I remember thinking that there was a secret that everyone else knew except me. I thought once I figured out this secret, then my life would be okay. I would be okay, but despite my best efforts, the answers I was seeking always seemed to elude me.
Everything always seemed to come easy to other people. I always had road blocks and hurdles to climb over before I could even get to the place where everyone else started from. As I grew older I realized that the hurdles were my beliefs about myself. I had brutally low self-esteem. I walked around knowing that I was flawed and that others were more worthy than I was, so I didn’t put up too much resistance.
The one thing that I did have in my favor was a voracious appetite for knowledge. People have been asking me recently– how do you acquire self-esteem? Can you show me step by step how to get self-worth?
I imagine the journey is different for everyone. Mine wasn’t pretty and may even turn some people off. I wish it was easy to wrap into a tidy package with a step by step plan, but I figure the best I can do is tell you how I came to become a self-love warrior and hope that it has meaning to those of you still looking for the answer to that question.
A number of events happened that, as I look back, all seemed to draw me from one epiphany to the next. The first thing that happened was, I met a woman that could see dead people. Just like John Edwards or the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo. She told me that there was a father figure present, my father had died when I was 17. Prior to this meeting I would have called myself agnostic. I was a student of science. I wanted to believe in some higher power, but I had to see it to believe it. I had never met this woman before. She knew nothing about me and she said the word ‘Mug Wamp.’ Suddenly the hair stood up on the back of my neck. That was the nickname my dad always called me when I was a little girl. No one knew that and worse still, no one could have pulled that name out of a hat. After revealing a few more things that she couldn’t possibly have known I walked away from her in complete shock.
My entire view of the world, the universe and God changed that day. I had to restructure my thinking to include the notion that our consciousness carries on, that we are not just this body. That we are these immense, powerful, eternal beings. That was the first eye opener.
Next came the death of my mother from a car accident and the departure of my long-term Narcissist, who left me for another woman.
I was at the very bottomest of bottoms and I can totally identify with J.K. Rowlings quote, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” My life was a complete disaster. I had never known depression before and it became debilitating. I had no one and nothing and I spent many a day doing nothing, but stare at the wall.
But I’m a fighter and I couldn’t stay immobile for long. I wanted answers for everything and to find a way to dig myself out. One of the answers I was seeking was, ‘Where are my parents? Are they okay? Can they see me? What are they doing?’ I came across a book called Many Lives Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss. It was a true story and first person account by a prominent, Jewish, New York, Psychiatrist, who had a patient he was not getting anywhere with. One day he decided to do a little regression hypnosis with her, to see if he could pinpoint exactly where her problem started in childhood. When he did that, she didn’t start talking about her early childhood, she was talking about another life entirely. He was Jewish and he didn’t believe in past lives or reincarnation and neither did I for that matter. But over the course of many months he recorded his hypnosis sessions with her. Through these sessions she took him back to many different lives. She revealed things in hypnosis that she couldn’t possibly know about ancient civilizations, cultures and even languages that he knew the young woman lying before him didn’t know.
Reading that book led me to read Journey of Souls by Dr. Michael Newton, which tells the story of the doctor’s patients, who described under hypnosis, just what happens when you die. It was all pretty fascinating. I wasn’t sure I believed in reincarnation, but I sure liked the concept.
Because I have to know everything, I took matters a little further. I contacted a hypnotherapist and I wanted to schedule a Life Between Lives session. This is supposed to take you to that place you go after you die. I was told that I couldn’t do that until I had had a past life regression session first. This was all really expensive and I was barely getting by. At that time knowledge was more important to me than food, so I booked them both and was in for about a 4 hour hypnosis session.
First up was my past life regression. I went back into three different lives. I can’t honestly tell you that what I experienced was real or something my imagination conjured up. I just don’t know, but it did show me something pretty profound. In my present life I have never been comfortable in my own skin. I’ve always felt flawed and broken. I noticed that in all of my lives that same feeling came up, I had different bodies, even different genders, but I still had the same problem. I had no self-esteem, and I felt worthless. All of them seemed to play out the same way too, where I lost everything, I was miserable and all alone.
We took a break and I tried to process what all of this meant. I told the hypnotherapist that I wasn’t sure if it was real or not. She said it doesn’t matter. Whatever is coming up for you is what your spirit or your subconscious mind is telling you to address.
The Lives Between Lives session was next. I had no idea what to expect and what happened was pretty incredible. The hypnotist told me to go to the end of one of my lives and asked me to describe what was happening. As I left that body she asked me if I could see anything. I could feel my own vibration. I could feel it getting faster and faster to the point where every molecule in my body was vibrating at a level that I’ve never experienced before. “What do you see?” she asked. “My spirit guide,” I answered.
If you ask me now, ‘was your past life regression real?’ I could honestly tell you – I don’t know. If you ask me, ‘Was meeting your spirit guide real?’ I would have to say it sure felt real. I could feel the molecules in my body vibrating so fast. I don’t know if I had to raise my vibration to be able to be on the same frequency as my spirit guide– no one ever went over that. I don’t know why it happened and the hypnotist said when it did happen all of the energy in the room changed, she said a huge smile came on my face and it was all very palpable.
The hypnotist asked my spirit guide if I was a healer. The answer I got was, “No, a teacher.” I was kind of upset with that answer. This was years before the idea of Esteemolgy ever came to me. Who wants to be a teacher? I thought at the time. The idea of being a healer was much more appealing to me, so I remember not liking the answer I got. She told me to ask my guide about the question I wanted to know, so I asked, “How do I learn to love myself?” It was the theme of all of my lives – me not loving myself. The answer I heard was, “You already know. The answer is already inside of you.”
Now many of you might be saying hogwash this is all a bunch of nonsense and you could very well be right. I don’t claim to believe this anymore then the next guy. All I can do is lay out what I experienced. If you want an answer to the question – then you have to understand how I got to the answer.
What I understood to this point was that I was not this body. I was an immense energy being, so much more than this skin and this hair. I understood that I was important and loved. What was said to me I was disappointed with because it seemed like a non-answer. Hundreds of dollars later and all I walked away with was a riddle.
I was still trying to dig myself out of depression. My life was still a mess, so I started to read every book I could get my hands on, on self-esteem. Nothing really helped. I tried the mirror technique – where you stare at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself, “I love you,” and other positive phrases – that didn’t work. I tried affirmations – didn’t really change anything. I was still looking for this thing, where I could do something and feel the effects immediately, but that never happened. The more I searched the more elusive the answer seemed to be.
What did come however was the immensely popular documentary The Secret. In it there was a story about a man, who had been in an airplane crash. He was completely paralyzed and could only blink his eyes. He told the doctors and the nurses that he would walk out of the hospital by Christmas. They humored him believing he would always be completely paralyzed, unable to blink, or even swallow on his own and they were stunned when he actually walked out of there by Christmas.
Being a student of science, that story and understanding the principle behind the placebo effect moved me the most. It taught me that the mind is the most powerful thing in the universe. It really could move mountains. I finally understood that what we actually believe about ourselves, our lives, our future will actually shape our lives and our future. The placebo effect is real, there’s no dispute about it. If our minds believe it – it becomes real for us. The paralyzed man in the bed had so much mental discipline that he didn’t allow himself to get riddled with doubt. He convinced himself that it was going to happen the way he wanted it to and it did.
From that, I realized that our minds control all things. I strengthened my mind further by getting into meditation. Through meditation not only could I learn how to control my mind, I could also control my emotions. That lead to visualization, focus and a ton of mental discipline.
I began exercising for no other reason than I wanted to look good. With all the natural endorphins jumping around in my body, I not only looked good, I felt great too.
At the same time I was still trying to get to the bottom of why I didn’t love myself. I read a lot, including Robert Burney’s Dance of the Wounded Soul and it helped me to trace back the message that I wasn’t good enough – that I was broken and flawed, all the way back to my childhood. I could recall vividly, incidents with my mother, where she hammered that sentiment home. I looked at her and her childhood and realized she got the same message. Upon deep reflection, I finally understood that the message was a lie. I recalled her telling me that when people would complement her, her father would immediately put her down, because he didn’t want her to get a big head, or become prideful. In her father’s twisted mind, tearing apart her self-esteem was more beneficial to her wellbeing, then letting her gain confidence and she was passing this pathetic reasoning down to me.
