If you struggle with low self esteem, and you don’t get the acknowledgment you think or feel that you deserve, it can crush your ego and torture your soul. Add to this, if you have a low sense of self worth , then a little recognition or acknowledgment can sometimes be as detrimental as none at all. You get a taste for it, but you don’t get to enjoy the meal day after day. Like a secret addiction that you don’t want to admit to, it can drive you mad as you crave it more and more. This can be especially true for creative people, and also those in small business, in terms of their finished product or the service they offer. As any reformed addict will tell you, addiction gets in the way of your ability to survive and thrive. An addiction gets in the way of your relationships, your health, and your ability to earn a living and make money, and in this case, it may be the thing that stands in the way of your ability to make money from your business or your art. When you become obsessed about being recognised for your creative efforts then you are in danger of becoming addicted to recognition and acknowledgment. Naturally, it’s a fantastic feeling to be recognised for your efforts, and even if you are truly grateful for that acknowledgment, your gratitude or theirs alone will not pay the bills. Addiction in any form, and in this case, being addicted to recognition and acknowledgment, contributes to a lack of money. Addiction stands in the way of your personal power. It reduces your financial power, your power to relate to others and yourself, and ultimately, your creative and spiritual power.
It’s good to be recognised for what you produce or the service you offer, but someone with a healthy self esteem is not bothered if they are not. Someone with a healthy self esteem does it for themselves because they love it, and for the personal satisfaction that it gives them. Those with a healthy self esteem will quickly recognise when their good nature is being taken advantage of by others, and they will do what is necessary to rectify the situation. If you are someone who is addicted to recognition and acknowledgement, then you will need some time to get over the rejection. You will need time to heal your emotional wounds. However, if you are not addicted to recognition or acknowledgment, then the rejection will be less of a problem for you. You won’t be too upset when you don’t get it. The artist, the inventor and the creator, each have a history of suffering.
Many creative or inventive people often have a fragile sense of self worth and self esteem. Fragility seems to be a constant companion to the artist or creative person. Part of the story of the artist involves varying degrees of suffering, which appears to accompany their different levels of self esteem. Vincent Van Gogh is a familiar and somewhat extreme example. He is now known for his tragic lack of self worth and suffering almost as much as his art, which he had great difficulty selling while he was alive. He was ridiculed for his techniques and subject matter. Van Gogh was poor and unsuccessful in relationships. He cut off his own ear, and was considered quite mad by most people around him. In the end, he shot himself. These days, he is considered one of the brilliant, ground breaking pioneers in the field. It’s a tragic story that outlines the effects of low self esteem on the genius of the artist. Was he addicted to recognition and acknowledgment? Who can really say, but if you are obsessed with it, then you will be very upset when you don’t get enough of it to satisfy your craving for it. If you are addicted to it, then your survival will be under threat because of it.
There are many forms of addiction beyond craving recognition and acknowledgment. You can be addicted to perfection. If you have a low sense of self-worth, and you are addicted to perfection then you will be very upset if you are criticised. You will need a lot of time to heal.
If you are addicted to certain beliefs that no longer serve you and you are yet to realise they do not, then you will be very upset and defensive when they are challenged. You will also need more time than someone with healthy self-esteem might need, in order to bring yourself back to feeling good about yourself again.
If you are addicted to power and control, then you will always feel powerless and out of control. You will be unhappy and upset until you have a lot of power and control, but as every addict knows, there will never be enough to satisfy the addiction, because an addict wants a constant supply and that supply must increase as their cravings get stronger.
What’s your addiction? There are many more than are mentioned here. Some are less obvious than those you may ordinarily encounter, such as an addiction to alcohol, gambling, drugs, sex or money, although, in some cases and in varying degrees, they may be tied to each other.
Addictions are an extreme and excessive use of energy. It’s energy that has been used in an unconscious and destructive way, rather than a conscious and constructive manner. To overcome your addiction you can take a leaf out of the 12 step recovery program used by those addicted to alcohol and narcotics. It has been done with great success by others in the field of personal and spiritual development, and most notably, by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way. Here they are in brief, and modified to suit this purpose.
1. The first step is to admit that you are powerless over your addiction and that your life is unmanageable as a result.
2. The second step is to believe that a power greater than yourself can restore you and your life to a better balance. This possibility increases once you have defined your own understanding of a Higher Power.
3. The third step asks you to make a decision to turn your will and your life over to the care of that Higher Power.
4. The fourth step is to search inside your heart and mind, and make a fearless moral inventory of your self, including the good, bad and ugly.
5. The fifth step involves admitting to a Higher Power, to your self, and to another human being the exact nature of your weaknesses and wrongs.
6. The sixth step requires you to be ready to have your understanding of a Higher Power remove all these defects of character.
7. The seventh step directs you to humbly ask the Higher Power to remove your shortcomings.
8. The eighth step, you are to make a list of all persons you have hurt. You have to be willing to make amends to them all.
9. The ninth step reinforces the eighth step by asking you to make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. The tenth step asks that you continue to take personal inventory and when you are wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. The eleventh step tells you to seek through prayer or meditation to improve your conscious contact with the Higher Power asking only for knowledge of the Higher Power’s will for you, and the power to carry that out.
12. The twelfth step tells you that having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, you tried to carry this message to other addicts. This step instructs you to practice your spiritual principles in all your affairs.
Along with a sponsor, or mentor, and group support, the qualities of trust, faith, honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, humility, surrender and acceptance and more are called upon and nurtured to help those who are courageous enough to work though these steps.
Your self-esteem and sense of self worth can be measured by how well you value yourself. When you learn to hold these qualities in high esteem, they become your values. When you embody these values, your values will inform you about fulfilling your destiny and how to live your truth. This process increases your self esteem, which is your source of personal power. When you combine your personal power with a Higher Power, then you enter the realm of co-creation. It’s one way to overcome the addictions that create barriers to your ability to not just survive, but to thrive.