What does it take to moving from low self-esteem - to self acceptance

Posted by caroleeuits @caroleeuits, Jun 2 3:44pm

I was asked to talk about what self acceptance was to me on these pages – and I responded – see earlier posts in late May.

But what I want to also do is to hear is from youall and your journeying toward self-acceptance. I find that my own coming to self-acceptance is my own story – but what about yours?

What are the common threads that you have found within you that appeared and grew? What maked them grow – and what has thus happened through you – and those of others around you by their engagement with you? This is more about that internal process of becoming who you are now.

I see a lot of people read books – but I am guessing while they are valuable resources, your own life-quests tell more incredible journeys of how all the influences upon you have mattered. What is your journey to self-acceptance? Hangups? Ahaas? And finally, what are your-self discovered deep truths that empower your self-acceptance at the point you now are ?

girl-holds-world

@hopeful33250

All of you have responded in a very thoughtful, insightful manner. If I could, I would like to approach this from another angle.

Let's look at each person who becomes an adult as though they are carrying around a paper grocery bag. If they had positive childhood experiences such as loving, encouraging supporting family, and acceptance for who they are then their bag is filled with good things and they are mostly content with the world.

Let's look at another adult who comes into adulthood from an unloving background. Perhaps they were abused, neglected, were given negative feedback about themselves and their behavior, had siblings who were favored over them. That person goes into adulthood with a near-empty bag. They constantly look to others to fill their empty bags. If someone fails to fill their bag (with the good things that they missed in childhood or worse yet add more bad garbage to their bag) they become devasted.

This example is not my own but from an excellent therapist.

Can anyone (besides me) relate to this "bag theory" of adulthood? Are we all, to some extent, looking for someone to fill our bag? Share your thoughts.

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This is a very thoughtful piece of how we think of ourselves. It offered insight into our behavior and self-esteem (or lack of).

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@0616

This is a very thoughtful piece of how we think of ourselves. It offered insight into our behavior and self-esteem (or lack of).

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Anything in particular that you related to, @0616?

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@hopeful33250 Oh yes, that is a great way to think of it! I was raised in a loving Christian family. The only down thing was my mom was Bipolor 1 or as they called it in those days manic depressive. She was ill off and on and when my dad was down milking the cows one night while we waited for him to eat supper, she did say she wanted to go down to the barn and hang herself. I was still in elementary school. Usually she would play games with me. There would be times she would be in bed for days. But, my dad was always there and I stuck with him a lot. It was hard to see her being taken to the hospital, she would fight it.

Anyway, I still feel I grew up in a loving home and remember her rocking me etc. Her death ,when I was 35 was the same way she said it would be. But and I like to say but, I still feel my bag is full. The only other thing that got me down was my older sister's first husband he did take advantage of me while I was staying with them. more than one time. My sister is 12 years older than me and did divorce him. But Yet, I love that word BUT today it doesn't seem to influence my life at all. He's is a pedofile (SP) It's him who is going to suffer. My bag was pretty low until I met the one I loved and married at age 18. But again, he died in a car accident after we were only married for 11 days with another good friend. So, my bag got pretty low. BUT I have survived!! My bag is full.

I'm leaving for Mayo tomorrow and very excited and anxious to get this over with. My faith will uphold me and I will be fine, BUT again I will miss all of you while I'm gone and not sure how I will feel when I get home. I will check for posts, but may not be able to respond. They will have me on a lot of medicine. I love you all and wish all of you the best and that your bag is full, but I know that some of you suffered. Blessing and prayers to all of you. Jeanie
Thank you Teresa your bag thing was a great idea.

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Two things in this discussion are familiar for me.

1. My "bag," which for me was much larger than a grocery bag, and was more like Santa's bag.
2. Maintaining my self-esteem in light of what feels like rejection or judgement of another person/people I know.

1. Starting with my bag of messages from childhood; most of the messages I received from my childhood were negative. I talked too much, asked too many questions, was hit, slapped and pushed by my mom, told I was clumsy and uncoordinated, not good at sports, was repulsive and was lazy because I wasn't working up to my potential. Those are a few of the messages I had in my bag. There were a few positive things that I heard from teachers; I was very smart, creative, talented actor, a poet, pretty, funny, sweet–which was eventually seen by me as a negative.

Beginning around 26 years of age, I learned from a therapist about my "bag" that was weighing me down. Through therapy/counseling over the next few years I began removing old messages from my bag, examining how each had affected my life, and determining if there was any value in keeping it. As I searched, I threw most of my old negative stuff from my bag and began creating a positive self image based on the positive feedback from teachers and new feedback from friends. This experience helped me to let go of my low self-esteem and accept that I am in fact smart, creative, a good writer, pretty, funny, sweet, powerful, assertive, opinionated, an excellent speaker, etc.

