There was a period in my life, not that long ago really, where I woke up everyday feeling depressed, sad and like things were never going to get better.
I remember desperately looking for answers. Spending hours at Barnes and Noble, in the self-help section, looking for that one book that would give me all the answers. A book that would tell me exactly what I needed to do to improve my sh*tty life.
During that time, I read my weight in books about self-esteem. From my reading, I figured out that I needed to work on my self-esteem. I needed to take what was broke and fix it.
With an improved self-esteem maybe I wouldn’t feel so worthless, insecure and crazy all the damn time.
My hope was maybe one day I’d feel some degree of normal.
But no matter how hard I worked on my self-esteem, I never really felt like I was getting anywhere.
And that’s when I realized that I was going about fixing it the wrong way. I wasn’t in sync with the real reason why my self-esteem was shot.
If you find yourself struggling to figure out your self-esteem puzzle, you will definitely find today’s post helpful. We’re going to look at the real reason why your esteem is shot. And then we’re going to talk about what you can start to do about it.
Once you’ve read through today’s post, I’d love to hear your thoughts on self-esteem.
Leave your insights in the comment section below. Tell me what’s going on in that pretty little head of yours:)
Your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read.
Thank you, as always, for making Tuesday my favorite day of the week!
See you soon.
So, the real reason your self-esteem is shot basically boils down to this –
You may have never had it.
Think about it. If you grew up in a home with an alcoholic parent. Where the majority of your home life was consumed with tending to or cleaning up after the alcoholic then how could there be any room left over for you or your self-esteem?
Or if you had the kind of childhood that I did where both parents were alcoholics, forget about it. If my parents weren’t drunk then they were hungover and too consumed with their own addictions, denial and shame to teach me how to tie my shoes let alone self-esteem.
That’s why as an adult, I’ve had such a hard time fixing my low self-esteem because, guess what, I never had any.
And how can you fix or improve something that you don’t even have? It’s like trying to build a house by starting with the roof instead of the foundation. It’s not going to work!
So, what on earth are you supposed to do? How do you build self-esteem and self-respect? Well, I have a few suggestions for you based on work that I’ve done through the years and continue to do.
Now. If you’ve been with me long enough then you already know that I don’t believe in quick fixes for any of this stuff. I don’t own a magic wand and unfortunately, I don’t have all the answers. But what I do have is my own experiences and a genuine desire to help you through whatever you’re going through.
And if I can make progress and improvements, then I know you can to:)
#1 Figure Out This Adult Child Of An Alcoholic Stuff
To understand your entire picture, you’ve got to understand the environment that you came from.
If you grew up with an alcoholic parent or parents then you’re an ACOA. And to understand how your parents’ choices impacted you, you’ve got to learn everything you can about being an ACOA.
The first book I ever picked up on the topic was Janet G. Woititz’s book, Adult Children Of Alcoholics. And the book rocked my world. Not because it was some incredible piece of literature but because it was the first book I’d ever read that made me feel like I made sense.
Understanding the patterns, rules and roles of the alcoholic family will open the doors to your self-esteem or complete lack of it. Your behaviors, quirks and issues will start to make sense. And guess what? As they start to make sense you can decide to do something about them.
The journey can be a rough one. And there’s loads of work to be done. But I’m telling you learning this stuff is priceless. It’s your ticket to building a healthy self-esteem.
Do This: After you’re done reading through today’s post open up the Google, type in, “What is an Adult Child Of An Alcoholic” and start reading. Not everything you find will apply to you and that’s okay. The important thing here is that you take action.
#2 Figure Out This Self-Esteem Stuff
You can’t change the events in your childhood or your past that created your crippled self-esteem but you can control what you do about it today.
So, if you’re serious about building your self-esteem you need to learn everything you can about it. How it develops. What it means. What it looks like and so on.
The very first book I bought on self-esteem was called, Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning. This book is not only thorough but it’s jam packed with exercises and easy assessment tools that will help you lay your self-esteem foundation.
Do This: Open up the Google and type in, “What is self-esteem?” Whip out your journal or open a doc on your computer and write down what you discover. Or, check out this TedxYouth talk with Niko Everett called, A User’s Guide To Building Self-Esteem.
#3 Remember, The Second Best Time Is Now
Regardless of what you’re in recovery from, it’s easy to buy into the idea that it’s too late for you to change.
Not only do I hear this fear repeated over and over again through the work that I do but it’s a lie I hear in my own head nearly every single day.
But the truth is this, it’s never too late. Yea sure, it would be awesome to be able to hit the reset button on life and start over. But guess what, that’s not going to happen but that doesn’t mean that you’re done.
It’s not too late to build your self-esteem or take that first step in recovery. All it takes is that first small step and then the next one and the next.
Believe it or not, today is the perfect day to start. As the classic Chinese Proverb says,
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
Links to books mentioned in this post –
Adult Children Of Alcoholics – Janet G. Woititz
Self-Esteem – Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning