Think back over your life to your greatest moments of pride and joy. Maybe it is a new job, graduation, the highest scorer on your basketball team, a new relationship or child. Those are universally great experiences and pride and joy often accompany them. But what if I were to tell you that Shame can use those experiences against you?
In our American culture. achievement and success are huge parts of how we identify ourselves. It starts from a young age when we are praised for doing something good, “great job cleaning up your room, honey.” Or “Let’s go out to dinner to celebrate your straight A’s.”
We have long been rewarded for hitting those markers in life, and while positive praise in those moments is not wrong, it can be dangerous. Shame can easily trick us into thinking our worth and value come from those markers, those moments of achievement and success.
But what if they don’t come? What if you don’t get straight A’s despite the hard work you put in? What if your relationship fails? What if you have to file for bankruptcy? If our worth is tied to these outside factors, it could all come crashing down at any second.
A great way to combat this is to focus also on our intrinsic value and self-worth. Intrinsic value is the innate value we possess just in being who we are, rather than from our status in life or what we possess. In simple terms: YOU ARE WORTHY AND NOTHING CAN TAKE THAT AWAY.
In my personal and professional practice, I encourage the use of affirmations as a tool to begin celebrating and honoring our innate worth. One of my favorites is “I am worthy simply because I breathe.” Another is “I have a unique and valuable perspective to bring to the world” or “Everyone deserves love and belonging, and that includes me.”
My challenge to you is to come up with 5 affirmations that you can begin to say daily to honor your innate worth and value. And a step further, if you are ready, begin to speak that honor and truth to those around you.