This is a guest blog written by Del Adey-Jones.
Photo by Jay Castor on Unsplash
“Whenever you should doubt your self-worth, remember the lotus flower. Even though it plunges to life from beneath the mud, it does not allow the dirt that surrounds it to affect its growth or beauty.” - Suzy Kassem
Before coming across the Principles, if someone had told me that there's no such thing as low self-esteem, I would have told you, you were crazy. You see, for the first fifty years of my life, I was the poster child of low self-esteem. I had spent my whole life feeling worthless and inferior to everyone else on the planet. I was constantly comparing myself to others and always falling short. I thought I had all the evidence in the world to support this debilitating belief about myself, and more importantly, I had a story and a diagnosis to prove it.
My story and the meaning I made of it went something like this. I grew up in what can only be described as a rather unusual and dysfunctional environment. I was born in 1959 in a very pious and puritanical chapel-going community in North Wales. I was the product of an affair between my mother and father, a married man who lived in the nearby village with his wife and two daughters. When I attended the local elementary school, I was referred to as illegitimate. I thought this meant that I was not as legitimate as other children, therefore not as worthy or entitled to the same treatment and respect. In addition to the stigma of being labeled as illegitimate, my father never acknowledged me as his child, which I made to mean that I was unworthy and unlovable. In addition to this, I felt guilty for the circumstances of my birth and the hurt it caused my father's family. I thought that this meant that I should never have been born and had no right to exist. To top it off, as a small child, being seen brought unwanted attention and abuse. So, I decided the only way to keep myself safe was to become invisible.
As you can see, I had innocently created a narrative of who I was and how I needed to be in the world to survive. Consequently, by the time I reached my late teens, I had lost my will to live and contemplated suicide. That dark night of the soul was the start of a very long and expensive journey to try and heal and fix myself.
I spent close to thirty years in therapy and studied a multitude of spiritual practices from Buddhism, to Hinduism, to Kabbalah and Kundalini. I sat in Sweat Lodges and took Ayahuasca. I participated in dozens of workshops, from "Healing the Shame that Binds" to "Reclaiming Your Shadow." I even completed a Masters' Program in Spiritual Psychology. Everything I did helped to some degree or another, but it was coming across the Principles that finally brought me the freedom I had been looking for.
So, what was it about the Principles that changed me, you might ask? I had two significant insights that dramatically changed how I saw myself and how I showed up in life.
The first insight I had was when I saw the truth that we are "Spiritual Beings having a Human Experience." That we are both spiritual and human rolled into one. Recognizing that we all come from the same spiritual energy that creates all living things helped me see that I was equal to everyone else. Each of us comes into the world of form with the same amount of innate wisdom, well-being, and resilience within us. Physically, we might look and behave a little differently, but we are all one and the same at our essence.
The second life-changing insight I had was that I didn't have to believe the thoughts in my head. I learned that human beings have anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 thoughts a day. We have no power over what thoughts pop into our heads. Our thoughts are just energy running through us. Random and up for grabs by any of us. I saw that the habitual insecure thoughts that were running through my head were not personal to me. They had nothing to do with who I was. They had set up camp in my head so long ago I didn't even question their validity. They were so familiar to me I accepted them without question.
I had innocently believed the thoughts such as I'm not good enough, pretty enough, intelligent enough, skinny enough, confident enough, etc., were telling me who I was. I had grabbed onto these thoughts and created a persona from them called "Del." I spent many futile years trying to change my thinking about myself. I believed that once I accomplished this, I would have more confidence and show up to life differently. Mantras and affirmations adorned my bathroom mirror to no avail!
The Principles taught me that I couldn't stop the thoughts that popped into my head, but I could alter how I related to them. So instead of trying to manipulate and change my beliefs about myself, I stopped taking them so seriously. The more I ignored them, the more they began to fade. I won't pretend that they don't show up now and again, but now I am on to them; they have lost their power over me.
I have so much compassion for my younger self and gratitude for where I am today. I see how I had innocently believed the negative thoughts in my head that told me that I was broken or defective. Just like the lotus flower emerging out of the mud, I see that I am not my self-limiting story, not my labels, not my experiences, not my past, and not my diagnosis. I see that I was never broken or lacking. I see that there was never anything wrong with me and that I didn't need to keep trying to fix myself.
Of course, things have happened to me in my life, but it was the meaning that I assigned to those events that caused me additional suffering, not just the events themselves. Did these events impact me? Yes. Did they damage me? No. I see that labeling myself as having low self-esteem was a simple misunderstanding. I realize now that I had never suffered from low self-esteem. I had merely forgotten who I am at my essence; a magnificent spiritual being, no better than or less than anyone else.
I laugh when I look back over my life and how I had innocently "made up" who I thought I was. I could have just as easily grabbed onto thoughts about myself that supported a belief that I was this amazing, accomplished, brilliant, beautiful person and then lived from that place.
The truth is we are free to entertain anything we want to believe about ourselves. Our personalities are not solid or set in stone. We are made of infinite potential. Recognizing the truth of who we are at our essence is the spiritual solution to low self-esteem.
Thanks to my unconventional/dysfunctional childhood growing up in the UK, and my personal challenges, including divorce and raising my two sons as a single parent, my practice is informed both by the empathy gained from real-life experience and my deeper studies of Spirituality and Psychology.
One of my specialties is helping people find The Way Out of Codependency and Narcissistic Abuse through the understanding of the 3 Principles. Using my down-to-earth and relatable approach to coaching and my commitment to creating a safe space to explore the Inside Out Understanding, I continue to serve a wide range of clients locally and remotely worldwide.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples' intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.