We are often programmed by childhood experiences to doubt our ability to achieve what we want. If you find that you have negative emotions about not having succeeded yet, you need to identify these obstacles or they will continue to sabotage your efforts towards success.
Now, imagine making the effort towards that goal and see how you feel about making that effort. Do you enjoy it, or do you feel suppressed, fearful, or discouraged? Do you feel that it is in vain to make this effort because you will never succeed?
Next, imagine yourself having succeeded in this effort and see how you feel. If you cannot even imagine yourself successful, then we need to work on what might be obstructing that.
If, on the other hand, you can imagine success, but feel that you are in some type of danger, or might lose something else because of it, then you need to work on those emotions and beliefs that are subconsciously stopping you.
To improve our ability to be successful, we must first determine our main obstacles towards accepting and loving ourselves just as we are and towards the feeling that we deserve a good, healthy, happy, and successful life. Below you will find some possible obstacles. Identify the situations in which you find yourself losing your self-worth or your belief that you deserve to be successful.
Identifying the Obstacles
Consider the following possibilities:
• I do not deserve to have or fulfill this goal.
• I cannot have or manifest this goal.
• I am in some type of danger if I have it or fulfill this goal.
• I am not able to have or fulfill this goal.
• Others do not want me to have it and I don’t want to hurt them by getting it.
• I will lose others’ love.
• I will not be a spiritual person.
• I will feel guilty if I do.
• I will harm others if I have it or fulfill this goal.
• I am not worthy and should not have it.
• Since I have not been able to have it until now then I cannot have it.
• I will lose my freedom.
• I will lose my self-worth.
• I might lose some source of security.
• I might give satisfaction to others, something I do not want to do.
• Others might cease feeling guilty about me.
• I might lose my control over others.
• My other desires will be unfulfilled.
• The effort to achieve this goal will be painful or unpleasant.
• I do not have the necessary discipline to manifest this goal.
Is there perhaps a part of me which is getting something from being the victim and thus subconsciously:
• Feels that things should not go well for me.
• I must have injustices, failures and problems.
Are there possibly childhood experiences concerning this goal?
• What did you hear from your environment about this particular goal? Is it easy, difficult, good, bad, right, wrong?
• Did others in your childhood environment achieve this goal? Do you have a prototype for this?
• What were others’ perceptions of you as a child? (In regard to this issue or success, ability or self-worth in general)
• What was your own perception of yourself as a child? (In regard to this issue or success, ability or self-worth in general)
• Did anything else happen in your childhood years, which might affect your perception of this issue?
4. How do you imagine those important to you will feel if you succeed or fail at this? How do you feel about how they might feel?
5. Do you perhaps have some type of inner conflict about this?
Some Possible Obstacles
1. When others criticize or reject you. (Belief: I am worthy and will be loved only when others accept and love me.)
2. When others are more able than you at certain tasks or more endowed with certain qualities. (Belief: I am only worthy if I have intelligence, wealth, a good home, appearance, artistic ability, good speech, good at sports, cook well, have professional success, have children who are successful am disciplined, participate in "spiritual" activities.)
3. When you have made a mistake. (Belief: I am worthy and will be loved only when I do not make mistakes.)
4. When you do not have the results you believe you should have after some effort. (Belief: I am worthy and will be loved only when I succeed or when others recognize my success.)
5. When others attract more attention, esteem and respect in a group situation. (Belief: I am worthy and will be loved only when I am more important than others.)
6. When you do not have someone who loves you exclusively, in ways in which he or she does not love anyone else. (Belief: I am worthy only when I have someone who loves me exclusively.)
7. When you are not perfect. (Belief: I am worthy only when I have the perfect house, perfect appearance, or never make mistakes.)
8. When you do not get many things done in one day. (Belief: I am worthy and will be loved only when I do and accomplish a lot of things.)
9. When you are not strong or when you show weakness. (Belief: I am worthy and will be loved only when I am strong and show no weakness.)
10. When others do not agree or are not satisfied with you. (Belief: I am worthy and will be loved only when others agree with me and are satisfied with me.)
11. When others ask you for help and you do not say "yes" – or do not respond. (Belief: I am worthy and will be loved only when I say yes and will lose their love if I say no.)
12. When others have offered more to you than you have offered to them. (Belief: I am only worthy if I give a lot – more than others give me.)
13. When people do not trust you or confide in you. (Belief: I am worthy only if others trust me.)
14. When people lie to you or use you or laugh at you. (Belief: I am worthy and will be loved only if I am respected and I lose my self-worth when others do not behave properly to me.)
15. When others are able to manipulate you or are not as conscientious as you. (Belief: I lose my self worth when I work more than others or when I work for them, without receiving back what I should.)
16. Because you are born female in a culture which gives more importance to males. (Belief: I deserve success only if I am a male.)
17. Because your parents did not want a child and you felt that you were a burden on them. (Belief: I do not deserve to be here, and therefore do not deserve to be successful.
Now list your obstacles.
Removing the Obstacle
Having determined what is preventing you from feeling self-worth in certain situations, choose the one that is intense and bothersome enough for you to work with first. It is very likely that this work will bring you in touch with childhood traumas that have programmed you in this way, and which will need to be transformed or changed in your mind. Having analyzed and chosen the first obstacle you want to work with, you can progress towards removing it by transforming the childhood interpretation of it. EFT (www.emofree.com), Katie Byron’s work (www.thework.com), or the Thought Process Transformation are all great ways to transform this, should you desire to do so. You can explore and research these processes more on the internet. You can also use positive affirmations, which will allow you to accept and love yourself as you are at this stage of your evolutionary process. You can keep a high level of energy by eating healthily, exercising regularly, as well as by regular breathing exercises.
Below you will find some useful affirmations concerning self-worth:
1. I am worthy of love and respect regardless of others opinions or behavior.
2. My self worth is totally independent of how I compare to others.
3. My self worth is totally independent of any external factors such as: intelligence, wealth, appearance, talents, professional success, my children’s success, my home, being attractive to the opposite sex, making friends, disciplines, "spiritual" activities, etc.
4. I am worthy of love and respect regardless of the results of my efforts.
5. I am worthy and lovable even when others are being given more attention. I am happy for others when they receive love and attention.
6. My self-worth is within me and totally independent of whether I am loved exclusively by someone one or not.
7. I am worthy of love and respect even when I am not perfect in what I do and even when I make mistakes.
8. My self-worth is totally independent of how much I accomplish.
9. I am worthy of love and respect even when I feel weak or needy.
10. My self-worth is totally independent of whether others agree with me or are satisfied with me.
11. I deserve love and respect even when I need to say "no" and do not respond to what I am asked to do.
12. I accept and love myself as I am with my faults and weaknesses as I steadily and methodically evolve out of them.
13. My self-worth is totally independent as to whether some people trust me or open up to me on not.
14. My self-worth is totally independent of how people behave towards me.
15. My self-worth is totally independent of how much others work or how they work or what they believe about me.
Peggy Hammes, M.S., is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Imago Certified RelationshipTherapist, and Teacher of Wisdom. Questions can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.