I hit rock-bottom at the age of 25.Every aspect of my life was a struggle. I felt like I was serving a life sentence in a homemade prison.
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For months I had been vegetating in my tiny flat in Vienna. Only leaving the building when I had to. My life was dull, inactive, unchallenging. And I was bored, frustrated and unhappy.
Yet, I felt too anxious to move out of my puny comfort zone. Too undeserving to expect any more from life.
So I sat.
Waiting for a saviour. Somebody who would break me out of my prison. A glorious hero who would put me back on my feet, show me the right way and almost magically end all my struggles and limitations.
But they never came.
Some people made big promises, gave me hope, told me they could rescue me, make all the suffering disappear if I followed their lead. But, somehow, it never happened.Leaving me more anxious, depressed and down-hearted than ever.
I started up full of enthusiasm, hope. And fear.
The idea that I was responsible for transforming my life (and any failure to do so) was horrifying. But I was determined nonetheless.
Whatever technique, exercise and programme I could get my hands on, I tried it. But the results were disappointing and disheartening.
I gave up journaling after 3 weeks because I found it too time-consuming. And the improvement I experienced was not insignificant enough to justify the time it took every day.
I quit meditating after 14 days because my failure to silence my racing mind made me feel even worse about myself. And my growing frustration and self-punishment could not be offset by the positive effects of the practice.
I abandoned a new yoga practice on day 4 because I just couldn't scrape together the motivation in the evenings after work.
I spent half a fortune on various courses but never completed any of them.
For months, I bounced from one new method to the next. They all helped a little. But none brought the salvation I yearned for.
My pursuit of liberation and a better, more confident life felt hopeless. And my inner critic was harsher than ever. I believed I was too pathetic and weak to save myself. It was just too hard. And I was too much of a loser.
But then, I stumbled across the term “shiny object syndrome”. And I suddenly knew why my endeavours to save myself were fruitless.
The term “Shiny object syndrome” is most often encountered in the entrepreneurial world and marketing (bear with me here).
It is based on the phenomenon that some (especially new) business people will constantly chase after the next “shiny object” (e.g. a new method, technology or software) that promises spectacular business success and instant wealth.
Once they get their new toy, and the results don’t measure up, they lose interest and move on to the next shiny object.
It was exactly what I was doing!
Thousands of wonderful programmes, exercises and techniques are available to us if we seek to transform our life. They are only one mouse click away.
And I fluttered from one to the next. Lured by the sparkle and shine of the promised salvation. Maybe this one will be THE ONE. Maybe this one will cure me, make me whole and help me save myself.
I demanded from every new technique, exercise or programme to heal me completely and almost instantly (i.e. within a month at the most). I expected (or hoped) to wake up after 2 weeks of practice to discover that my suffering had been lifted, my anxiety defeated and my confidence restored. For good.
Leaving me to enjoy my happily ever after.
And when that didn’t materialise after one or two months, I moved on. Disappointed with myself and the last method. Searching for the next shiny object that had promise to be “THE solution” to my problems.
But my real issue was that I started each new method with sky-high expectations and unattainable time scales. I didn’t even give them a chance.
Because the truth is that the best method in the world will fail to transform your life if you don’t stick with it for as long as it takes. Even if it’s weeks, months, years. If you really want to make a change, the time frame is irrelevant.
Only consistency, determination and perseverance will lead to success. Because, for most of us, transformation is not a one-time event, it’s a life-long process.
Small, consistent, determined action will bring huge results. Step by step. It's THE ONLY WAY.
But that left me with one last question…
I now understood that I could only save myself. And that, in order to do so, I had to choose one method and persevere with it for as long as it takes to make a difference.
Because it’s not primarily the method that makes the real difference. It’s our consistency and persistence in using it.
But still, I needed an effective way to heal my life that I could keep up easily. Something that wasn’t too time-consuming, elaborate, expensive or required large amounts of motivational effort.
It had to be something profound. Something that would change my life from the bottom up and addressed the root cause of all my struggles.
So I searched. For months I read, investigated and explored my options. Until I finally arrived at one method that fit the bill.
At first, I couldn’t believe it. Could it really be that easy?
But I had discovered that all my suffering, limitations and anxiety were caused by lack of self-worth.
I believed that, as an individual, I had no worth. I was entirely worthless.
It was the reason why I suffered from imposter syndrome because I didn’t trust my abilities and thought I would never be good enough, no matter how hard I tried.
I always expected the worst in any situation because I felt incapable of looking after myself and believed I didn’t deserve anything good to happen to me.
My social anxiety originated in the conviction that everybody I met would sense my unworthiness and reject me for it. And my inability to find love came from my deep belief that I was unlovable.
Low self-worth was destroying my life and causing at least 98% of my daily struggles. I needed a way to overcome it if I wanted to transform my life.
So I started to affirm: “I AM worth”.
You see, it only takes 5.26 seconds to say this to yourself mindfully. If you repeat it 100 times a day, you still don’t spend more than 8.8 minutes on it!
I knew I could keep this up. I ignored the protest of my mind that was conditioned to believe in my worthlessness. I persevered.
I told myself that I was worth hundreds of times for hundreds of days. And life improved.
Every day, I felt a tiny bit stronger, more confident and balanced. Every week my anxiety and emotions controlled me a little less. Every month I overcame another limitation, took one more step away from my comfort zone into freedom.
And one day I realised that I hadn’t been terrified of the world in weeks. That I hadn’t panicked at the thought of meeting new people or criticised myself for being an unloved failure for months.
I felt free, light, balanced. I was happy. I WAS worth.
My life had been transformed. Not with a bang and an awe-inspiring cloud of glittery smoke. But gradually. Through the relentless pursuit of incremental improvement every single day.
It is possible to transform your life. You can free yourself from your fears, you can reclaim your life, your freedom, your happiness. But you have to do it yourself.
Yes, it’s scary to take responsibility for your life, your choices and your happiness. You can only blame yourself if you fail.
But, in reality, the only way to fail is to quit too early.
So, choose a method. You can try my self-worth boosting affirmation and programme. Or pick any exercise, technique or practice that resonates with you and is easy to keep up.
And then go. Take consistent, small action. Use it, stick with it. Persevere.
I know you can do it!
Because you are stronger than you think, you deserve to be happy, free and confident.
And if you stay in the game you WILL win the game. Maybe not this month or next. Maybe not even this year. But as long as you keep going, you are guaranteed to win.
You ARE worth.
Download the FREE 4-step solution to heal low self-worth in under 5 minutes a day. Learn to love and believe in yourself no matter what.
Dr Berni Sewell, PhD is a health scientist, energy healer and self-worth blogger. She is on a mission to make you feel good about yourself, no matter what. Download her free guide Instant self-worth: an easy 4-step solution to heal your self-worth in under 5 minutes a day” and start to boost your confidence today.