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Claim Your Brilliance

By Holly Alastra, MS, RD, LCPC

June 13, 2014

 

You Are A Good Person

I used to hate myself. Even so, I desperately wanted to be loved. I lived my teen and young adult years trying to show others that I wasn't the worthless person I believed myself to be. Yet nothing I ever achieved was enough. No accomplishment ever made me feel fulfilled. I was lacking inside, and this lack led me to constantly strive for more.

Rather than turning outside of myself to fill me up, I needed to turn inside-to come to know the person that was good enough just as she was. I needed to learn to love myself before I could fully accept the love of others. This was a mighty big task given that I had so little self-worth.

You see, I was abused as a child, and when I was whipped with a belt or touched inappropriately, I thought it was my fault. I thought there was something wrong with me to make my abuser attack me.

One in three women have been abused. If you've been abused, either physically, sexually, or verbally, how do you think it has affected your sense of worth? My guess is that it has made you feel just like it made me feel-like you are a terrible person underneath your looks or talent or achievements.

I used to be enraged at my abuser. But part of me also loved him. I knew that he loved me and meant the best for me despite what he had done. I knew that he never meant to hurt me. He just couldn't control himself.

For a long time, I didn't see why I needed to forgive him. I didn't realize that my resentment toward him was keeping me stuck. I would think, "I was abused, and so I need food to cope. He ruined my life, and bingeing is the only way I can feel better."

Child abuse is never okay, and my forgiveness was not a pardon from the hurt inflicted upon me. Rather, it was a declaration that I refuse to let the past define me. I realized that staying resentful of the events that happened in my past kept me from being happy in the present moment. By refusing to forgive my abuser, I was subconsciously telling myself that he was still hurting me. He didn't just hurt me once, but hundreds or thousands of times through my thoughts. I was giving up all my power.

I didn't want to be hurt anymore. So I started to believe that nothing could prevent me from becoming healthy and "normal" as a grown woman. I made up my mind to no longer define myself based on my past.

Today, I aim to view my abuser with compassion. He has had a very hard life himself. His experiences hurt him, and he hurt me as a result. I can appreciate him for the good times growing up, and for his intelligence and ambition. As far as my own life, I focus on what is going right for me. I am only as damaged as I believe myself to be. And I don't believe I'm damaged at all anymore.

If you've been abused, maybe it's hard for you to believe that you are truly a good person and that your life is invaluable. So I'm here to tell you that no matter what you've been through, at your core you are wonderful, important, loving... GOOD. You are worthy just as you are. And you DESERVE the best in life.

I wouldn't wish abuse on anyone, but if you can relate, I know that you are stronger for it. In my view, the measure of a person isn't dependent on his or her achievements, but on what he or she has overcome.

Choose to see every experience in your life as making you into the unique, multifaceted person you are. Begin to notice your good qualities, and what's right in your life. Find your brilliance and let it shine!

--- Copyright © 2014 Holly Alastra
Holly Alastra is a licensed therapist and registered dietitian who has written a memoir, Naughty Girl, about growing up in a violent and abusive home and her later struggles with deadly eating disorders. Naughty Girl is available as an e-book on Amazon.com. Though Holly spent many years of her life hating and hurting herself, the story is ultimately inspirational, showing the ability of the human spirit to triumph over hardship and misfortune. Check it out on Amazon now!

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