If you’re like most survivors of narcissistic abuse, you might still be struggling to feel good about yourself. You might also not be very self-accepting, and most of us don’t end up actually feeling like we have any self-love to speak of – not to mention self-confidence. For that reason, I wrote this self-acceptance and self-love inducing guided meditation for you.
I worked with a professional voice artist to create a simple, relaxing, and motivational meditation for self-acceptance that leads to unconditional self-love. You can listen in the morning to get you going or play it while you go to sleep at night. I suggest you use it for at least 30 days for maximum effect.
Going through the hell that is narcissistic abuse does a real number to your ability to see your own self-worth. And while “self-worth” might not seem like a very important thing in theory, it can affect literally every single aspect of your life – and this does include your physical health, not to mention your mental health and ability to succeed in life.
Self-worth is the level of value you place on yourself as an individual. Think of it as a step above self-respect. Having self-respect means that you understand that you are valuable as a person, while self-worth means that you feel valuable among people – that you feel that you bring something special to the table; that you are valuable.
Why do narcissistic abuse survivors have low self-worth?
There are a number of other reasons a person might struggle with lowered self-worth. For example, maybe you feel a low sense of self-worth because you may feel like you haven’t learned or accomplished as much as those around you. Or, maybe you’ve just entered a new space in which you feel less qualified than those around you, or you recently tried something that didn’t work out and it damaged your sense of self-worth. Whatever your situation is, there’s nothing wrong with the feeling that you need to earn a sense of self-worth provided that you know where to start. So what are you supposed to do?
How do you define your self-worth after narcissistic abuse?
How do you rediscover (or discover for the first time) your self-worth? How can you recognize your value as a person?
First: Change Your Perspective
Your perspective is the way you see things, and the first and most important thing you can do to improve your self-worth is to change your perspective.
Interesting fact: after being emotionally and mentally abused, we tend to become people-pleasers. This leads us to attempt to improve our self-worth by trying to prove ourselves to other people.
This almost never works, at least not for long. Validation from outside ourselves is fleeting and dependent on other people. We have to learn to self-validate – this is the only way to truly own our sense of self and self-worth.
Start by looking at how far you’ve come in your journey rather than comparing yourself to other people. And remember: everyone is different, and none of us was born with all of the knowledge, experience, and skills that make us valuable. Other people aren’t better than you because they got there first.
Learn Something New or Start a Project
I always find that a good project can be just what I need to get out of a slump. Maybe the project IS learning something new, or maybe it’s a creative venture. Either way, there’s a certain sense of accomplishment in creating, and in knowing that you know something. It gives you something to focus on, something to talk about and think about – something positive instead of negative. Learning something new that you are passionate about can help you to “grow forward” in some pretty significant ways. Join a club devoted to your passion, or just try to find some time on your own to do some reading and then find people with whom you share your interests. It’s a beautiful thing, my friend.
Maybe you can use your newfound skills as a volunteer. Not only could it help to improve your opinion of yourself, but it can also be the perfect outlet for your creative energy. Plus: volunteering is great for self-worth for a couple of reasons.
Sense of accomplishment and purpose – By volunteering, no matter what you do, you are giving your time and energy in order to help those who are less fortunate than you. Maybe you didn’t graduate at the top of your class or that last project at work didn’t go the way that you hoped, but every volunteer should feel that they are doing meaningful work and that their efforts are appreciated.
Using your talents in a supportive and unique environment – Learning new skills or learning how to use your skills in new ways can both be great ways to discover or increase your potential in an environment that is likely to be more supportive and less judgmental than a school or work environment.
Take Care of Yourself
Self-care is SO important in understanding our self-worth. It might seem obvious, but taking even a few minutes a day to just take care of YOU can change your whole world – and it can most definitely build self-worth.
You might think that your feelings and thoughts aren’t genuine or relevant to the world, and you might even feel like a big fake when you do try to follow your dreams, simply because you’ve heard for so long that you’re not worthy, whether directly or indirectly.
When I was in my own toxic family situation, I struggled with feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and more. I felt like nothing I did or said was genuine or worth knowing about, like I had to hide who I was in order to conform to the expectations of my toxic family member.