It was very important for me (and probably each of us) to examine my "bag" and the messages I was given as a child, and throw out the negative things. I think we are responsible for building our own self-esteem as we become adults. It's not easy, and it requires courage to go into that scary bag, so it's best done with a counselor to help you through the process. I no longer find scary any emotions or feelings I have.

2. When I have the experience of apparently being rejected or judged, I have found that talking with the person to be helpful. When given the choice of "fight or flight," I will nearly always choose "fight". Not literally, but in the sense of trying to understand what's going on. So, I would say to my neighbor something like this: "I noticed that you didn't respond to me when I said Good morning just now. Is everything OK? Are you feeling well? Is there anything we need to talk about now or later?"

I attempt to make contact and talk, or set up a better time to have a conversation. This lets the other person know that I'm there for them, and I'm willing to hear if they have a problem with something I've done or said. Usually it has nothing to do with me, since I'm not the center of the universe for them. Doing this helps remind me that others have problems that don't include me. My self-esteem stays intact and they know they can talk to me.

I sometimes don't take things personally that I really need to.

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@lilypaws

@hopeful33250 Oh yes, that is a great way to think of it! I was raised in a loving Christian family. The only down thing was my mom was Bipolor 1 or as they called it in those days manic depressive. She was ill off and on and when my dad was down milking the cows one night while we waited for him to eat supper, she did say she wanted to go down to the barn and hang herself. I was still in elementary school. Usually she would play games with me. There would be times she would be in bed for days. But, my dad was always there and I stuck with him a lot. It was hard to see her being taken to the hospital, she would fight it.

Anyway, I still feel I grew up in a loving home and remember her rocking me etc. Her death ,when I was 35 was the same way she said it would be. But and I like to say but, I still feel my bag is full. The only other thing that got me down was my older sister's first husband he did take advantage of me while I was staying with them. more than one time. My sister is 12 years older than me and did divorce him. But Yet, I love that word BUT today it doesn't seem to influence my life at all. He's is a pedofile (SP) It's him who is going to suffer. My bag was pretty low until I met the one I loved and married at age 18. But again, he died in a car accident after we were only married for 11 days with another good friend. So, my bag got pretty low. BUT I have survived!! My bag is full.

I'm leaving for Mayo tomorrow and very excited and anxious to get this over with. My faith will uphold me and I will be fine, BUT again I will miss all of you while I'm gone and not sure how I will feel when I get home. I will check for posts, but may not be able to respond. They will have me on a lot of medicine. I love you all and wish all of you the best and that your bag is full, but I know that some of you suffered. Blessing and prayers to all of you. Jeanie
Thank you Teresa your bag thing was a great idea.

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God bless and good luck!

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Thank you @gailb and @lilypaws for sharing your "bags" with us.

My story is similar with a mixed bag for sure. As was inferred by these posts, we periodically need to go through those bags that we carry around with us and take a look at what it's inside. By doing this, we can be sure to throw out the garbage (bit by bit as we become aware of it) and keep the good stuff. As mentioned, working with a therapist is the best way to do this.

This process of sorting through our bag and keeping the good stuff and tossing the negative/abusive stuff is my way to re-parent me. Does anyone else feel this way?

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@lilypaws

@hopeful33250 Oh yes, that is a great way to think of it! I was raised in a loving Christian family. The only down thing was my mom was Bipolor 1 or as they called it in those days manic depressive. She was ill off and on and when my dad was down milking the cows one night while we waited for him to eat supper, she did say she wanted to go down to the barn and hang herself. I was still in elementary school. Usually she would play games with me. There would be times she would be in bed for days. But, my dad was always there and I stuck with him a lot. It was hard to see her being taken to the hospital, she would fight it.

Anyway, I still feel I grew up in a loving home and remember her rocking me etc. Her death ,when I was 35 was the same way she said it would be. But and I like to say but, I still feel my bag is full. The only other thing that got me down was my older sister's first husband he did take advantage of me while I was staying with them. more than one time. My sister is 12 years older than me and did divorce him. But Yet, I love that word BUT today it doesn't seem to influence my life at all. He's is a pedofile (SP) It's him who is going to suffer. My bag was pretty low until I met the one I loved and married at age 18. But again, he died in a car accident after we were only married for 11 days with another good friend. So, my bag got pretty low. BUT I have survived!! My bag is full.

I'm leaving for Mayo tomorrow and very excited and anxious to get this over with. My faith will uphold me and I will be fine, BUT again I will miss all of you while I'm gone and not sure how I will feel when I get home. I will check for posts, but may not be able to respond. They will have me on a lot of medicine. I love you all and wish all of you the best and that your bag is full, but I know that some of you suffered. Blessing and prayers to all of you. Jeanie
Thank you Teresa your bag thing was a great idea.

