The setting of boundaries for your personal space is a good thing; but when it is implemented without discussion or warning, then it becomes a means of isolation. That isolation grows into the specter of someone who is never wrong in their own eyes, while the rest of the world must bow at their whims.
My first wife used and continues to use this method of protection. If I said something that she viewed as hurtful, she got up and walked out. I was left without a clue as to what I did, because there was never a desire to be mean on my part. I was still trying to learn. However, discussion was not an option. I felt cut off and abandoned. It is hard to build a relationship that way.
I have since met others who subscribe to this thinking, and their relationships are all lopsided--there is no one in their life to challenge them in any area. Growth essentially ceases.
Self-worth is thought to increased by being told how good we are. This idea was born from the fact that people with low self-esteem were verbally beaten down most of their lives.
What we seem to have missed is that self-esteem is dependent upon the self, and how good it is. Other people's opinion certainly is a help, but opinions are useless without concrete evidence to support it.
In other words, hearing, "Wow, Dale! You are awesome!" when all I've done is walk across the room is not what I need to feel good about myself. However, I DO need to hear that when I HAVE done something awesome.
You can tell me I'm great as often as you want, but that won't make me feel great until I have done something that I feel great about. Yet, you can beat me down with just a few times of negative criticism whether I've done anything or not.
The keys to helping people build their sense of self worth are simple, but difficult to implement in our hyper-critical society that has left off critical thinking as a skill necessary for healthy living.
- Stop criticizing every little thing.
- Give compliments when something is done well.
- Give compliments concerning good character.
- Change your thinking (Rom. 12:2). This is the most difficult of all, and something most of us need help with. The methods for doing this are many, and easily adapted by anyone who is serious about becoming healthy. In a nutshell, consider what you have allowed to go into your mind; eliminate the negative and focus on the good (Phil. 4:8). Make sure only good things go into your mind.
- Check your friends. Do they build you up or drag you down? (1 Cor. 15:33) Get rid of the ones who drag you down from where you want to be.
- If you are in an abusive relationship, and you have done all you know to change it, then remove yourself from that situation. (Pro. 21:19)
It is not necessary to begin with loving yourself, for you already do--even if not well.
The more you get outside of yourself (which is a very small world anyway), and begin to reach out to others around you--including strangers--the more you will begin to like yourself.
That is a promise and a guarantee.
Feel free to copy and share this with your tribe. I only ask that you provide a link to this site. Thanks. (If you don't know how to provide a link, just ask.)