But I learned some important lessons as I began the healing process, and I want to share them with you. If you’re currently in this situation, you may have never heard these things–and when you first read them, you probably won’t even believe them. But these are truths–and you keep reading them until you get it.
Changing your mind will help you to change your life. I’m living proof it works.
Top 10 Things You Need to Know if You’re in a Toxic Relationship with a Narcissist or Sociopath
You get to choose my own identity every day. You decide who you are and how far you go.
You can compromise for someone you love to a certain point when it’s time to choose your priorities and choose a path. But compromise means that both parties bend and both parties are satisfied with the outcome. It’s not compromising to give up what you truly want in order to make someone else happy or to keep them from getting angry at you.
If you were to walk away from the toxic relationship, the world would not end. But it will be very difficult, and you’ll have a lot of soul-searching to do. Personally, I had to reexamine everything I understood to be true.
About the book: Do you find yourself giving all you’ve got and people still want more? Do you sometimes do without what you want or need in order to keep the people around you happy? Are you afraid to deal with confrontation and do you often find it easier to just go with the flow in order to keep the peace?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be a people pleaser. Many people pleasers are also very empathic people, who are especially attractive to toxic types who love to take advantage every chance they get.
In this book, you’ll learn how to stop feeling the need to make everyone else happy and start figuring out what makes you happy, personally, and really – not someone else’s idea of what’s supposed to make you happy,
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Do you accept yourself for who you are, or are you the type of person who doesn’t feel comfortable in their own skin?
Does it kind of feel like you’re always in self-improvement mode? Like you are always trying to be someone else?
Feeling comfortable and accepting yourself is important if you want to lead a fulfilling and happy life. More than that, if you constantly focus on what’s wrong with you, you’re definitely going to find more things to complain about.
Try loving yourself instead – that makes it much easier to be happy as well as to manifest the good things you want in your life.
Here’s the thing – you might be ready to quit reading this post about now, ready to chalk me up to being another one of those quacks. But hold up! Not so fast.
It can happen. You can learn to make things go your way. And it all starts with one simple thing: the ability to fall madly in love with your very own self. No joke.
I promise you, you’ve got to love yourself before anything is ever going to change in your life. You might have to fake it a little at first. That’s okay. Just do it – because it’s totally worth your effort.
Ready to start changing your life?
Let’s take a look at how you can learn to know and love yourself like never before.
Self-Assessment: What Do I Want?
Start by reading over the following questions. Take a few minutes to jot down the answers in a notebook or document.
Who is the person that you want to become? Describe the ideal you in detail.
What are the things that you really care about?
Is there anything or anyone who you may lose if you start to live the life you truly want?
What one step can you take today to get closer to becoming the best possible version of yourself?
Write your answers out in detail. This way you have a full description of the person you want to become and why.
What to Expect When You’re Accepting (Yourself)
During this journey you also need to understand and accept that nobody is perfect – and that means all of us. We’ve all got our faults, and we’ve all gotta learn to live with them.
So, now that you’ve made the decision, it’s time. You’re finally ready to begin living your life the way you want to, and the way you deserve to!
Learn to Love Yourself
Sure, it sounds like it’s easier said than done, but what would the world be like for you if you were totally, madly, head-over-heels in love with yourself?
Maybe there are parts of yourself that you are extremely happy with, and of course, there might also be those that you hate.
Love Your Quirks
You have to stop hating on yourself and get busy changing your perception.
If you have habits that can be changed, great! That means you’ve got a place to start.
If you just have quirks, they’re just part of your personality. They identify what is unique about you, as a person. You need to accept and love your quirks!
I always say they’re just part of my charm.
In daily practice, the best place to start is to do the things that you can do – and to focus on the things that really make you feel awesome. Those are also the things that kind of show the world who you really are.
So if you’re itching to speak on something – then speak on! Never let the approval or disapproval of others stand in the way of your speaking your mind. You’ve got to be true to yourself if you’re ever going to be really happy.
Each night before you go to bed, ask yourself the following questions.
