Are you a “beaten dog”? Rest assured, I’m not calling anyone names here. But have you been kicked around, treated like nothing, and hurt? Do you not feel loved unless you are treated badly? This is what I mean when I say “beaten dog.” If you are offended, maybe some truth is staring you in the face. If you are not offended, I’m glad—and while this may not apply to you, perhaps it does apply to someone you know.
If it does apply to you and you can see how this role has affected your life, I want to apologize. No one should feel beaten, abused, and treated so poorly that he or she feels unworthy and believes life is cruel. I hope you seek help in breaking this mind-set and take hold of the reality that you ARE worthy!
Some questions you can ask yourself:
- When someone is nice to me, do I question it? Do I question that the niceness is sincere?
- When things are calm and smooth, do I need to throw a fit so that I can verify that I am loved via being yelled at?
- Do I want or tend to take advantage of a person’s niceness because I believe I can?
- Do I pick negative, hurtful people to be around?
- Am I envious of others who are in healthy relationships?
- Do I want a healthier relationship but believe I can’t have one?
- Do I believe that this is how things will be for the rest of my life and that nothing—not even me—can change?
To change a self-belief statement or self-perception, admitting the need to change is a must. If you change for someone else, the change may not last long. Identifying how you respond to the above questions is key. Looking at ourselves can be a difficult and painful challenge, but it is where healing begins.
A self-belief statement can be defined as how you view who you are, how your “world” is, and how things (positive or negative) happen/happened to you. When someone is brought up in a negative, abusive, and painful environment, a negative self-belief is formed. The self-belief statement can be changed, but it can be difficult and takes time.
To change a negative self-belief statement:
- Identify and be aware of your negative self-belief statement. As Dr. Phil says, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.
- Self-examine your thoughts and mind-set, and take responsibility for why your belief statement is negative.
- Acknowledge what you can and can’t change. Example: You can’t change what happened to you growing up, but you can change how you respond and whether the past controls you.
- Grieve. You lost out on a healthier childhood, the unspoken expectation that the adults in your life would be there to help you grow. Let go of the pain. Mourn. Cry.
- Forgive. It’s a hard thing to do. Forgiveness is for YOU, not for them. To lose the power that the past has over you, forgiveness is key. Forgive shortcomings, failures, pain, whatever. Let go. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. When you forgive, you’ll feel less weight on your shoulders and be able to move on a little easier. Forgiveness is a part of a cleansing process, allowing healing to begin.
- Redefine yourself—who you want to be, how you want to be, the type of people you want to be around, etc. Your personality may not totally change, but you can choose to be happier, to not let the same roadblocks stand in your way, and to have healthier relationships. You can choose to be a person who is not going to allow yourself to be kicked around anymore. Find what is good in your life; maximize those things while minimizing your weaknesses.
- Be at peace with yourself. Self-acceptance is a great accomplishment. No one can do this for you. When you love and accept you, other people will see that and be drawn to it. Self-acceptance allows your inner beauty to shine.
This is a process. It’s not always easy. Personal growth is not a straight journey. It has lumps, bumps, breaks, and is topsy-turvy. But if you are moving toward health, you will get there.
© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Kelly Sanders, MFT, therapist in Rancho Cucamonga, California
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