Have you ever listened to what you're telling yourself? You know, those almost unconscious mental messages you give yourself all the time as you move through your daily life.

Take a moment and listen to what you're saying to you. What sort of messages are you sending to yourself? How would you feel if I said those things to you?

I'm willing to bet that most of those self-messages sound something like:

+ I'll never get it all done!
+ I always screw things up.
+ I don't have enough time!
+ I wish I had (or hadn't) said xxx
+ Why does this always happen to me?

I'm also willing to bet that if I said those things to you, you'd be pissed, and rightly so.

Most of us come to a 12 Step Program not liking ourselves very much-often with good reason. After all our addiction, whether to alcohol, drugs, gambling or other destructive behavior led us to do all sorts of things to ourselves and others. Sometimes our negative actions were overt, sometimes less so, but we knew, at some level, we were wrong.

As we begin to get honest with ourselves through the Steps, we often shudder with shame as we come to understand the damage we've done.

These feelings of guilt actually signal the fact we are beginning to take responsibility for our actions... and beginning to re-build our self-worth.

One simple definition of self-worth is self-respect. It's a sense of well-being and the knowing that you not only have a right to be here, but, by your presence, you are making a positive contribution. The overwhelming chances are you are already making a positive contribution; it's also likely you're not giving yourself any credit for it.

A major part of getting to that place where your skin fits is getting in the habit of giving yourself credit for the things you do well. This means replacing negative self-talk with positive self-talk. For example:

I'll never get it all done! can become, Gee, look at everything I've gotten done so far.
I always screw things up might turn into I blew that one, but I also did (a positive thing)
I don't have enough time! can turn into Everything that needs to be done will get done.
You get the idea. Learning to replace the negative self-talk with positive messages is a matter of establishing new habits. First we have to actually hear what we're saying to ourselves, and then replace that with a positive message. It takes time and practice, but it's worth it.

Author's Bio: 

Anne Wayman is the author of Powerfully Recovered! Her book is
available at the usual places and on her website: http://www.powerfullyrecovered.com