30 Nov How to cultivate a sense of unconditional self-worth
via TED Ideas by Adia Gooden
This post is part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from people in the TED community; browse through all the posts here.
I have struggled with feelings of unworthiness for as long as I can remember.
From the outside, my life looked pretty perfect when I was growing up. My parents had a happy marriage, they were supportive and they earned enough for us to be more than comfortable. I was mostly happy, but I also had a deep sense that something was wrong with me.
My most painful moments were at parties. When I went to Black parties, my friends made fun of me because I was rhythmically challenged and I couldn’t get my awkward middle-school body to mimic the latest dance moves.
Then, as the only Black girl at parties associated with my predominantly white school, I was never chosen to dance. I was never the object of anyone’s attention. I felt like I didn’t belong.
So, at around the age of 12, I decided that the way to cure these feelings of unworthiness was perfection. Simple, right? If I was just perfect, then I would fit in. I would be chosen. I would really be happy.
I threw myself into formal dance classes, worked hard in school and tried to be a supportive and selfless friend. My self-esteem was high when I got good grades and felt included — but it crashed when I didn’t do well academically or was left out.
I held on to the hope that if I could just find someone to love me, then I would finally feel worthy.
In college, busyness became my key strategy for trying to feel worthy. I juggled classes and tutoring with the Black Student Union, student government, gospel choir, step team … I barely gave myself time to breathe, to think, to be.
After college, my attention turned to trying to find a relationship to feel the void. The anxiety and ups and downs I experienced in this quest were exhausting. I remember going out to bars and clubs, and just like in junior high, I was rarely the one chosen to dance. I began to question my attractiveness with my brown skin and kinky hair and whether I’d ever be accepted by a potential partner. I held on to the hope that if I could just find someone to love me, then I would finally feel worthy.
I’ll let you in on a secret: None of it worked!
… so what did work? Keep reading the full & original article HERE
#happiness #happy #happier #selfworth #selfcare