Was I the best possible version of myself today?
Did I make the right choices?
What could I have done better?
What was the brightest moment of my day?
What is the perfect vision of my perfect tomorrow.
Fall asleep with your perfect tomorrow in your mind’s eye. It’ll help you to begin to manifest the life you really want, because you’ll be drawing that beautiful, positive energy toward yourself.
Remember to be brave – don’t let fear prevent you from speaking your truth or doing what you need to do to be happy.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be rude about it – and you should always speak in love, whenever possible. Hate doesn’t foster the kind of change any of us really want.
Like I said, you might have to fake the whole “OMG I’M SO IN LOVE WITH MYSELF!!” thing for a minute – and that’s okay. Because once you master the art of “faking it,” you’ll be on the way to MAKING IT.
Maybe you won’t do the whole screaming it to yourself thing, either. But you’ve got to find a way to realize that YOU are a person who is worth that kind of love, and you’ve got to give it to yourself before you can get it or give it to anyone else.
I promise you, it won’t be boring, and it’ll be worth it when you see your life begin to resemble the one you really want. Don’t you think?
Where do you go when you don’t feel like you’re going anywhere in your trip to being a healthier, smaller version of yourself? What happens to you at that moment in time where you’ve tried (what seems like) everything and nothing is working? Where does your mind and body take you when you’re stuck?
This is always a risky area for me. I would say for a solid eighty percent of my time I am on autopilot. To quote my pal Carolyn, “It’s just what we do now”, meaning going to the gym, eating properly, not binging, not freaking out about every little inconsistency or speed bump in the path, is our new “norm”. It’s just what we do. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The other twenty percent of my time is split between the extremes.
Fifteen percent of that time is spent ‘dorphined up, feeling like I’m taking on the world and conquering it bit by bit. Nothing bothers me. Nothing could stand in my way. I have a great attitude and hold my head up high.
In steps that pesky last five percent of my time, which is where I’ve been feeling for the past week. That last five percent is the part that says “you cannot win this game no matter what you do”. I’m living on “screw it” street in my little village and it’s such a dodgy area. There’s bums on the corners… big bums who haven’t seen a Stairmaster in years. There are seedy people in the shadows just lurking about waiting for you to trip up so they can dart out and rummage through your bag, stealing your hidden snack. The street pharmacists are on the corners handing out your drug of choice, be it cheesecake, chips or chocolate. Or worse yet, a cocktail of all three.
So where do you go? What do you do? Who do you turn to?
My first line of defense, and I didn’t even realize it until I started writing today, is my husband, Marco. Today, these words actually left my face and entered his ears.
“I’ve been doing horrible with my food. I just feel like saying screw it all”.
Those words were actually audible. To another human besides myself. I really said that to him. That’s when I realized he’s always my first stop on the self-destruction train. I like to run my ideas of giving up past him first.
It’s actually laughable as I write it because of course I’m never going to stop but maybe I just need a break. A break from what?
I’d like to call my second line of defense to the stand – Carolyn. You’ll remember her from this post.
She’s who I turn to next. She’s going to read this, as I run most of my posts past her before publishing and she’ll have some brilliant encouraging words to say. Or a punch in the arm, you know, whatever she feels will work at the time. Never fail though, she’s walking the walk and talking the talk with me.
Keeping in mind that this is still only a mere five percent of my time, sometimes I realize my funk is a bit funkier than I like it to be and I pull out the big guns.
When I left Novarum, the center where I got help for my food issues, they had me write a list of things that just worked for me, mentally and physically. It seemed so silly at the time to write it all down, they were so fresh in my mind, but I did it. I tucked it away in a book and just keep it there.
That’s my “big guns”, a piece of paper with words of wisdom that I wrote myself.
“Following this routine makes me more calm about food choices.”
“I no longer hide my eating or have that shame that was associated with hiding and eating.”
“If one of my goals ends up backfiring, that’s okay. This is all just a huge experiment to find that best fit for my life, which will change and evolve as I do.”
That’s just a few of the items on that yellowing piece of paper that I use, third line of defense, to keep me centered.
