to. This is a crucial lesson for him. You also can do a lot towards him feeling better about himself. It is not your fault his dad does that, but you can show him the real way to see himself, like you see him. You can help him know in his heart which is true about himself. You can help him not be guilty for how he is treated. And I am sure you are already doing it. Feeling guilty doesn’t help him. Promote self love, model it. He doesn’t have to take on this voice, he can take on yours instead.

      1. Thank you Jodi. You are right. I am trying as much as possible to help my son. It is difficult, but I keep trying. At 12, my son already feels guilty not to be able to protect me 🙁

        1. Nicole,
          instead of feeling guilty celebrate the love this means you have for each other. You both want to protect each other. This is a beautiful place to be and connect. You are both so blessed to have each other.

  2. This is such a perfect post for printing for remembering and needed. Regardless of what issue or hangup or hurt we carry around we are so slow in forgiving ourselves, yours truly included. It is actually easier to love yourself but… it takes some learning. Thanks, Jodi, for reminding me it’s one step at a time. I like to think I am a work in progress, some days I am soaring, and other days… working .,..

  3. Jodi, I’m glad your blog is up and running again! I read this post and thought, absolutely! Self worth. Is there anything more important? I don’t think so. Yet, like you mention, abuse is a sure killer of the ability to love and respect ourselves. Just this week something happened and so this post really resonated with me. My son was able to visit a close friend who’s been hospitalized for suffering from an eating disorder. When he came home, he told me that she had mentioned that her lack of self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth had made her vulnerable to bulimia. It’s incredible how these things happen, but they do. Thank you for spreading the message of how important self-worth is, lady. 🙂

  4. I think it’s be great if some of these points were required reading for any aspiring physician or psychologist! Self-worth is crucial, and it’s refreshing to hear someone say it. There was one idea here that I’ve often used myself: When I’m “beating myself up”, mentally – emotionally – and I feel justified in doing so, I’ll ask myself “What would I say to someone else who was doing this and gave the same rationales?” And of course, like you said, the “justification” then seems absurd.

  5. Jodi, I barely figured out how to post a comment on here! I read this and feel that this is what I am dealing with right now with my husband, he acts like he hates me and it paralyses me from doing anything I want to do that normally makes me happy and I cant explain why. He has always been this way and does this every so often, but NOW it means more because I am really writing the way I want for the first time ever. He cant be talked to about it at all. he either denies it says he wont change or that I deserve to be treated like scum. My entire life I have had more people like this than not and I want out of this cycle, your post really makes me think.

    1. I know, my comment thingy stinks. I am fixing it soon! Sometimes when we feel not worth it, we end up surrounding ourselves with others who feel the same (about us, but it is really about themselves). I have read some of your writing about his family and this seems obvious. When he feels bad, he takes it out on you. Write it, keep writing it out. Just type one sentence, rant, and it will flow. get it out. Writing is your Home. It is your trueness. Just look how you have brought people together. You have done something big!
      Love you, you gorgeous worthy woman!

  6. Jodi, this post touched me so much. Though I have been fortunate enough to have loving, supportive parents and a healthy, loving relationship with my husband, I wear scars from something else.

    Though ballet was in many ways a beautiful gift and a joy, it was also my abusive, disapproving parent. It raised me for twenty years, influenced me more than my parents ever could have, yet taught me that I could never be good enough, never look right, never please it the way others did. I subconsciously blamed myself, took the pain and shame with me even after I left it.

    I have a (rather exciting) plan in place for true healing, which I will reveal soon on my blog. At that point I would like to share your post via link, to say how it inspired me. Hope to get to it sometime this week! Thank you …
    Lisa W. Rosenberg recently posted..Some ’70s Style Racial Candor from the Drunk on the BusMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Thank you, Lisa. I am truly honored. Following your blog, I have seen the underbelly of the ballet world. I can’t wait to hear about your healing and look forward to your book debut knowing it covers these issues also!

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