Tag Archives: self worth

Shame Makes You Mistreat Yourself

Shame obligates you to mistreat yourself. In Healing the Hurts of Your Past I wrote…

Shame: Self Sabotage

Shame: Self-Sabotage

Have you ever known someone who was in an abusive relationship? You beg and plead with them to leave it and when they finally do you are thrilled. Now they can find a healthy person. But then, to your shock, within a week they are in another abusive relationship. Why do they do that?  They don’t think they deserve anyone better.

Can you relate?

But people don’t limit this behavior to relationships. They accept inferior jobs, inferior service at stores, inferior food at restaurants and inferior workmanship from contractors. They can’t find it in them to demand better because they are convinced that they don’t deserve it. 

Shame Makes You Sabotage Yourself

It gets worse. Shame not only makes you accept the inferior, when you manage to find something good in life, shame causes you to sabotage it.

Sabotage is when you actually get something good in life but you find reasons to reject it. If you are given a nice present you might “accidentally” break it or lose it. If you find someone who really loves you, you might betray them or reject them before they reject you. If you land a great job you might get drunk and skip work for three days, hoping that they’ll fire you. Losing something good is painful but it is not as painful as the shame you feel for having things you don’t deserve. 

The sad thing is…you spend so many years in defeat you have no idea how to manage success. As much as you want it, long for it, fantasize about it…it scares you to death. Defeat is your comfort zone and so you stay there.

Is there any hope for change? It requires a soul change…a spiritual and psychological reset. But thankfully God is happy to give you what you need.  If you are willing to listen to a New Voice and not the lies of shame then you have a great chance for change.

Leave a comment below and I’ll send you my free e-book, Forgiven…once and for all. This will expose you to how God loves and values you. If you like what you read then you might want to consider reading Healing the Hurts of Your Past.

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Forgiving Yourself – Consider the Lie

This is part five of a series looking at how to forgive yourself. Be sure to track back and read the earlier posts.  If you find that you are unable to forgive yourself you have probably believed some lie at a deep level of your being.

Some possible lies are:

Forgiving Yourself

Forgiving Yourself

  • I’m not worthy of being forgiven
  • God can’t love me after what I’ve done
  • I’m disqualified
  • I should give up
  • I need to punish myself
  • I have nothing to offer

I wrote about lie-based thinking in my book Healing the Hurts of Your Past .  If you are convinced of your low worth then it only makes sense that you will look to punish yourself every chance you get. Forgiving yourself is much too kind of an act for a worthless person.

This is what I wrote in Healing the Hurts of Your Past

How do we treat garbage? Not very well. Why? Because it has no value to us. We toss it in a bag. We toss the bag into the trunk of our car. And then we toss it in a dumpster or in the landfill. In the same way, if you really think that you are worthless, you aren’t going to treat yourself with any value. We do this in a variety of ways…

  • Accepting the inferior. Have you ever known someone who was in an abusive relationship? You beg and plead with them to leave it and when they finally do you are thrilled. Now they can find a healthy person. But then, to your shock, within a week they are in another abusive relationship. Why do they do that? Because they don’t think they deserve anyone better. But they don’t limit this behavior to relationships. They accept inferior jobs, inferior service at stores, inferior food at restaurants and inferior workmanship from contractors. They can’t find it in them to demand better because they are convinced that they don’t deserve it.
  • Sabotage. Sabotage is when you actually get something good in life but you find reasons to reject it. If you are given a nice present you might “accidentally” break it or lose it. If you find someone who really loves you, you might betray them or reject them before they reject you. If you land a great job you might get drunk and skip work for three days, hoping that they’ll fire you. Losing something good is painful but it is not as painful as the shame you feel for having things you don’t deserve.

Forgiving Yourself Involves Knowing the Truth

In Healing the Hurts of Your Past I mention four other ways that we mistreat ourselves. We could add “not forgiving yourself” to this list as well.  The book goes into detail as how to address these lies but the essence is that you find freedom when you come to know and experience the truth (versus the lies) of how God values you. When you are able to grasp God’s view of you then forgiving yourself becomes a possibility.

I have one last post on forgiving yourself to share in a couple of days.

Question: What lies have you believed that have kept you from forgiving yourself?  Leave your comment below.

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The Missing Piece to the Shame Puzzle

Shame Puzzle

The Missing Piece to the Shame Puzzle

This is part five of a six part interview/overview of my book Healing the Hurts of Your Past conducted at WWIB.com radio with Mark Halverson. Click the links below to see the previous guides. Listen to the interview here.

This session turned the corner on our discussion as we started to look at how to overcome the pain of shame.   My book offers a different solution than a purely secular approach to shame. Secular approaches typically do a good job of identifying what shame is and offering ways to start processing it.

Brene Brown on Shame

Brene Brown’s book on shame

For example: Brene Brown’s book called I Thought it was Just Me. This is an excellent book that I highly recommend. Brene does a great job of using both her research and personal stories to explain what shame is and how to unmask it.  She doesn’t take a biblical approach (I wouldn’t expect her too since she is an academic reporting her research) but her research and teaching strongly back up biblical teaching. I’d love to talk to her about this some day.  Her insights into relationships, connection, compassion and courage will help anyone seeking to crawl out of the pain of shame.

 

The Gold Standard of Self-Esteem

But…having said that… I still think there is a piece missing from the shame puzzle.  What I talked about on the radio program was “the gold standard” that backs up our statements, such as “you are valuable”. The problem I have with most self-esteem teaching is that it isn’t rooted in anything. We tell people, “Don’t listen to what people say…YOU ARE VALUABLE! YOU ARE A WINNER! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!”  My question to that is…Who says? YOU say that. Who are you?  You might be wrong.

It’s like our currency. I have two pieces of paper in front of me. One is an actual twenty-dollar bill. The other is a green slip of paper. I say they are both worth $20. That’s nice. But who am I to make that declaration?  Stores dont’ care what I say. They care what the government says.

The government backs up the worth of the twenty-dollar bill  (it was originally backed up by gold, hence the term, “gold standard”).  The government can point to their paper and say, “We declare that paper valuable. We created it and we back it up.” But they can’t say the same for my alternative piece of paper. My word means nothing.  The point is; value comes from people who can back it up. Not just wishful thinking.  Watch a two-minute tv interview using this analogy.

God Defines Our Worth

In the same way, the “gold standard” for self-esteem is the word of God (if you believe in God and the Bible as his word to us). The Bible tells us that God created us in his image. You can’t get any more valuable than that. The Bible also tells us that God came to earth in the person of Jesus and laid down his life out of love for us. Again, we MUST be valuable for God to do that. That’s our gold standard. That’s what we stand on. Don’t take my word for it!  Who am I?  Take God’s word that you are valuable!  It doesn’t matter what others say about you.

If you worked your way through my book and Brene Brown’s book you will have a great package to help you overcome the pain of shame.  My book will help you identify the lies you are believing about your worth (and where they came from) and help you hear from God the truth of your value. Brene’s book will help you identify your shame as well but she offers steps for people to start to tell their story and create connection with other people (connection being the opposite of the isolation that shame produces).

This is just a taste of what the radio show was about. I hope you’ll take the time to download the MP3 and listen to it.  Please forward this on to others on Facebook and Twitter. I’m sure there are people hungry to hear how valuable they are.

  • The Spiritual Implications of Brene Brown’s TED Talk on Vulnerability (readingremy.com)
  • How to find Self-Worth Apart From Your Performance: TV interview (readingremy.com)
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How to find Self-Worth Apart: TV interview

self-worth

Jeannie Hayes, NBC Rockford, IL

I was interviewed by Jeannie Hayes at the Rockford , Illinois NBC affiliate last week about my book, Healing the Hurts of Your Past and how to find your self-worth.

The show has two ten minute segments.  Part Two really captures the thrust of my book with two great analogies. If you only have time for one segment watch Part Two.

I’m convinced that much of our depression and broken relationships is directly related to a poor self-worth. Please share this on Facebook or Twitter to encourage people you know that might be struggling with these issues.

  • Helping Hurting People TV Interview (5min) (readingremy.com)
  • Shame: Do You Feel Like Damaged Goods? (readingremy.com)
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Low Self-Worth Turns Friends into Enemies

Self-worth

Low Self-Worth Makes Enemies of Friends

In his book, Show Me the Way, Henri Nouwen challenges our source of self-worth. He says…

When we cling to the results of our actions as our own way of self-identification, then we become possessive and defensive and tend to look at our fellow human beings more as enemies to be kept at a distance than as friends with whom we share the gifts of life. page 67, Show Me the Way

What Defines Your Self-Worth?

Let me unpack this a bit.  Think about whatever it is that you do that gives you a sense of worth; your athletic ability, your work performance, your looks, your children, your Bible knowledge, your grades, etc. If you are honest this behavior easily becomes your identity. It becomes your scorecard that you show people to prove your worth and justifies your existence.

Take a second. Don’t be so quick to say “not me”. Go ahead. Admit it. That’s human nature.

The question really isn’t IF you think this way. It’s, What can I do about the way I think? How can I shift my thinking away from this faulty validation system?

The problem with this kind of scorecard system is that you have to defend it. That’s what the Nouwen quote is about. You have to prove to others the importance of your specialty and why you must spend time on it. You need to protect not only the specialty but your record. It’s work! It’s easy to see everyone as a threat. Every person in your life can potentially deny the value of what you depend on for self-worth. You can’t let that happen!

Low Self-Worth Creates Enemies

That’s why Nouwen says that people become our enemies and not our friends. Our talents are not gifts to share with friends. They are merely badges to prove our self-worth.  This behavior doesn’t draw us close to people but distances us more and more into a place of isolation.

Has that happened to you? Maybe that’s why you are lonely…you spend too much time proving your worth, to others, and even yourself.

