One of the biggest causes of my social anxiety and depressed feelings is the thought that I’m somehow flawed in a fundamental way. This lack of self-worth, I found, was the basis of my fear and anxiety and why I hold myself back.
Like many, I was afraid that others might find out about me and my problems; as such, I never opened up enough for others to connect with me. Consequently, the few connections I made needed to be more profound, coherent, and fulfilling. It’s no wonder life felt meaningless, difficult, and lonely.
This sense of being flawed is created by the culture we live in. Modern society is tolerant, but it can be remarkably punitive. In our community, our peers pitch values and aspirations. Values like youth, wealth, beauty, sociability, outgoing, worldly, experienced, sexy, knowledgeable, upbeat, successful etc. Not living up to that idealist image only leaves us feeling flawed. The toxic values of society become the voices in our minds. The result is mental illness, excessive worry, fear, and isolation.
Its source is shame, a toxic emotion, a self-critical view where we see ourselves as defective. It feeds on itself to keep us feeling small and worthless. To be free of it is to take a big step towards valuing ourselves regardless of whether we mess up. We need to let go of these illusions and disempowering beliefs.
My journey out of depression, isolation and anxiety reached a turning point when I realised I wasn’t broken or flawed. I no longer had to feel ashamed of being who I was. The belief I was broken was a narrative I was telling myself.
Instead, another voice took over with more empowering messages; Making mistakes and having fears and worries that are part of being human. It was never about being perfect. Our past doesn’t define us; our emotions are not who we are—those years of reading psychology and Buddhism paid off.
Self-worth is the crux upon which we feel ashamed or happy, critical or compassionate towards ourselves and others. We often accept the fallings in others more than we accept in ourselves.
Overcoming the desolation of toxic beliefs is one of my most significant steps in life. Life turns from a shrinking spiral of insecurity into a spiral of growth and expansion.
So stop thinking that there is something fundamentally wrong with you; there isn’t. It’s a trick your mind is playing on you. An illusion that has you caught.
Work on the voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough, and see just how mistaken it is.