Let's talk about self-esteem

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Dee

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Let's talk about self-esteem
« on: November 20, 2016, 02:26:40 PM »

I went to group last week and feeling worthless came up.  Just about everyone said they had felt worthless, but have overcome it or are.  One person said she knows she is the person god wants her to be.  I think I realized for the first time just how rock bottom my self-esteem is.  I knew, but, I was able to visualize it more.  The facilitator wrote worthless on the board.  I thought about where am I and then I imagined a few layers underneath worthless to be horrible person.  I thought yes, worthless and horrible person.  Then I imagined more layers until the very bottom, where there are no words.  So low that there isn't anything underneath and I thought that was where I belong.

I should of shared that maybe with the group.  I chose not to share at all.  Why, because I felt so alienated from them.  One person constantly gets onto the subject of god.  I can tell for her it is a huge source of comfort.  I also feel her faith is exactly what she needs and I am glad she has that.  However, everything is about god, once she starts then other members join in talking about it.  This time the facilitator said people have different beliefs and that is okay.  She then looked me in the eyes and said if don't believe in anything that is okay too.  I guess she could sense my discomfort.  My lack of faith is another thing I am ashamed of.  I live in a country where the churches are filled every weekend.  I often think what is wrong with me and why can't I believe. 

I went to group to feel a connection, for support, and to not feel so different.  I am coming away feeling more different and more wrong.  So I've decided I have to leave.  I never share much anyway because I am feeling wrong all the time.  Group is only another blow to my self-esteem.

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Jdog

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Re: Let's talk about self-esteem
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2016, 02:51:45 PM »
Dee-

Yes, feeling worthless and undeserving is something I struggle with as well.  I don't think of it in religious terms at all, just recognize it's something underlying with which I must work.  Something that has helped me is a technique of (psychologist/meditation teacher) Tara Brach called RAIN.  That stands for recognize, allow, investigate, nurture.  Recognize the pain or feeling, allow it to just "be"- don't fight back, investigate its origins (after awhile - don't rush into this), and nurture your whole self.  It really helps me, and I need to do it over and over most weeks.

Best wishes as you confront this very common feeling.

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radical

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Re: Let's talk about self-esteem
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2016, 05:45:35 PM »
No wonder you feel alienated, Dee.

I have a feeling you are more authentic than most in your group.  True self esteem doesn't magically emerge into existence over a few weeks, or even months, no matter what a person does or believes in, imo.  This group sounds all peer-group pressure and brownie points for saying that you are getting better, way beyond the truth of what it is to struggle and work on yourself at depth and with sincerity.

I'm happy for people to talk about their faith as part of recovery, but I would resent having it rammed down my throat.  It must be really hard to be in a group that shares a common faith and relates most experience to it.  I couldn't handle that and I'm sorry you've experienced it.  The facilitator sounds way out of her depth with trauma work.

I don't think you are layers below, Dee, I think you have great integrity and are able to be honest.  If this is a trauma group, it sounds like honesty is in short supply, and has been substituted for the glib and superficial, with stars and stamps for good behaviour, and, imo, that is never going to bring deep healing.

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Three Roses

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Re: Let's talk about self-esteem
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2016, 06:39:56 PM »
I consider myself spiritual, but I don't see it as a prerequisite to healing. Sometimes my faith gives me insight; sometimes all I have is doubt. But I think some believe you can't be healed without their particular brand of god.

Dee, you are not a horrible person!! You are every bit as worthy of happiness and healing as anyone. I'm glad to know you. :hug:

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Dee

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Re: Let's talk about self-esteem
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2016, 01:39:10 AM »

Thank you for the replies, I very much appreciate them.

I have never heard of RAIN, but it sounds like some of what I hear from my therapist in a concise way to remember it.  Sitting with it is so very hard for me to do.

Radical, you are so smart.  I think you made some great observations.  When I read what you wrote, I thought, yes!  The group is not for me, but at least I tried.  I was so scared to first go, that I was wondering if I could climb in through the window.  I know though when I leave wondering why I don't have the same faith they have and that's just something else wrong with me; then I know it isn't doing for me what my therapist had hoped.  I also know she wouldn't want me to stay.

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sanmagic7

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Re: Let's talk about self-esteem
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2016, 01:36:10 PM »
dee, i've been in more support groups (mostly 12-step) where i didn't connect one whit to what others were saying or feeling, even tho i was dealing with the same addictions or issues.  the whole 'let go and let god' never resonated with me for a minute.  i left all those groups, one by one, because for one reason or another i didn't get what i needed from them.

of course, i would always think something was wrong with me for not feeling what the others were feeling, or for not being able to feel like i belonged.  when i think back on it, it just wasn't the right fit.  more than 30 yrs. of trying on various groups, and i've shed them all.  this is the only place, in cyber space no less, where i've felt at home.

to my mind, worthless and horrible people just don't share their truths - they hide everything and anything so as not to let the world know who they really are, and that they usually do behind a smile.  i don't see you that way at all, never have. 

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Dee

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Re: Let's talk about self-esteem
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2016, 02:13:17 PM »

You are so right, I feel much more at home here over anywhere else.  It's nice to know I am not the only person to sit in a group and not feel like I belong when I am suppose to be surrounded by people with similar issues. 

Thank you for the kind words.  I appreciate this forum so very much.

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woodsgnome

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Re: Let's talk about self-esteem
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2016, 05:17:56 PM »
Perhaps the best self-esteem is to take it a step further, and consider incorporating more self-compassion into all of this. There are some important differences between the two.

Spoken like some expert, right? Wrong--self-compassion for me remains highly elusive but I still feel its more key even than self-esteem. Finding kindness for oneself--who would ever have thought how hard this is?

You might find this website helpful:

http://self-compassion.org/

and/or this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvtZBUSplr4



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cosmo79

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Re: Let's talk about self-esteem
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2016, 04:56:54 PM »
Thank you, Dee and everyone who commented.  I know that none of you are worthless or horrible, even if you might believe that of yourselves -- that suggests that maybe I'm not horrible, either! (A tougher mental sell, obvi.)

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sanmagic7

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Re: Let's talk about self-esteem
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2016, 12:32:21 PM »
hasn't it been said that we're mirrors for each other?  that we can't see in another person what isn't there within ourselves?  sure, we all have dark sides, but cosmo, how can you possibly see the worth of a person if it isn't within yourself as well!  i, for one, don't believe it can be done.  therefore, logically, it must mean that you, too, are worthwhile as a person, whether you know it or not.  one foot in front of the other - you'll get there.


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Joeybird

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Re: Let's talk about self-esteem
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2016, 02:14:19 AM »
I belonged to a support group for a few years. The last time I went, the leader went on a vent about low self esteem. According to her, this didn't exist. No one really had it. Her parents had been supportive when she was growing up. Then another person pitched in, and said she didn't believe it existed either.

I was stunned. I sat there, not believing what I'd just heard. But I did hear it. I decided that this group was not for me -- and I haven't been back.