It is so much more than words on paper though. It takes me back to the basics. Back to where I started winning this thing. Back to the really simple ideas of changing the way I thought about food, myself, myself with food, food with myself and all things related, which in the end, was everything.
I get back to the beginning of this chapter in my life and re-read it like a favorite book.
Then I keep on keeping on because that five percent, that little flash of time, has had its moment of glory and I know how to move on.
It wasn’t until I became a parent that I fully understood, and came to love that saying. Just knowing “it takes a village” made me feel like there was somebody, and possibly even several somebodies, out there on my side, rooting for me. It made me feel not so alone and not quite so worried that I was screwing up my own little human.
As a parent you need to select your village wisely. Take one wrong piece of advice from the village idiot and you’ll be getting the parental stink-eye from a lot of other folks out there.
I don’t feel “it takes a village” is relative to just parent’s though. It’s important to have a village of support when you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. I take my tribe selection seriously!
I carefully choose the people that I take advice from and who I let into my weight loss bubble. Funny my saying that since I blog about most of it publically, but that’s not what I really mean. When you talk openly about trying to lose weight or change your habits you get input, asked for or not, valued or not. People like to give advice and help. Mostly it’s with a pure heart and good intentions.
I will listen to a lot, from a variety of people, but I only actually take a few people’s advice to heart, adding them to my village. You know what I mean. We all have well intended friends and family who still think the cabbage soup diet is the way to go. Those people would be on the “smile and nod” list and only shown property on the outskirts of town. Whereas hearing what works from a friend who really understands the craziness that is my head, that advice gets filed in the “good stuff, remember that!” and lives nearby in the village of my mind.
Weeding out the village idiots from the village people () can be a tricky and sometimes uncomfortable job. It’s not like they walk around with “I give bad advice intentionally” on their foreheads and sometimes they’re people who you are close with, be it emotionally or in proximity.
I have had office mates who I’ve had to uncomfortably tell “I really appreciate your trying to help but I have a team of people I am working with and it really overwhelms me to receive so much advice. If you wouldn’t mind I’d like to just follow what I’m doing and not get any further input.”
Man, that conversation is a hard one to have. It’s not nice. It has potential to make them feel bad and then you feel bad and nobody wants to feel bad.
Putting yourself first is hard, but important. You and your village are truly vital to your success.
My mental neighborhood starts with the people at Novarum, a health center in the Netherlands. Although I graduated from their bi-weekly sessions over two years ago, I still consider them an integral part of my success thus far. I also know they are there, just a phone call away, should I feel myself sliding down a slippery slope into old habits.
Me and Carolyn prepared to spar
Down the road from Novarum lives my pal Carolyn. She just simply gets me. I have interaction with her almost daily and she understands my kind of crazy. And believe me, it’s a special kind of crazy. We all need that one friends that just gets it. On top of being my mental collaborator she’s my sparring partner and workout buddy.
Me and Hilary, my village grocer
My village grocer is Hilary. She’s studied food, is passionate about food and is vocal about food. She’s the delicate balance of information, as I need it and can handle it, and advice. What I love best about her though is that she is always respectful of my boundaries.
Cindy, one of my trainers & me – at the gun show
Living in their own quiet cul-de-sac are the trainers from my gym. They shout encouragement to me as I tear through my workout. We laugh together when they say “burpees” and I reply with “I hate you”. They intimidated the hell out of me when they first moved into the ‘hood but after giving them a chance I know they want me to succeed just as much as I want to be successful.
And the best part about my village is my own home. I have the biggest cheerleader kissing me hello and goodbye every day. My husband, Marco, is one of the most understanding, supportive people I’ve encountered throughout my life. He’s seen me struggle with every aspect of the health game, so he knows it’s difficult. He encourages me in a non-pushy way, which can be a delicate dance. He eats what I want to eat because he knows I’m trying to be healthier. He’s gotten on the exercise bandwagon with me when I didn’t have anybody to work out with and we enjoyed it together. He believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself. There is no better villager than that. Get one of those in your town as soon as you can.
Marco and me
What kind of neighbors make up your own mental village?