Everyone will at some point suffer from bouts of low self-esteem. We feel it now and then as we make our way through school, relationships and careers. Even people who did not face adversity in childhood experience occasional low self-esteem and need to remind themselves that they are good enough.
However, in the lives of people who experienced adversities in childhood, feeling WORTHLESS is a constant theme and can last long into adulthood. Here, we explore the cognitive reasons behind why we may develop a sense of worthlessness.
One of our weaknesses as a species is that when we establish our self-concept as children, it tends to stay with us
When we understand how the lie of WORTHLESSNESS gets wired into our brain in childhood, it can help us de-personalize what is a very personal angst. This makes it easier to unlearn the LIE and embrace a new TRUTH.
“The cognitive belief system is the result of all the information we’ve collected from the world around us,” says brain expert David Sousa. “It’s our belief of how the world works and where we fit in it. Of course, [even as adults] people who have grown up in a violent home form a different view of how the world works than people who grew up in loving homes. One of our weaknesses as a species is that when we establish our self-concept as children, it tends to stay with us.”
Fortunately, while Sousa’s words are true in general, they do not have to be true for you. A LIE can only stay with us for as long as we choose to believe it. And as you see this LIE in a new light, you’ll also see the real TRUTH hidden behind it and within you: That you already have and are capable of accomplishing extraordinary things. That you’re in fact not WORTHLESS but ACCOMPLISHED, not in spite of your experience in childhood, but because of it. How can this be? Because overcoming a childhood adversity, surviving an experience at a time when your brain was not even fully developed that most will never have to face or overcome in their entire life, you’re already more ACCOMPLISHED than most.
Please share in the comments below if you ever felt WORTHLESS as a child or struggled with this LIE in adulthood. Do you remember any instances that may have created or reinforced this LIES? Thank you for sharing.
A detailed overview of the WORTHLESS Lie can be found in CHAPTER 7 (“Worthless to Accomplished”) of INVINCIBLE: The 10 Lies You Learn Growing Up With Domestic Violence, and the Truths to Set You Free.