When I am feeling unworthy, I bolt. When I am in a situation that my unworthiness and feelings of self-love are triggered, I shut down. Call me Sujeiry Bolt sans the Olympic medals. I am a flyer, a shutter downer, and I’m learning that there is a better way.
Shifting Our Mindset When Feeling Unworthy
I fly when feeling unworthy because that armor is what keeps me safe. And it’s easier than working through the muck. For instance, I recall a situation at work where I was met with a task that intimidated me and, in turn, triggered my self-worth.
Would I look stupid? What if I can’t do it? What will that look like? Will they fire me?
I wanted to run away and hide. And I did…metaphorically. I made an excuse and pawned the task off to someone else, which was a better strategy than my norm. When external factors trigger my feelings of unworthiness, I quit. Or I bury my head in the sand and remain steadfast in my “I’m not going to confront this shit” stubbornness.
The First Step to Changing Behavior
The first step to change our behavior, whether we run away or practice other unhealthy strategies, is to realize the root cause of our coping mechanisms. When did you begin running away when feeling unlovable and triggered? Why did that behavior start in the first place? I can attribute it to my childhood where I’d find myself running for cover after my dad’s violent outbursts. To this day, I wonder if I have dust mites floating in my lungs from the nights I spent under my bed.
For me, this pattern of behavior, which began as self-protection, still exists. I run away when feeling unworthy because I am protecting myself from any and all situations that trigger my battle with self-worth.
An UnHealthy Response
Is this the healthiest response? No, ma’am. (Unrelated, I was called ma’am recently and I also wanted to run away. So, actually related.) It’s what I know, it’s what’s easy. But what we know and what’s easy isn’t always what’s best for us. So, how do we change it? How do we stop bolting and learn to remain in uncomfortable situations so we actually learn something?
- By identifying the fear
- By understanding that feelings of unworthiness may never completely go away
- By being self-aware and in that moment, when we are triggered, doing the opposite of what we know
As for me, I want to sit and fight for the right things. I want to use my defense mechanism, my flight response, to cope with, “I gotta go, this shit is dangerous,” type of conflict. I am doing things differently. I am staying and fighting for what’s right, for what will help me evolve, and, ultimately, what will help me heal.