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Healing the Rejected Self

You know that one thing about you that just plain sucks to admit? Yeah, that one. The hidden attribute you don’t even like to confess to yourself, let alone anyone else.

The admirable one is the one who claims it, owns it, and accepts it. She lets herself off the hook for being human, living without apology for her insecurities. That is who I want to be friends with, and who I aspire to be.

Take me to the woman who does not wear a mask. I want to listen to the truth of her joys and her sorrows. I hope she shows me her raw self, for it is far more interesting than the story of who she thinks she ought to be.

Take me to the real you, not your ego’s need for validation or recognition. After all, neither your greatness nor your weakness mean anything to me. It is in your depth, your willingness to own your full human experience, that makes you powerful.

The Rejected Self and Addiction

If you have suffered from an addiction or eating disorder, your inner-critic has been hard at work, inadvertently trying to help you cover up what which you disown. Although that is not the sole cause of addiction, it certainly is strong fuel for the fire.

As you commit to your recovery, the parts that you have been pushing away come rushing forward with a vengeance.  Facing this is what makes you a warrior.

As you walk the journey back to your true self, you may begin to notice there was more insecurity than you could have imagined. Social gatherings, dating, and speaking your truth can feel a little daunting at first.  But you do it, one step at a time. Because, again, in case you forgot, you are a warrior.

The common thread that I have found that weaves itself through every possible thing that we could reject in ourselves, is lack of self-worth. It’s a sneaky one. It masks itself so well that I am convinced many people are not in touch with the fact that it affects them. They disown it. They don’t acknowledge that they want approval, validation, and attention. Truth be told, nothing is wrong with these desires in and of themselves. The issue lies in not being conscious of what is motivating you. That selfie, that video, that declaration – was it a need for creative expression and celebration, or did you check to see how many likes you got after posting it?

Changing Our Response

In the world of self-help books and transformational seminars, self-worth and self-love are all the craze.  Yet ironically, the stance of making it wrong to have low self-worth, simply reinforces the person to continue to reject themselves. The message is, “Love yourself and be confident or you are not as worthy as the person who does.” Sweet. That is exactly what the person with low self-worth needs – another reason to not be good enough.

The way I see positive impact made is through the people who can hold a completely non-judgmental and compassionate space for those who need to tell their story. Those who desire to be seen fully and loved, regardless of their stuff. It’s not in the mental fixing, or even in the declaring of one’s greatness, but rather in the loving and true acceptance of that which you have been hiding.

It’s true that self-worth is an inside job. And, it’s also true that we heal through relationship. The main culprit of low self-worth is lack of positive mirroring in the formative years. Therefore, this is what is called for to create it within the person now.  We must mirror their greatness, while also loving the parts they reject. To help someone heal is to help them accept themselves where they are, as they are, so they finally have the space to come to know who they are.

The Missing Link of the Well-Intentioned

My invitation to those who are witnesses to someone’s insecurities: please don’t condemn them for it. Please don’t tell them they shouldn’t feel that way. And please don’t assume you understand why they feel the way they do.

The reality is that part of being human is we project our interpretations onto everything and everyone. The closest we can come to not doing this is catching ourselves and asking to learn more. Listen deeply to their experience. Let them have it. Your job isn’t to fix it; it’s just to be a witness. And, if you cannot relate to what they are saying, remember that within you, there is also a rejected self. A self that needs to be loved and accepted and welcomed out into the world.



Images Courtesy of iStock

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