Find Your Self-Worth in God Alone

What if you reject this validation system and find validation from God’s love?  Suddenly people are no longer your enemy. You don’t need their approval. You’ve already got your approval from God. Instead of needing something from your friends you’ve got something to give them. Something to consider.

Question: How has low self-worth caused you to distance yourself from friends? Leave your comments below and be sure to “share the knowledge” by clicking the links. Thanks.

Receive the free e-book “Forgiven…once and for all” when you subscribe to this blog.

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What Scoreboard Measures Your Self-Worth?

Self-worth

What Scoreboard Measures Your Self-worth?

What measures your self-worth? Our culture fixates on finding self-worth in places that ultimately don’t satisfy.  Too many people crash and burn because they invest in things they thought would make them happy but didn’t.

I’m here to point to a different source of happiness and success. When you tap into the life and love of God you find a strength that doesn’t come and go on a whim.

Henri Nouwen on Self-Worth

In “Show Me the Way”, Henri Nouwen addresses self-worth saying…

When we start being too impressed by the results of our work, we slowly come to the erroneous conviction that life is one large scoreboard where someone is listing the points to measure our worth. And before we are fully aware of it, we have sold our soul to the many grade-givers…

  • We are intelligent because someone gives us a high-grade.
  • We are helpful because someone says thanks.
  • We are likable because someone likes us.
  • And we are important because someone considers us indispensable.

In short, we are worthwhile because we have successes. page 67

If my self-worth depends on my success then I’m in trouble. It’s a double-edged sword. If I have no success then I have no self-worth. If self-worth is what I need then I am driven to succeed no matter what the cost. How many people fall into one of these two camps? I’m afraid it’s astronomical and the weight is crushing.

At some point we have to wise up and stop playing the game. We have to realize that self-worth is not a game won by scoring points. Self-worth is a gift given by a loving God.

I’d like to give you permission to walk off the field right now. Shut off the scoreboard and take the trophy. It’s yours without ever playing the game!

Question: What scoreboard are you using to measure your worth? What has to happen before you can feel good about your life?  Leave your comment below and “share the knowledge”. Thanks.

Get the free e-book, “Forgiven…once and for all” when you subscribe to this blog.

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Could Poverty Help us Forgive?

Forgive ...how poverty helps us

Henri Nouwen

Can Poverty help us forgive? In Henri Nouwen‘s devotional, “Show Me the Way” he talks about how the key to hospitality is a sense of poverty. When you have nothing, you can give everything.  It sounds paradoxical and foolish. But let me explain and then expand it into the realm of forgiveness as well. Nouwen says this…

Once we have become poor, we can be a good host. It is indeed the paradox of hospitality that poverty makes a good host. Poverty in the inner disposition that allows us to take away our defenses and convert our enemies into friends. We can perceive the stranger as an enemy only as long as we have something to defend. But when we say, “Please enter — my house is your house, my joy is your joy, my sadness is your sadness, and my life is your life,” we have nothing to defend, since we have nothing to lose but all to give.

Turning the other cheek means showing our enemies that they can be our enemies only while supposing that we are anxiously clinging to our private property, whatever it is: our knowledge, our good name, our land, our money, or the many objects we have collected around us. But who will be our robbers when everything they want to steal from us becomes our gift to them? Who can lie to us when only the truth will serve them well? Who wants to sneak into our back door when our front door is wide open?  Show Me the Way

Poverty Helps Us Forgive

If I have nothing to defend or protect, nothing to lock up or hide away, nothing I fear you will take,  then all I have is yours. I’m free to be fully present with you. This is true about hospitality. But let me take it farther. Isn’t this true in forgiveness too? I think that’s where Nouwen is going when he talks about “turning the other cheek”. He believer a sense of poverty enables us to forgive.

If you have offended me I can only cling to unforgiveness as long as I cling to my reputation, my name, my image.  You took something from me…that’s why I’m so mad.  But if I don’t have an image or a reputation to defend…then I can forgive you without a problem.

(I’m not talking about having no self-esteem. I’m talking about being in a place where you are so convinced of your worth – it is God-given – that you don’t have to cling to it. You have no fear of losing it or letting someone strip it from you because you know you can’t lose it.)

Our problem is that we so often have the need to feel good about ourselves.  We work so hard at building a case for it. We barely pull together enough proof of our worth and then we are offended again, our house of cards falls and we are indignant at the person who robbed us of our dignity.

But what if you didn’t play that game? What if you stepped  out of that system all together and played by a different set of rules? What if you didn’t feel the need to prove to the world or yourself your worth? What if you believed that you have intrinsic value simply by the fact that you were created by an infinite all-loving God?

I think that’s what Nouwen is getting at.  When you get to that state of poverty (read humility) then no one can take anything away from you. You are free. Free to give. Free to forgive.

Question: What keeps you from stepping out of the “system” and needing to prove to others your worth? Leave your comment below.

Learn more about finding your worth in Healing the Hurts of Your Past.

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