Shifting themes: grief to self-worth

A couple of years ago, I had a therapist who helped me understand some truths about myself on a deeper level.  Being a more right brained thinker, I’ve known for awhile the need to grow in my ability to feel feelings…not just analyze situations.  He talked about integrating the heart and the mind, so that both feelings and thoughts were equally present.  He also gave me some tools for identifying and responding/reacting to feelings.  And while I’m confident that this will be a continual struggle, I believe I’m making progress.  I’m aware, I have some tools, and I’m spending some time feeling, being fully present, being aware…

In that “life theme,” he also helped me see my need to grieve.  He said I’d be entering a period of grieving…  and jokingly, I still wonder “when will it ever end?”  Since then, in addition to ending a 7 year relationship, being fired from a 19 year career, and losing a style of living that went with that career, I’ve faced the loss of my mom and grandmother as well as several close friends.  Call it the journey of entering my 40’s.  I’ve also done some deeper work on realizing and grieving losses from my childhood that have hung over my head and heart, keeping me stuck in patterns that weren’t healthy or aligned where I wanted to be.  And again, while I believe grief is a feeling or process that is with me for the long haul, and I will probably uncover things I still need to grieve, or situations I need to grieve on a deeper level, I’m making progress.  I’m aware, I have some tools to understand and feel grief and loss, and I’m spending some time accepting those losses and moving on…

So while I hesitate to say I’m done with learning how to feel or how to grieve, I’m in a 3 month sabbatical period, and I believe I was enlightened today and this week with the “theme” of this sabbatical — which like other topics, will probably extend beyond the remaining two months.  But two close friends and a devotional reading highlighted the same theme for me – so in my world, three data points make a trend, and I should listen!  The concept:  self worth.

At the heart of me sexual addiction (which played out in a nasty way last month…), and my competitive nature which drives me to overachieve and my depression is this feeling of low self-worth.  It plagues me, and has for much of life – despite many “successes” and external praise.  I hear what others say about me, and discount it…unable to love myself (at times) for just who I am…a beloved child of God.  The devotional today talks about our “inner door” — how nobody can go through the inner door with us, and until we sufficiently “walk through” the issue or issues that face us in life, we will continually return to them — face them head on — bang our head — and wonder why we are going crazy.  For me, I believe it’s self-worth.  

When my counselor told me about grief, my immediate question was “Ok, so how do I grieve?”  He laughed, and said that was the wrong question.  In fact, there wasn’t a question to be asked.  I just needed to let go, and allow my body and mind and Higher Power show my the path I needed to follow.   I believe much of what I faced in the following years were part of that path of enlightenment…

So, as I face this question of “how do I learn to love myself?” – I want to get answers from the world out there (your comments), or read books or somehow find the fix.  But, I’m reminded that this is my inner door — my path of enlightenment.  And while others can help me along the way and shine light on the path, the only answer that is true and authentic is the one that I find for Todd.  So, for now, I will “anoint” this remaining two months of time to explore the journey of self-worth, of loving and accepting self…


Asset Based View of the 12 Steps

A friend of mine took to pen and recreated the 12 steps, from an asset based perspective.  For 2014, this is how I will focus on my recovery…and even then, I’m spending three months not focusing on recovery, or addiction…but on my own gifts, talents, passions, creative juices…  It’s a study in a change of focus.   For when we look at problems, we find problems.  When we look at needs, we find needs.  But when we look at abundance, we see plenty.


• Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – our addiction was muting our own uniqe gifts and talents

• Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves needed us to fully use our gifts and talents in this world

• Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God

• Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves and all we have to offer

• Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being all of the gifts, talents, and dreams that we have forgetten

• Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God begin to share all of our gifts and talents with others

• Step 7 – Humbly asked God to constantly encourage us in our dreams

• Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all

• Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

• Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory of our gifts and talents and when we were holding back promptly admitted it

• Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out

• Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

Day 85 – Naming, blessing and embracing my talents

I was meeting with a friend yesterday and he introduced me to a small group of men doing some amazing work with youth and community ( In introducing me, he named what he saw as my gifts. He mentioned that I was creative and a connector. For many years, I’ve balked at being called creative. I don’t see myself as such. But, now, in a more humble manner of listening and removing my own ego…I’m able to hear more what others see in me. And, I’m more open to embracing those talents, those gifts — naming and blessing and celebrating them.

Along those lines, I was recently reconnected with a man who had a great influence on my life as an elementary school teacher. As a young boy of 10 years old moving from Louisiana to Canada, I remember facing the teasing from my peers, having a funny accent. 😉 I was also young and short for my age. Skipped a grade while in Canada made that “difference” even more pronounced. There were two men – Mr. Rogers and Mr. Heady – who went out of their way to make me feel welcome. They “took me under their wings” and broke down the barriers my accent created, and helped me connect with the students. I have ALWAYS shared fondly of my time in Sarnia and spoken of these two men. Well, recently, a friend from Sarnia connected with me on Facebook and told me that Mr. Rogers was looking to reconnect with students. What a great blessing! And as we started to reconnected, Mr. Rogers wrote back, “Remember you as one of those students who brought the fire for learning to class every day.”

So completing that spirit of naming by gifts — some of them I see more fully today are…curious; connector; creative; fire for learning.