One of the parts of Step Four in Al-Anon is to assess self worth. I've had moments when I felt confident and carefree and then I've had moments in which I felt totally worthless. In the fourth step workbook, there is a statement that really hits home:
"We hid our feeling of self-worth deep within, and our perspective became distorted. Many of us even tried to conceal that we felt worthless on the inside to the point that we couldn't show any real warmth and concern for anyone, including ourselves".
I know that there are families where the self-esteem of the child is nurtured. In my family, I could never please my father. He was a stern person who was always critical of me no matter how hard I tried. From that critical parental view, I began to think that I wasn't ever going to be "good enough".
I can think back on how many times I was concerned about what others thought of me. For the most part though, if I felt criticized and rejected, I shut myself off from those people. I didn't try to change myself which is a good thing. That system broke down though around those people that I loved. For them, I would try my best to be what they wanted, at the sacrifice of my own well being. Now I recognize those individuals who are judgmental and I am not really concerned about what they think. Sure there are moments when I slip and become self-critical; but I'm beginning to feel that I'm really okay and the issues that others have are not something that I have to own. I still love deeply but if someone really doesn't like the way I am, then there needs to be communication that is clear and a discussion that is rational and loving. I know what kind of person I am and am getting more and more comfortable in my skin.