Dear Dr. Michelle:
I’m starting to question my importance. I feel like I’ve lived my life without love and nobody, not even my family, sees me as an important being. How do I deal with this?
I sense from your question that you have lost hope and I feel sad that you are questioning your own importance. As cliché as this may sound – we are all important! Every person has something to offer both to their own self and to others.
A good place to start is by examining your feelings about yourself and your experiences in your family. My assumption is that you are experiencing some deep despair, and therefore, you may need to consider seeking professional therapy to help you examine these feelings.
You can follow this link to locate a therapist in your area. They might ask you some of the following questions in order to offer you more support:
- How long have you been feeling this way?
- Did a recent event occur that brought this up for you?
- What are some specific things that could make you feel worse or better?
- Who are the people around you that know how you feel, and how do they respond to you when you talk about your feelings?
- Have you experienced some emotional, mental, physical abuse or trauma that is related to how you feel?
If you have experienced emotional, mental, physical abuse or trauma, you could benefit from engaging in professional therapy. Trauma needs to be dealt with directly for you to feel better.
Examining Your Own Expectations
Another place to start is to examine your own expectations. The reality is that not every person we encounter will find us important. Not everybody in our immediate circle will love us, and some may not even like us. In some case, our own family members are not the best place to expect love and support. How others feel about us does not diminish our own importance or our deserving of being loved.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you examine your expectations:
- Are you trying to receive validation and love from people who are not capable of loving other people?
- Is it possible that you have family members that are trying to show you love and validation, but you want them to show it differently for it count?
- Is it time for you to grieve the potential reality that your family is not able to love you the way you need it or deserve it?
- Are the people in your life really those whom you want to love you?
- Do you need to find other people to surround yourself with capable of providing you well-deserving love and validation?
What Can't You Control vs What You Can Control
Also consider what you don’t have control over. Ultimately, we do not have control over how other people will show us love or how they feel about us. Although we can tell people how we want to be loved or treated, we cannot control how they respond. It is important to realize that if others cannot show us love and importance is more about their inability to meet our needs than it is about us not being worthy of love. The answer is to find and surround ourselves with people that are willing and capable of showing us the love we deserve.
Next, consider what you do have control over. Are you doing things to push people away? Are you not extending yourself to be valued and loved? Do you keep doing things that people have asked you to stop?
One last area for self-reflection is to understand that we are really the only ones that can truly provide ourselves validation, love, and feelings of self-worth. No matter how many people you have in your life that love and support you, if you do not love yourself, the love others feel for you will not get through. You hold the key to feeling love and importance – you first must feel this way about yourself.
To help unlock the key to self-worth, you will need to resolve any past trauma and grieve any experiences you had that have led you to believe that you not important. At the same time, you need to believe that your care for yourself is the primary factor in you feeling loved.
Finally, find ways to build your own self-esteem. Identify your uniqueness - all your skills, talents and strengths. Then put yourself in situations where you can use them. And remember, personality traits can be our greatest assets - things like being kind, service-oriented, insightful, aware of other’s needs, etc. Talents are not just traditional skills that get outwardly expressed, like playing an instrument or making art. To further build your self-worth, find the things that you are passionate about and find ways to do them. This will bring you much personal joy, which will build your self-esteem. You will begin to feel self-fulfilled and the need for others to fill this void for you will diminish.
Dear Dr. Michelle blog posts are informational in nature. The posts are not meant to take the place of consulting your physician, mental health professional, or other qualified health providers regarding your well-being or the well-being of others. Submitting a question does not establish a client/therapist relationship.
Submit Your Question on mental health and/or family relations to Dr. Michelle K. Murray.