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God Bless and keep you… You sound so positive, Celia

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@lilypaws

@hopeful33250 Oh yes, that is a great way to think of it! I was raised in a loving Christian family. The only down thing was my mom was Bipolor 1 or as they called it in those days manic depressive. She was ill off and on and when my dad was down milking the cows one night while we waited for him to eat supper, she did say she wanted to go down to the barn and hang herself. I was still in elementary school. Usually she would play games with me. There would be times she would be in bed for days. But, my dad was always there and I stuck with him a lot. It was hard to see her being taken to the hospital, she would fight it.

Anyway, I still feel I grew up in a loving home and remember her rocking me etc. Her death ,when I was 35 was the same way she said it would be. But and I like to say but, I still feel my bag is full. The only other thing that got me down was my older sister's first husband he did take advantage of me while I was staying with them. more than one time. My sister is 12 years older than me and did divorce him. But Yet, I love that word BUT today it doesn't seem to influence my life at all. He's is a pedofile (SP) It's him who is going to suffer. My bag was pretty low until I met the one I loved and married at age 18. But again, he died in a car accident after we were only married for 11 days with another good friend. So, my bag got pretty low. BUT I have survived!! My bag is full.

I'm leaving for Mayo tomorrow and very excited and anxious to get this over with. My faith will uphold me and I will be fine, BUT again I will miss all of you while I'm gone and not sure how I will feel when I get home. I will check for posts, but may not be able to respond. They will have me on a lot of medicine. I love you all and wish all of you the best and that your bag is full, but I know that some of you suffered. Blessing and prayers to all of you. Jeanie
Thank you Teresa your bag thing was a great idea.

Jump to this post

@lilypaws
I hope your trip to Mayo and your surgery go well. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. When is your surgery? Prayers and hugs for you.

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@gailb

Two things in this discussion are familiar for me.

1. My "bag," which for me was much larger than a grocery bag, and was more like Santa's bag.
2. Maintaining my self-esteem in light of what feels like rejection or judgement of another person/people I know.

1. Starting with my bag of messages from childhood; most of the messages I received from my childhood were negative. I talked too much, asked too many questions, was hit, slapped and pushed by my mom, told I was clumsy and uncoordinated, not good at sports, was repulsive and was lazy because I wasn't working up to my potential. Those are a few of the messages I had in my bag. There were a few positive things that I heard from teachers; I was very smart, creative, talented actor, a poet, pretty, funny, sweet–which was eventually seen by me as a negative.

Beginning around 26 years of age, I learned from a therapist about my "bag" that was weighing me down. Through therapy/counseling over the next few years I began removing old messages from my bag, examining how each had affected my life, and determining if there was any value in keeping it. As I searched, I threw most of my old negative stuff from my bag and began creating a positive self image based on the positive feedback from teachers and new feedback from friends. This experience helped me to let go of my low self-esteem and accept that I am in fact smart, creative, a good writer, pretty, funny, sweet, powerful, assertive, opinionated, an excellent speaker, etc.

It was very important for me (and probably each of us) to examine my "bag" and the messages I was given as a child, and throw out the negative things. I think we are responsible for building our own self-esteem as we become adults. It's not easy, and it requires courage to go into that scary bag, so it's best done with a counselor to help you through the process. I no longer find scary any emotions or feelings I have.

2. When I have the experience of apparently being rejected or judged, I have found that talking with the person to be helpful. When given the choice of "fight or flight," I will nearly always choose "fight". Not literally, but in the sense of trying to understand what's going on. So, I would say to my neighbor something like this: "I noticed that you didn't respond to me when I said Good morning just now. Is everything OK? Are you feeling well? Is there anything we need to talk about now or later?"

I attempt to make contact and talk, or set up a better time to have a conversation. This lets the other person know that I'm there for them, and I'm willing to hear if they have a problem with something I've done or said. Usually it has nothing to do with me, since I'm not the center of the universe for them. Doing this helps remind me that others have problems that don't include me. My self-esteem stays intact and they know they can talk to me.

I sometimes don't take things personally that I really need to.

Jump to this post

Maintaining my self-esteem could only happen when I had it. Growing up, I had a mother who encouraged it – and a father who stomped it down, every chance he had. "You're just like your mother." "You'll just get pregnant when you are dating" (Boy did that offend my ears as an avid Christian, even in my childhood."

But as I read my Bible, listened to the people at my church, and grew out of a religion I automatically "inherited" from my grandmother., I found too much in the Bible that told me I was of great worth indeed. Jesus died for me (and everyone else), I was no less than a "child of the King.". And more. Jesus, unlike his contemporaries, spoke "at par" with women. Look up "Jesus and the woman at the well," or check out how Jesus' friendship with Mary, Martha and their brother, Lazarus was warm, rich and full of honest give-and-take – Even though He was somehow God besides. If the God-man Jesus was that way with women, then my way with men had – and has parity. It is the, "God don't make no junk" reality found within the faith I still follow.

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@caroleeuits

Maintaining my self-esteem could only happen when I had it. Growing up, I had a mother who encouraged it – and a father who stomped it down, every chance he had. "You're just like your mother." "You'll just get pregnant when you are dating" (Boy did that offend my ears as an avid Christian, even in my childhood."

But as I read my Bible, listened to the people at my church, and grew out of a religion I automatically "inherited" from my grandmother., I found too much in the Bible that told me I was of great worth indeed. Jesus died for me (and everyone else), I was no less than a "child of the King.". And more. Jesus, unlike his contemporaries, spoke "at par" with women. Look up "Jesus and the woman at the well," or check out how Jesus' friendship with Mary, Martha and their brother, Lazarus was warm, rich and full of honest give-and-take – Even though He was somehow God besides. If the God-man Jesus was that way with women, then my way with men had – and has parity. It is the, "God don't make no junk" reality found within the faith I still follow.

Jump to this post

Knowing your identity, who you really are, who you were made to be makes all the difference. It gives a purpose to your life and a strength to the soul, during hard times you can stand strong in the truth of who you know your self to be and find peace when others disparage you. Knowing how t validate and affirm yourself thro God most high is healing t the soul.

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@0616

I'm so glad that we are addressing this topic of self-esteem. I try to have everyone like me. When someone rejects my friendship, I am saddened by their actions and wonder what is wrong with me. The other day while walking I greeted a neighbor with a "Good Morning"; she turned and walked away. Of course my day was completely ruined. I do have many friends and a loving family. Why does this particular action on the part of my neighbor bother me?

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We all want to be liked, but sometimes the other person's reaction to us is more about them and possibly what they're going through because we don't have all the facts or the whole picture.

Example, there's a man on subway with two children who from other passenger's perspective he doesn't have control of his children. What do you think of the man?

Same scenario as above but new information is that this man just came from hospital visiting his wife who has serious illness. Now what do you think of the man?

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Good topic and difficult to assess, but for me acceptance that depression is part of my life, character which no medication can control or make better. It has taken me to age 65 to come to this realization for my life. So next step is how do I manage some kind of acceptable life.

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@hopeful33250

All of you have responded in a very thoughtful, insightful manner. If I could, I would like to approach this from another angle.

Let's look at each person who becomes an adult as though they are carrying around a paper grocery bag. If they had positive childhood experiences such as loving, encouraging supporting family, and acceptance for who they are then their bag is filled with good things and they are mostly content with the world.

Let's look at another adult who comes into adulthood from an unloving background. Perhaps they were abused, neglected, were given negative feedback about themselves and their behavior, had siblings who were favored over them. That person goes into adulthood with a near-empty bag. They constantly look to others to fill their empty bags. If someone fails to fill their bag (with the good things that they missed in childhood or worse yet add more bad garbage to their bag) they become devasted.

This example is not my own but from an excellent therapist.

Can anyone (besides me) relate to this "bag theory" of adulthood? Are we all, to some extent, looking for someone to fill our bag? Share your thoughts.

Jump to this post

Wow! Never heard of this bag theory, but get it. So my question is what do those of us with empty bags do? Is this why maybe our people choices/selections (friends, boyfriends, relationships) is off/askew?

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@marjou

We all want to be liked, but sometimes the other person's reaction to us is more about them and possibly what they're going through because we don't have all the facts or the whole picture.

Example, there's a man on subway with two children who from other passenger's perspective he doesn't have control of his children. What do you think of the man?

Same scenario as above but new information is that this man just came from hospital visiting his wife who has serious illness. Now what do you think of the man?

Jump to this post

It's not our place to judge others or compare, this only leads to eitherpride or lowering ourself esteem. Choose to accept yourself as good enough for you, and know your are God's creation, let God be your validation and affirmation, Stop looking for affirmation thro others, and love yourself.

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@marjou

Wow! Never heard of this bag theory, but get it. So my question is what do those of us with empty bags do? Is this why maybe our people choices/selections (friends, boyfriends, relationships) is off/askew?

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Hi @marjou,

I suppose this bag theory could have an impact on who we pick for our closest relationships. So what do we do with these empty bags? I have found that cognitive behavior therapy worked well for me. David Burns wrote a lot of books/workbooks on this idea of changing our thoughts.

Has anyone worked with cognitive behavior therapy as a way of changing/filling the contents of our bags?

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