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

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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@hopeful33250 This bag theory is something I've never heard of before in my cognitive behavior therapy but will mention it to my therapist. It does make sense to me. My take is this I don't have the skills to fill the grocery bag but have the negative experiences. What does one do with that "unbalance" in life. Lately I've been thinking that I need to work with a therapist who deals with trauma to get past it and into a better 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.

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I have carried that bag around all my life. The comment about negative feedback hit home. It sends to be that the bag is full of those negative comments and I add to them always. The positive things don't necessarily fit in the bag. Lately I've been doing better but seeing back and forth. What helps is many long years of therapy, the energy healer, plus self compassion meditation that I'm learning. I'm at odds with one of my children which is agribusiness the problem. The comments on this site helps. Too

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@junkartist Yes you explain it perfectly when you say the bag is full of negative stuff leaving no room for positive stuff to stay. This bag is too darn heavy. Thanks for sharing your input.

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Be persistent at putting off the neg and make your focus kindness love, understanding, it's worth it, I remember clearly the day I decided I was going t focus on the better and stop w the negitive yrs ago. The negatives are triggers that are easy t fall into,. The triggers are a signal to stop and find a different way , it's a battle for the mind and your future.

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@grammad

Be persistent at putting off the neg and make your focus kindness love, understanding, it's worth it, I remember clearly the day I decided I was going t focus on the better and stop w the negitive yrs ago. The negatives are triggers that are easy t fall into,. The triggers are a signal to stop and find a different way , it's a battle for the mind and your future.

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Grammad Hello Amen to this. Sometimes I get scared that my boyfriend might hurt me cause I asked him to separate. He seems ok with it but my PTSD comes out. I start hiding things that I do not want to be broken when he leaves. I get all these scary feelings for no reason. I learned about COdependency. I am in some good groups. By the way, I have protection all over my home too. I guess my PTSD from the past is coming out. People know not to mess with me too much.

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@grammad

Be persistent at putting off the neg and make your focus kindness love, understanding, it's worth it, I remember clearly the day I decided I was going t focus on the better and stop w the negitive yrs ago. The negatives are triggers that are easy t fall into,. The triggers are a signal to stop and find a different way , it's a battle for the mind and your future.

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Good reminder

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@grammad

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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awesome in my book!

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@catcatanzaro60

Grammad Hello Amen to this. Sometimes I get scared that my boyfriend might hurt me cause I asked him to separate. He seems ok with it but my PTSD comes out. I start hiding things that I do not want to be broken when he leaves. I get all these scary feelings for no reason. I learned about COdependency. I am in some good groups. By the way, I have protection all over my home too. I guess my PTSD from the past is coming out. People know not to mess with me too much.

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Please take care

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@junkartist

I have carried that bag around all my life. The comment about negative feedback hit home. It sends to be that the bag is full of those negative comments and I add to them always. The positive things don't necessarily fit in the bag. Lately I've been doing better but seeing back and forth. What helps is many long years of therapy, the energy healer, plus self compassion meditation that I'm learning. I'm at odds with one of my children which is agribusiness the problem. The comments on this site helps. Too

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@junkartist I think we need to stop and peer into those bags once in a while, and clean them out, deal with the negative comments however we need to, even condensing them if we don't want to toss them away right then. Reallocate what we want to keep in that bag, and make room for the positive.

@marjou I wonder if we do that, lightening the bag, and making room for the positive, it will help us? The positive is so much lighter!
Ginger

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@hopeful33250 and others, I was thinking about this discussion and I saw an article in my Mayo Clinic newsletter email this morning that I thought was quite good and others might get some benefit from it also.

Self-esteem check: Too low or just right? : https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/self-esteem/art-20047976

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Hi @johnbishop,

That was a great article!! I especially appreciated the opening paragraph about factors that affect our self-esteem (or the way we see ourselves). Here is a copy of that section:

Self-esteem begins to form in early childhood. Factors that can influence self-esteem include:

"Your thoughts and perceptions; How other people react to you; Experiences at home, school, work and in the community; Illness, disability or injury; Age
Role and status in society; Media messages; Relationships with those close to you — parents, siblings, peers, teachers and other important contacts — are important to your self-esteem. Many beliefs you hold about yourself today reflect messages you've received from these people over time.

If your relationships are strong and you receive generally positive feedback, you're more likely to see yourself as worthwhile and have healthier self-esteem. If you receive mostly negative feedback and are often criticized, teased or devalued by others, you're more likely to struggle with poor self-esteem.

But past experiences and relationships don't have to be your destiny. Your own thoughts have perhaps the biggest impact on self-esteem — and these thoughts are within your control. If you tend to focus on your weaknesses or flaws, working on changing that can help you develop a more balanced, accurate view of yourself."

This represents the "bag" that we carry into our adult life. Taking out the garbage and making room for new thoughts/feelings is the work of an adult trying to develop healthy self-esteem!

I would enjoy hearing from others in this discussion group as to what has influenced your self-esteem both for the good and the bad? If you had poor parenting as a child, what are you doing to re-parent yourself as an adult?

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@hopeful33250

Hi @johnbishop,

That was a great article!! I especially appreciated the opening paragraph about factors that affect our self-esteem (or the way we see ourselves). Here is a copy of that section:

Self-esteem begins to form in early childhood. Factors that can influence self-esteem include:

"Your thoughts and perceptions; How other people react to you; Experiences at home, school, work and in the community; Illness, disability or injury; Age
Role and status in society; Media messages; Relationships with those close to you — parents, siblings, peers, teachers and other important contacts — are important to your self-esteem. Many beliefs you hold about yourself today reflect messages you've received from these people over time.

If your relationships are strong and you receive generally positive feedback, you're more likely to see yourself as worthwhile and have healthier self-esteem. If you receive mostly negative feedback and are often criticized, teased or devalued by others, you're more likely to struggle with poor self-esteem.

But past experiences and relationships don't have to be your destiny. Your own thoughts have perhaps the biggest impact on self-esteem — and these thoughts are within your control. If you tend to focus on your weaknesses or flaws, working on changing that can help you develop a more balanced, accurate view of yourself."

This represents the "bag" that we carry into our adult life. Taking out the garbage and making room for new thoughts/feelings is the work of an adult trying to develop healthy self-esteem!

I would enjoy hearing from others in this discussion group as to what has influenced your self-esteem both for the good and the bad? If you had poor parenting as a child, what are you doing to re-parent yourself as an adult?

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@hopeful33250, @johnbishop– Being the oldest of five I have always read that helped a lot with self esteem. In my situation I have always felt that to be very true. Not that I felt I received special treatment, but being the 1st seems to always have given me a healthy outlook. Years later as all us siblings would often gather for holidays, etc. I started hearing stories from my siblings that were so very different than my recolections? For awhile I would think "Oh that must have happened when I had left for college", but then be told, no, that was when you were barely a teenager? It was as if I lived in another world!
I have always felt loved by my parents, but never to the point of unfairness.
I enjoyed doing jobs around the house whether it was keeping a clean room to helping with lawn cutting, leave raking, snow shoveling, etc. I took pride in doing a good job and was not seeking praise (although it was always nice to hear that I did a nice job).
So many of our friends years later couldn't believe that we as siblings would often vacation together and then it happened. The 1st divorce , then another and then my youngest brother who had really done well in his career got divorced and it relly split up us siblings. There were taking sides, etc. Now sadly we rarely speak. Such a shame!!
Fast forward to retirement for me. I had owned my own contracting business for over 40 years. Contact with clients and subs and running crews for me was always (mostly) very enjoyable.
I always remember my dad telling me to work on my hobbies so when I retire I have things to fall back on. That was not a problem in that I had many, but the one thing I never really thought of was how important all those interactions I would have every day played such a big part of who I am. Many of those interactions are gone now and I have realized how important they were in my life.
Fortunately we have 3 very close couple friends that we've known for about 40 years. We all met in a young marrieds class at the church we were going to at that time. Now we seem to have found different churches, but have continud to get together weekly for bible study, dinner outings and often vacations.
I feel very blessed, but am always reaching out to my siblings hoping we can restablish our friendships once again.
I'm determined to continue to write them often whether I ever hear from them.
Perhaps one day I will be surprised!
Jim @thankful

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@thankful

@hopeful33250, @johnbishop– Being the oldest of five I have always read that helped a lot with self esteem. In my situation I have always felt that to be very true. Not that I felt I received special treatment, but being the 1st seems to always have given me a healthy outlook. Years later as all us siblings would often gather for holidays, etc. I started hearing stories from my siblings that were so very different than my recolections? For awhile I would think "Oh that must have happened when I had left for college", but then be told, no, that was when you were barely a teenager? It was as if I lived in another world!
I have always felt loved by my parents, but never to the point of unfairness.
I enjoyed doing jobs around the house whether it was keeping a clean room to helping with lawn cutting, leave raking, snow shoveling, etc. I took pride in doing a good job and was not seeking praise (although it was always nice to hear that I did a nice job).
So many of our friends years later couldn't believe that we as siblings would often vacation together and then it happened. The 1st divorce , then another and then my youngest brother who had really done well in his career got divorced and it relly split up us siblings. There were taking sides, etc. Now sadly we rarely speak. Such a shame!!
Fast forward to retirement for me. I had owned my own contracting business for over 40 years. Contact with clients and subs and running crews for me was always (mostly) very enjoyable.
I always remember my dad telling me to work on my hobbies so when I retire I have things to fall back on. That was not a problem in that I had many, but the one thing I never really thought of was how important all those interactions I would have every day played such a big part of who I am. Many of those interactions are gone now and I have realized how important they were in my life.
Fortunately we have 3 very close couple friends that we've known for about 40 years. We all met in a young marrieds class at the church we were going to at that time. Now we seem to have found different churches, but have continud to get together weekly for bible study, dinner outings and often vacations.
I feel very blessed, but am always reaching out to my siblings hoping we can restablish our friendships once again.
I'm determined to continue to write them often whether I ever hear from them.
Perhaps one day I will be surprised!
Jim @thankful

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Hi Jim @thankful, I'm thankful that you shared your story with Connect! I learned a lot about adjusting to changing circumstances within the family. You've done a great job in developing relationships outside of your family for support and friendships and yet you've kept your family in the back of your mind and desired to have a relationship with them. This shows a very balanced perspective to a rather sensitive issue.

I'm just wondering (and only share this as you feel comfortable doing so) if there are any of your siblings that you think might be open to reconciliation down the road?

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@hopeful33250

Hi Jim @thankful, I'm thankful that you shared your story with Connect! I learned a lot about adjusting to changing circumstances within the family. You've done a great job in developing relationships outside of your family for support and friendships and yet you've kept your family in the back of your mind and desired to have a relationship with them. This shows a very balanced perspective to a rather sensitive issue.

I'm just wondering (and only share this as you feel comfortable doing so) if there are any of your siblings that you think might be open to reconciliation down the road?

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@hopeful33250– I never give up hope on that! My brother who is the next oldest & I have a decent relationship and do talk or text frequently. He has decided to stay out of all of this and is very content with his own life and seems to not care about relationships with his siblings? For me the toughest part of all this is that my mom, who turns 90 this October and lives by herself about 2 hrs. from where I live is in the middle of all this. She is a peacemaker and try's to look on the bright side, but I know all this makes her weary.
We FaceTime nearly every other day especially during this virus and we have gone to see her and stay for 2 days on 2 occasions being very sensitive to somewhat distincing. We just spent last weekend with her and had a fantastic time together. She is in relatively good health and my wife & I decided to treat her to meals she often would never make herself, but that she loves.
Homemade pizza one night and grilled burgers the next. Yum!!
As I said I never will give up on rebuilding relationships with my siblings. I text them on occasion and always wish them Happy Birthday's or greetings on other holidays, etc. It is rare that I receive a response, but that is OK. I'm committed to continue.
Jim @thankful

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@thankful

@hopeful33250– I never give up hope on that! My brother who is the next oldest & I have a decent relationship and do talk or text frequently. He has decided to stay out of all of this and is very content with his own life and seems to not care about relationships with his siblings? For me the toughest part of all this is that my mom, who turns 90 this October and lives by herself about 2 hrs. from where I live is in the middle of all this. She is a peacemaker and try's to look on the bright side, but I know all this makes her weary.
We FaceTime nearly every other day especially during this virus and we have gone to see her and stay for 2 days on 2 occasions being very sensitive to somewhat distincing. We just spent last weekend with her and had a fantastic time together. She is in relatively good health and my wife & I decided to treat her to meals she often would never make herself, but that she loves.
Homemade pizza one night and grilled burgers the next. Yum!!
As I said I never will give up on rebuilding relationships with my siblings. I text them on occasion and always wish them Happy Birthday's or greetings on other holidays, etc. It is rare that I receive a response, but that is OK. I'm committed to continue.
Jim @thankful

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How wonderful for you Jim! I have 4 siblings and sad to say act like we came from different parents all because I moved away at 18 yrs as survival from abusive home. I do text for birthdays and to try and keep in touch with nieces and nephews, but some since those relationships were not encouraged I still struggle with the loss. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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