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Okay, so the thought that I’m struggling with is:

“I am worthless”

I struggle with self-injury and in the past I cut the word “worthless” into my skin. Now, of course, I regret doing that. And I hate looking at that scar. But yet I can’t think of anything more true.

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You have never been worthless.

[i totally suck at CBT:p:p]

You have never been worthless.

You hurt.

At a very young age, I think our child mind tries so hard to make sense of things. Our brains reason that the problem is with us, and we start to say bad things to ourselves. It becomes such an ingrained habit, we don't question it, and accept that very young, very hurt-based reasoning as a TRUTH.

Somehow saying "I'm worthless" is preferred over getting in touch with the one inside who hurts. Back then we didn't know what to do with her, and no one was helping. In my case, no one would even look at her.

For me, I sort of learned to imagine looking into her face, like a loving adult would do for a hurting child. Making that contact, even in the imagination seemed to change the impulsive things she was saying out of hurt. Taking walks in nature helps too, because nature will always look into your inner child's face in a healing way....

[i know this isn't CBT--- I'll quit crashing yer thread now!!!!:P]

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Good morning Lie-Low,

There were many years there, I can't remember how many, possibly 18 or so, in which we (all of us in my family) were truly worthless, 2nd class citizens. Our own brutal dictatorship abused, tortured, beat, raped and took from us everything, including life. We then moved to the US and the Americans took even more from us-- here we were those "spics... greasers... wetbacks... illegals... etc." and as migrant workers, were frequent targets for roving bands of men in their pick-ups, who would chase us down to beat us with their sticks, bats, chains, boots and ropes.

And deep inside, deep within my soul came the idea that since we had suffered so much, we must not be human in it's totality, but subhuman, like other groups throughout history. I internalized my sense of worthlessness, for I was not blessed with "whiteness" or money, or a home (we lived in tents and bathed in man made canals), or clean clothes or a TV, phone, running water, electricity,.... well, the list of reasons seemed too long to regurgitate and only seemed to depress me even more, then.

I say these things not to have you feel pity or pain for me (these serve no purpose at this point), and certainly not to minimize your feelings of worthlessness (for I know all too well what that is like), but to raise an counterpoint point. Why do members of one particular species (Homo Sapiens) expend significant amounts of effort, time, emotional energy, resources and drive on this very bizarre, non-essential need to maximize self-worth? Why is there no value-judgment more important to us -- no factor more decisive in our psychological development and motivation -- than the estimate we pass on ourselves--- am I worthwhile or not! It is part and parcel of nearly every action we make, every thought, every response, every lens used to see the world and ourselves thru.

Humans, that species with rationality (?) seems to have the greatest, most developed and most difficult to maintain/sustain sense of self-worth, often going to extraordinary lengths in doing so (e.g., Evil Knievel, celibate monks, 9/11 terrorists, etc.).

Is it possible, Lie-Low, that self worth is a byproduct of something else, a sort of secondary emotion to something else? If you look at your self worth and say 'I am worthless!"-- are you saying that you are worthless because you truly are, or that you have deemed that you are b/c this is what you believe? If self worth is a byproduct of what we do and who we are in relation to the world, can it be changed if we did things that were worthwhile, at which point the sense of worth would follow worthwhile behavior? What do you think?

I think this is an important distinction since it may lead you to a different conclusion, or at least one grounded not in introspection but in something different.

Please write back, my hope is that we can help you think and feel your way thru this.


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This is an interesting thought that David has presented, Lie low. It really speaks to looking forward rather than dwelling on that which has already transpired. There is a way of being proactive today in building a sense of self-worth which is meaningful to oneself.

I think that human beings search for truths, values, and purpose and very often see the reflection of those beliefs within themselves. Maybe then, rather than seeing a self-image based on past events, life circumstances and pain, one should look at oneself for who one is today and who one may become tomorrow. I like that thought. What about you, Lie low? There are always new, different and positive ways to view and think about things. Try and keep your mind open to the possibilities. You might just surprise yourself.

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Wow.:) Thanks for the thoughtful replies. It was a lot so I had to take some time to think about it. But I’m still not sure. My feeling of worthlessness is the most strong when I have made a mistake. It could be something as small, (an usually is) as saying the wrong thing. Or binging on food. It becomes unbearable and words such as worthless are repeated in my head over and over. As a child I was called other names, but certainly never “worthless.” My lack of self-control and my failures make me so angry at myself. If I know that I should do, why can’t I just do it? It comes up a lot in relation to my eating disorder. Why do I eat too much when I know it is bad for me, and I will feel so guilty afterwards? I get so mad at myself. That’s when the name-calling starts.

And maybe learning to do things differently will help me feel less worthless. But as for how to control my behavior, I am at a loss for words. Still not sure just how I can do that. How much failure is acceptable, and how much guilt is excessive when it normally leads to self-punishment? Just yesterday I spent some time talking to a friend. She thanked me and told me that I helped her a lot. It was the first time anyone outside of my family has told me something like that. I was glad that I could help her. It made me feel better. This is first time in my life that I have any close friends. And it does make me feel more worthwhile.

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  • 2 years later...

Yes, its great to make an impact on other people isnt it?

And it fantastic feeling when you know you have made a positive difference in someones life.

Every baby is born with unconditional worth

they are entitled to exist

they are entitled to the worlds resources

they are worth something, not because they have done something, but just because they are there.

A human being becomes an adult

that human being has worth

You have worth because you are a human being.

You cant say you dont have worth, and at the same time know that you are a human being and humans have worth.

If that gets your head in a spin, apologies.

You are a perfect human being because you are imperfect.

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