Changing Feelings of Worthlessness

I was recently asked if it was possible to change feelings of worthlessness, and if so, how. Here is my response.

First, the answer is YES! Our brains are wired in such a way that we can change the way we think and how we feel. I actually think this is super cool. I could go on about neural networks and rewiring but I'll try to stick to the topic at hand.

Often when I talk to my clients about feelings of worthlessness we start with a little bit of self-exploration. We start with noticing. Start to notice when these feelings come up for you. Is there a particular time of day, a specific person who brings it out, a phrase you hear? Just start to notice. Usually it's tied to something or someone but it may take a while to figure out what or who that is.

Next we start to explore. When did these feelings start? Where do you think they come from? Is there something - a statement - perhaps that repeats in your head over and over again? If so, whose voice is it? These are difficult questions so take your time answering them. (We usually do it over a few sessions.) It might even be helpful to write them down somewhere. If you have a journal that would be a great place as research has shown that our brains work differently when we put pen to paper versus typing on a computer.

The next step is to select an ally. Someone who is or has been in your corner, someone who is always rooting for you. If you don't have someone like that, that's ok - a lot of us don't - you can just make someone up. Close your eyes and try to describe that person in great detail from the way they look to the way they act to the way they sound. Now, pick a phrase you would like that person to say to you whenever you start to think that you're worthless. Something that will help you feel better about yourself - a characteristic, a skill, a great joke you tell, a physical attribute. This also takes time and may involve you asking for help from someone who really knows you.

Once you have all of that together - the noticing, answers from where these feelings and statement(s) come from, your ally, your new statement, you can try to put it altogether. When the feelings come up, notice what is bringing them up and then call upon your ally to try to change the statement in your head from the self-defeating one to the more positive, uplifting one.

This is just the start to discovering the best you! Again, I do this with my clients over quite a few weeks if not months and I am there with them the whole time. It is quite an involved process and can bring up a lot of very difficult feeling/memories. Feel free to try this on your own but if at any point you find it too hard to go at alone, call me - 415.857.5647.