It was a lie, it was always a lie and finally I began to see it as a lie. I was overwhelmed with the understanding that I was good enough, I was always good enough – that I was born good enough. I realized that I was looking to others to show me that I was special, lovable, worthy, but it was always an inside job. I’d herd these words before, but they never really hit home until that moment. I understood that no one could ever give you self worth, because it’s already yours. I had done so much for myself that I knew just like everything else, no one in this world was going to give me self-esteem, it was something that I had to reach out and take for myself.
Another thing happened too. My Narcissist was gone, my mother was gone and I felt a kind of peace I had never felt before. Sure I loved my mom and I missed her, but I didn’t miss her constant criticism and the way she always made me feel. The toxic people in my life were gone. I was looking good, feeling good and completely in control of my thoughts and my emotions. I felt free.
I was alone. I had nothing and I had to do everything for myself. This made me fiercely independent, ambitious and it gave me a lot of confidence too. For the first time I was feeling really good about me. I was taking care of myself. I was treating myself like I was a person of value, because finally I believed it.
The new friends I was making all shared a really healthy and positive attitude towards themselves and their lives. They were my teachers even if they didn’t know it. If you’ve ever watched the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, staring Will Smith, it was kind of like that. A man drives up in an expensive car, dressed in a designer suit, reeking of success and Smith’s character says, “Hey man. What do you do for a living?” “I’m a broker,” the guy answers. From that point on Smith’s character immerses himself into learning everything he can about the trading business. He saw the lifestyle he wanted (the end goal) and said, hey why not me? If hard work can get me there then I’m all in and he followed the blue print that others had layed, until he achieved his success.
There was no buzzer for me, no alarm bell, no fanfare, that happened that alerted me to the fact that I not only didn’t hate myself, but I loved myself. It was a long process and a lot of work. I just woke up one day and realized that the message I had received earlier from my spirit guide now made sense to me. The answer was always inside of me. It was a battle at times, but just performing the actions of caring for myself – mind, body and spirit was the formula. When you do good things for yourself, when you treat you with love, care and respect, you can’t help but feel good about yourself, that’s it and others will follow your lead. It was never a secret riddle that I had to figure out. All I had to figure out was myself and the rest followed.
Subscribe to our mailing list and receive our weekly blog right to your inbox and Like us on Facebook.
Image courtesy of nenetus at freedigitalphotos.net
I gasped when I read the first line of this blog entry. These are the exact words I’ve used to describe how I feel about my life. I’ve been aware that going inside and getting acquainted and learning to love myself is what needs to be done but, like a good codependent, I procrastinate all that benefits me.
No longer will I wait.
Thank you for your openness and honesty.
I love this post Savannah.
It is so clichéd isn’t it, ‘the answer is inside of you’. But it is so true!
I spent many years looking for a ‘How To’ guide to fix myself. I wanted a step by step guide on finding inner peace, contentment and self love. I now realise that it doesn’t exist, it is a journey that is uniquely different for everybody.
Your blog, books by spiritual gurus and the many other tools available certainly help but ultimately I have to find my own way.
I have learnt that it depends on how badly I want it too, do I have the discipline and motivation to do the things that I know will help… meditation, exercise, affirmations, setting boundaries etc. A good friend of mine says ‘pain is spiritual fertiliser’. How true.
I think Free the difference between knowing you’re there as opposed to still seeking the answer is that when you’re still seeking you still think that there is something else you have to be, think or do, that you haven’t figured out yet. Knowing you’re there is when you realize there is nothing you have to think, do or be. You just are and it’s enough. I’m not sure I articulated that well but I think you’ve reached your destination when you realize that there is no secret riddle that you haven’t figured out.
I really enjoyed reading about your journey and the things you did to get there. Many of those same books and similar experiences helped me as well, but I have a ways to go, still! Reading your account has helped me continue a little further down the path…
I wanted to share something that helped me at a really bad time in my life that might help someone else, too. I had gone through a very dark, negative time and my family and friends were all too far away from me to be there physically. At the time I just wanted to be held – comforted. I was starting to feel that no one wanted to touch me, that men I dated were avoiding me (Probably because I was so negative and dark…). One night I just imagined that one of them was holding me, but that didn’t work because I knew he didn’t feel that way. I realized that I was the only one who could hold myself the way I needed to be held. So I imagined holding myself like a baby, looking down into my own face, comforting me like a mother would.
It’s a very literal interpretation of loving oneself, but it has helped me immensely! I still do this in times of fear, uncertainty and loss of self-esteem.
Thank you for your blog and sharing your stories and wisdom!
Thank you for sharing your very personal journey. My eyes kind of jumped as your story unfolded because the books you started with are the very same ones I started with on my journey. I don’t share them often with anyone, because I live in a very conservative state with one predominant religion so I was really excited to see that your journey resembles mine, with needing a path of spirituality to be the catalyst I needed to make changes in me. This took me 5 years, and changed the ‘fabric’ I am made of, as I am sure it did yours.
In childhood, I was taught 2 things: that other people’s needs and happiness were always more important than mine, and if I ever put myself and what I wanted above anyone else, it was ‘selfish’ and I should be ashamed. It wasn’t until I learned (like you) that I am a wonderful spiritual being who is every bit as important as every other spiritual being. We are all connected, and as I understand it, to harm a part of our collective consciousness (aka me) is actually harming the whole Entity. I believe it is our job here on earth to love, care and respect ourselves first, and then we are able to love, care for and respect others because we are nourished and strengthened by our own self love to be able to do so. I loved that you reminded yourself that the messages you received as a child were actually LIES. This is something I that we all need to keep reminding ourselves as we change our beliefs. They were lies. You are worthy of love and belonging, and you always have been!
My rock bottom forced me to turn to my God and I reconnected with Jesus Christ as my personal saviour and through teachings of great people I too embarked on a journey in which I discovered the negative programming of my past and that I am enough for Jesus and that He loves me warts and all and through His sacrifice on the Cross I stand Righteous before God.
I believe we all have a different spiritual journey to testify to, and as the past lives helped you, and many others I am sure have different stories to tell to yours and mine, but it’s a requirement for all human beings to believe!!!
How different we believe, does not matter, it matters that we believe and our minds connect with something positive and good.
God Bless and many thanx for all your lovely articles and sharing your pain to help others in need.
Savannah, this was a very interesting post. Could you please tell us how to access the ’10 things to increase mental toughness’ that Kristen referenced in her post? Thanks for all you do!
Sure P she was referring to my blog entitled, Do You Control Your Emotions or Do Your Emotions Control You: Developing Mental Toughness.
Thank you Savannah for your indomitable spirit and your ability to clearly teach others what has worked for you. It’s working for me too. You posted a list of ten things to increase your mental toughness a couple years ago and I printed it out and read it every morning in my bathroom. I am doing better day by day and the stability, mindful indifference (as you described last week) and consistent self love all are helping me enjoy my life, with gratitude. Thank you for all your wisdom born through experience.
I have just got to tell you how much I seriously LOVE you and this website. It has truly changed my life. I go over and read your articles over and over. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, I have truly never been this happy in my life. it feels so good not having to depend on another thing to be happy. May God bless you immensely.
Brilliant timing Savannah as always and thank you for sharing such inspiring information.
I resonate sooooooo much with your articles!!!! Reminds me very much of myself…it’s like I’m reading my own words when I view these articles. *Good Stuff*
Thank you so much Savannah. This is just what I needed to hear today.
That is depressing. To think we have low esteem throughout all of our reincarnations.
Some NDExperiencers have stated that there are hospitals in heaven for the broken…. http://www.near-death.com/science/research/heaven.html
Angele – I think what that showed me was that you cannot move forward until you have healed or solved the issue. If you follow the reincarnation theory you keep repeating the same thing until you figure it out. That’s why we’re here on this earth to learn and grow.
According to Newton in Journey of Souls he says that we go through almost a decontamination process when we first ascend. Who knows. I guess we’ll all find out when we get there.
This week is the 9th anniversary of my husband’s sudden unexpected death. I went to a therapist and she recommended Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls by Dr. Newton. Those books were the most fascinating books I ever read. She also sent me to a woman who talks to the departed and I was very skeptical. I was told that my Angels and Guides guided my therapist to get me to this woman. The woman told me many things that no one else knew. My husband was present and assured me that he is with me all the time and I had to live and go forward in life. I never even wanted to date after my husband died. But six months ago I met a narcissistic man who barreled into my life and left me after four months. I take the pain I experienced from the discard as a message from the Universe to work on my self esteem and learn to set boundaries so I will never attract another disordered man again. Meditation and exercise and reading this blog helps me so much. Savannah, you are a teacher, this is your path in life! Thank you so much!
Great article. First I want to thank you. I left a narcissist in 2013. Like you I had to go through the process of healing. Your articles helped me by knowing I was not alone.
The reason why I am writing to you is to ask if would be okay to get your birth data. I am an astrologer and I am always curious as to what Astro challenges people experience. It helps me in a couple of ways. Firstly it gives me more understanding of how the cosmos interplay with all of us but mostly it is a tool that I know works. It helps me with understanding the whys and the how’s of our journeys that we are supposed to be learnimg in this present life. I could go on….. So again if you wouldn’t mind sharing your info. The date of birth the time and place is what I need to erect the chart. Let me know. I would be most grateful.
Thank you again your writings helped me through a very grave time in my life.
Hi Debbie: While I’m sure your intentions are genuine I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving out all of my personal information. I can tell you I’m a Virgo. I was born in early September. I don’t know the time. Close to New York. In numerology I am a soul path 9. Pretty much everything of mine comes up to 9 in numerology.
I’ve been subscribing and sharing Savannah’s blog Esteemology for weeks now on my novel’s FB page and Twitter. This post, in particular, resonated with me. My novel is about a woman’s struggle to break an obsessive bond with her sociopath yoga guru. Esteemology often shines a focused light on involvement with a narcissist who is adept at quickly finding a person’s vulnerability and exploiting them. In my novel the middle aged female victim feels she is becoming invisible with age. Loss of youth, and beauty in our society often takes its toll even on married and accomplished women. Even though this character is happily married and a successful Hollywood costume designer she is bored and feels her life circumscribed. The yoga guru convinces her that opening her chakras will open up all the possibilities in her life, and restoring her youth. Certainly yoga can be a beneficial practice, but this guru is a sociopath narcissist using his powers for his own benefit. His attentions awaken her passions and desires and she becomes psychically corded to him. After a time, with the help of a genuine healer, and her husband’s enduring love, she hears the truth of her higher self, and finds that real love has always been within her.
I love the concept LSC.
Yep Now I know some more that I wondered about…that you mentioned , but I did not see how you arrived at feeling so good and surrounding yourself with positive achievers. I call that guide one of your two Guardian Angels we are given,. I recently learned we are given 2 not one. Your Mother and mine are so alike. Her Father wanted a son and she was an only child. She was not supportive of her 2 female children and doted on the 2 boys-and allowed them to abuse -did not protect. She was schooled by NUNs some of whom had obviously forced to the Convent and not called ..so pissed.. Understandable-forced Marriage!
So lucky ME! She certainly did not spare me from all that self hate as a vessel of containment.. I need to do more of what you did -seeing the real truth for what it is. this was generational abuse and I have no responsibility for it and no real resemblance to the attempted personage they need for the palliative effects and fools gold that must be for perps. It is so weird when your Mother is your worst enemy. Dumped here 25 years ago. Cannot keep letter her abuse. Ow to completely rout her inner effects.. With precision surgical instruments this time.
Thanks for your warrior like life and your success. I always see you in my mind as beautiful and like a coltish achiever.
Sami I was battling depression and trying to dig myself out from rock bottom. The only way to do that is with persistent and consistent action. It was in the doing. I was trying to feel better and the only way I could feel better was by practicing self-care – doing good things for my mind, body and soul. When you keep doing good things for yourself you can’t help but feel better. Doing that became habitual – it was a gradual progression.The more I took care of me the more confident I got that I could take care of myself. The more I took care of myself the more independent I became. The more independent I became the more I realized I didn’t need anyone to show me who I am or what I was worth.
That was a beautiful story Savannah. Thank you for sharing it with us. Being a teacher is so so powerful. If your mind is open to it we can take the gift of knowledge that you offer. Healers pass on healing not the knowling of healing. Embrace it, as you have, as it’s very special. And, your riddle, well it’s all true. Everything you need is inside of you. One, if not the most important lessons mum taught me. How I wish I had more of her and for much much longer. I could not get enough. Such lessons are precious. We’re all on a journey and our teachers are many, that’s what you taught me and you definitely have that gift.