Every day in my counseling practice I deal with individuals who are suffering from shame and low self-worth. In many cases it is due to the irrational beliefs and lies they were told as children, which became part of their worldview on how they see themselves. “You are stupid.” “You are worthless.” “You are clumsy.” “You are lazy.” “You’re just like your father – a loser.” The list is endless.
Helping individuals suffering from shame and low self-worth not only involves identifying these mistruths but more importantly assisting them in removing their shame and re-building their identity. One way to get people to improve acceptance of themselves is accomplish through the development of what I call “pillars”.Pillars are the foundation of our self-worth and what we can point to when we think about our character and strengths. Here are examples of some pillars: I am a Godly Man/Woman I am Honorable I am Self-Controlled I am Loving, Caring and Gentle I am Raising Godly Children I am a Nurturer of Relationships I am Hard Working When identifying your pillars try to come up with at least four so that you have a solid foundation. Having one or two pillars makes for a shaky based that can easily collapse during challenging times. The number of pillars you develop can be endless. The more the better.
As you do this exercise you will find in most cases your pillars are not firmly established and may require some work on your part to solidify. Think of each pillar you identified as an empty cylinder. Then determined how full each pillar is based on what you believe your strength is with that particular attribute. For example, if you want to be a loving wife but feel you are only doing that 65% of time you still have work to do in that area. Do that evaluation for each pillar.
Finally, with each pillar, list the activities that can help you to bring each cylinder as close to100% as possible. In most cases, it is impossible to reach 100% for any pillar. However, the stronger you make each pillar the more solid is the foundation of your character.
So ask yourself today…what are my pillars?