|Reclaim Your Self-Worth|
Wake Up to Live by Desiree Leigh
When a child grows up in a life filled with chronic emotional and sexual abuse in which even the mother or caregiver doesn't believe the cries for help, the child begins to withdraw from life. A child may first become clingy and whiny, crying for attention. When no one responds, the child gets distressed, and this, at some point, damages the relational attachment between mother or caregiver and the child. Eventually, without a response from the mother or caregiver, the child stops responding all together. The child withdraws from life.
Desire for Love
When I look back, I remember well that I was a very clingy and whiny child as a toddler and preschooler. Everywhere my mother went, I tried my hardest to get her attention. This behavior obviously made my mother frustrated, as it would any mother. I could see it in her eyes: her frustration, irritation, indignation, and rejection. I could feel it in her energy and body language. My behavior never drew her towards me. My behavior only pushed her away from me. In retrospect, I believe I merely was looking for love and attention. Someone to listen to me. Someone to hold me. Someone to make me feel safe. Someone to love me unconditionally.
The problem with this is that I was a child. Whether or not she got frustrated with my behavior is not my, or any other child's, fault. She was the responsible adult that could have used mere love and affection or critical inquiry to ask why her child was behaving in such a manner. Or, perhaps, she could have just listened to the child and believed her when she said "........ comes into bed with me." Rather than scream and go into denial saying "how dare you say that about your .......! He is your .........! You respect him!"
The defense I hear is "your mother was probably abused (by this same person), too, and, yes, I agree. She could have been. Although, I asked her, about 10 years ago, and she denied it. Even if she was sexually molested by this relative, does that give her the right to not act responsibly and do something in regards to the sexual abuse that occurred with me or perhaps her other children? I disagree completely. This is the problem with society. This way of thinking breeds irresponsibility and continued child abuse. She did not take a stand for what was wrong and what was criminal. She did not protect her child. Instead, she, her husband, and the entire extended family continued to protect the perpetrators, and with a hush did everything in their power to silence the talk. The talk was me.
Pain Buried Deep In My Gut
I stayed shut down for years. When I realized that my emotions were erratic and I couldn't live with myself anymore, I started my personal development journey. With spirituality, life coaching, counselling, and academic studies, I began to feel the flood gates from deep inside my gut open. My vocal chords were so closed off, I couldn't even scream. Yell, get mad and freak out about a lot of things, I did, but never could I or would I scream the truth. The truth was so deeply hidden inside, buried under an immense weight like stones, that even when I wanted to yell out the truth, there was nothing. There was always this huge lump in my throat.
Spirituality Is Where I Began
Spirituality is a wonderful thing when life is hell. It was the teachings and readings about spirituality that supported the directional growth into self-love. Spirituality loved me for who I was, every flaw, and even when spirituality could see the truth when I couldn't, spirituality never condemned, bullied, or attacked. There was full acceptance. My spiritual groups, one in particular at the University of Sedona, loved me completely and wholely. That, I will always cherish.
My self-worth, however, did not arise through the discipline of spirituality or meditation. It was the beginning, for sure. However, it was the amalgamation of all the disciplines as aforementioned. It was my steady and courageous walk through the bowels of hell where I continued to shed the various layers of lies, deceit, abandonment, and neglect. As I forged ahead, I also considered my why to life. I needed to have something to hang onto. It was not easy being a warrior, moving through the darkness. I wanted to give up so many times. I had so much hate and sadness within me. It took energy and discipline to stay focused on the path of healing. It was easy to give up, rather than work through the sickening emotions that consumed my body and soul. It was with this continued persistent work in which I finally came to realize my self-worth and earned confidence.
The Quick-Fix Society
Everyone is looking for an easy recovery from chronic childhood abuse, sexual assault, trauma, loss, or whatever, but there is no easy way to heal. Too many are looking for the quick-fix. It's the drive-through mentality. "If I don't see results now, it does not work." If you want to heal, you need to do the work. You will falter. There is no doubt about that, but don't stay there for long. Pick yourself up and get going again. The work has taken me 10 years, and I am still healing. I will not stop until my message is heard. That means I still have much to do.
Healing Is A Discipline
I did not read one book and apply seven easy steps to get where I am today. This is a marketing tactic by so many large corporate online magazines! If it were that easy, we would all be healed. I didn't need to follow a guru. I did not join a group of survivors. I didn't have to go to group therapy. I did not follow one discipline. Meditation did not heal, but I still do it for the connection and self-understanding. I read dozens and dozens of books on different topics. I went to dozens of seminars and workshops. I researched incessantly about everything. I read many stories of how and what others did to heal taking what I needed and throwing out the rest. I finished a ministerial degree and recorded a spiritual CD. I meditated, and I prayed. I got certified in coaching and counselling. I was interviewed by a radio host. I journaled. I blogged. I went to therapy. I connected with nature; I became still. All these steps, and more, allowed me to heal myself as well as heal my family: my sons.
Reclaim Your Self-Worth By Doing
To reclaim your self-worth, there is no seven or eleven step process that will work. To reclaim your self-worth, engage in life by opening your heart and inviting several things in that intrigue you. Don't get caught up by the sales tactics by others that claim their way is the only way, or that they learned it from the professionals and now they have the key to life or how to heal your life. Listen to your heart, first. The important thing to do is to be persistent in your healing process. If therapy works for a few months, great. If you need a change, do it. Then go back if you need to. Meditate or do yoga. Do you love it? Awesome. Then continue. If it's not working for you, change it up. Don't get stuck in something you think you have to do because it works for someone else or someone has a great sales technique. It's your life. To reclaim your self-worth, it takes self-reflection and action. With these two aspects, you will gain inner power and confidence and your will self-worth.
Speak Your Truth to Release the Shame
Lastly, you will never reclaim your self-worth by remaining silent about the abuse you endured and survived. Secrecy breeds shame. But remember, when you do speak the truth, you will get backlash. Be ready for it. To be ready to take it on, you need grit. You gain this by mastering the art of healing.
Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh