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“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” ~~E.E. Cummings
“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” ~~Eleanor Roosevelt
“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” ~~Golda Meir
#12 I am a competent woman, and I have much to give life.
This is what I am, and I shall know it always.
Unaware of negative internal dialogue, it was inevitable to feel less than or not enough. Add to this a laser-focused comparison to others, healthy self-esteem was not possible or even compatible. Alcohol compounded the doubt, insecurity, and fears, which led to extreme feelings of incompetence and worthlessness. Yet sobriety and Statement #12 in action lay a foundation for self-worth and ability to flourish.
Why is it easier to recognize competence in family, friends, or others, yet more difficult to embrace within ourselves? For women in recovery, it is important to embrace this quality within ourselves. In our WFS Program booklet it states “By releasing the baggage of self-denial about ourselves and our abilities, we can free ourselves from feelings of guilt, despair, and unworthiness. We are competent women, capable of great accomplishment, when we nurture a belief in ourselves. Begin each day with an unshakable belief in your own competency. First the thought, then the reality.”
Self-imaging and affirmations are two tools which can aid in practicing Statement #12. Self-imaging, the art of imagining who or where we would like to be, (either spoken or written in detail) along with daily affirmations can increase our acceptance of ourselves. Here are a few examples to begin with:
- I am a capable, competent, caring, and compassionate woman.
- I am enough and I am doing my best.
- I love myself and my body and treat myself with compassion.
- I am dedicated to taking small actions each day towards my goals.
What other affirmations will you add?
Hi 4C Women,
It took quite a while to erase, even quiet down the negative self-talk I had in my head for so many years. Comparison was my daily thought. Drinking seemed to be the answer to quiet those negative images of who I thought I was. Of course, that was definitely not true because the pain remained and my self-esteem remained damaged. Gladly, through WFS, I learned that the way to becoming the 4C woman I had sadly trapped with drinking to squash those painful feelings of unworthiness, was to unravel those false perceptions I bought into. I needed to unwrap the woman I was smothering with alcohol, to discover the woman I needed to be and could be with just changing the way I defined myself. In other words, I needed to rethink and behave my way through to the present truth. I realized I was trapped by old thinking, old messages that no longer held strength in the woman I was working so hard to release from the past. I understood that my beliefs were from others who were authority figures in my growing up years or loved ones who had their own baggage they unpacked and put in my suitcases. I also came to understand that it was me who kept those painful beliefs active and current into my adulthood. Any traumatic or unpleasant event only proved that everyone was right about me rather than accepting and knowing that life is full of hurtful moments and joyful ones as well. I realized I was focused only on the negative events. Statement #12 was one of the most difficult ones for me to process. Years of believing I was anything but incompetent seemed unnatural for me to embrace, to acknowledge both competency and having much to give life! However, being a persistent woman and determined to keep moving forward, I began to challenge how I defined myself. The first time our group had to list 50 positive terms to describe ourselves, I was stuck at 3 and that was a challenge all in itself. This was a big wake-up call. I even provided the group a list of positive characteristics to help in the process. Eventually, with hard work and confidence, I was able to list more than 3 words!
I have a paper dated 2015, on Self-Esteem and Substance Abuse as it related to Statement #12. There were some common characteristics of people with low self-esteem. The top one was negative self-talk, then frequently apologizing, focusing on “perceived” flaws and weaknesses, seeking constant reassurance from others and not feeling better even with positive feedback, refusing to accept compliments or denying positive comments you get, tending to be a perfectionist who’s afraid of failure. Fortunately, there were constructive ways to build self-esteem and I’d like to share them.
- Make lists, rereading them often and rewriting them from time to time (the exercise I described above). These lists can include your strengths, things you admire about yourself, i.e., healthy relationships/spirituality/emotional growth.
- Five greatest achievements/accomplishments in your life so far. (I took my driving test 3 times as a 16-year-old before I passed and in the past 13 years have driven to PA/NJ by myself. Now I consider that quite an accomplishment.)
- Things you can do to make yourself laugh.
- Things you could do to help someone else.
- Things that you do that make you feel good about yourself.
- Develop a personal positive affirmation. (This is so important. I use to look in the mirror every morning and tell myself that I was stupid, fat and ugly. When I think of that now, I cringe. The first time I looked in the mirror and said that I loved me, I knew I was on my way to building my self-esteem and that is my wish for each of you.)
Bonded in knowing you are unique and loved and deserving of loving yourself, Dee