Self-worth is in short supply these days. Actually, all my life there’s been no supply of self worth or self-esteem. At the Emotions Anonymous meeting on Wednesday the topic was how we treat our bodies. When it was my turn to speak I had no shortage of words; forever I’ve been abusing my body, following the tradition of what my perpetrators did to me.

I continue to cut, burn, starve, binge, purge, etc.

Indulge me here for a minute. I’m getting to a point:

I don’t feel like I deserve to be happy. I don’t deserve to take care of myself. There is something inherently wrong with myself that makes me undeserving. I often ask myself why I go to therapy. I don’t deserve therapy; I don’t deserve to get better.

But why don’t I deserve to get better? What did I do that was so bad? Even people on death row get treated better than I treat myself. So what is wrong with me?

The answer is nothing…except somewhere inside I feel guilty and like I deserved to be traumatized and abused. Some sick part of me feels like I wanted the abuse. My T. would say that is categorically, unconditionally, irrefutably, untrue. I don’t believe her myself, but I still try to trust in what she says.

The truth is:

I am capable of having of self-worth. My self-worth is based on my actions, and I am already doing things I can be proud of. I’m going to therapy, even though I hate it. I feel similiarly to Ivory that I go to therapy but never say the things I need to say. But I’m trying. I go to my eating disorder groups, I journal, I blog, and I read other people’s blogs as a way of reaffirming that my frame of reference is not singular.

Esteem is based on our own opinion, our own judgement, and what we value. Thus, self-esteem is how we value ourselves and what our opinion is of ourselves. We can’t rely on other’s opinions of us. They won’t hold water in the long run because we will constantly be having to go back to them for reassurance. We need self-esteem for ourselves.

And self-esteem and self-worth can’t be based on the outer appearance. Self-worth is the product of action. Self-esteem isn’t a feeling based on passing emotions. It is constructed, built, even designed. We can design negative self-worth or design positive self-worth. We don’t have to go by the definitions handed to us in childhood or from a relationship that wasn’t healthy. We can redefine ourselves anytime we want by doing things for ourselves regardless if we feel worthy or deserving.

So while I may not feel like I deserve to live or deserve to be happy, my goal is to do something nice for myself today, like paint my nails or buy a new song for my iPod. It is the little things we do for ourselves, even the smallest action, that translates into a victory; It is the small victories that turn into positive products, and that builds and DESIGNS how we will view ourselves and what our self worth is.

I’m including some web-sites I visited that gave me ideas on how to improve my self-worth.

http://personaldevelopment.suite101.com/article.cfm/self_esteem_help

http://www.wikihow.com/Develop-Self-Esteem (This has 10 steps and even more tips)****

http://www.wordofmouthexperiment.com/articles/self-esteem/improving-self-worth-3-keys (Has 3 tips but a lot of links to other sites)

http://www.ehow.com/how_5051091_improve-confidence-even-youre-down.html (has great analogy of “bank account” and self-esteem

Hope these help.