Low self-worth? Feeling like a worm? The secret about worms is that they have incredible strength and power. Something so small can teach us something great.
At times he felt just like a worm. Failures, being taunted and bullied lead to despair swirling around him. It drove him into perfectly hidden self-pity and self-loathing.
The spiritual beliefs he had formed in his child’s thinking didn’t help either.
- You’re a sinner
- You’re going to hell
- Try harder
- Performance matters
What came out of this toxic soup was self-worth so low that he felt part of a prodigals pig slop.
Feel like a worm
When you feel like this then anything, and anyone can cross your boundaries.
There is nothing of value, and so, therefore, you don’t have anything worthy of protecting.
A downward spiral snakes its way around you.
I’ve known people who seem to spend their life at the bottom of the spiral staircase. Any movement up the staircase and they soon find the steps flap down at a sudden angle.
A ‘Dick Dastardly’ has a lever on the side and is just waiting to fold down the steps.
Nose hits the rug, and down they tumble.
Power of the tongue
It’s terrible to listen to someone when they are in the depths of a wormhole.
The words they speak give voice to long-held beliefs.
In the Bible we find a poet voicing the words of his heart.
But I am a worm, and not human Psalm 22:6
Speaking words like these have powerful implications for the way the brain operates.
Say it often enough, and you will, at a deep subconscious level, start to believe it as truth.
Logic may tell you one thing, that you have worth, but your heart and your belief systems will be set in worm cast concrete.
Every journey begins where you are. Larry Crabb
This where you must start.
Transformation always begins where you are. If in the depth of despair you feel like you’re a worm then that is the place to grow from.
Power of a worm
I am fascinated by worms. I read many years ago of the incredible earthmoving capabilities of the humble earthworm.
The king of earthworm research was Charles Darwin. He reported that an acre of garden soil could contain more than 50,000 earthworms and yield 18 tons of castings per year.
Earthworms are super strong.
Earthworm hatchlings can push at a monumental 500 times their weight; large adults can push at (only) a still impressive ten times their weight. Earthworms
Earthworms have strong muscles that enable them to push and pull themselves along.
For more interesting facts about worms click here.
Worms have agency
Agency is the capacity to act independently and to make choices.
We have agency, an ability to make choices and make changes, even at the smallest of levels.
It’s those microscopically small muscle movements of the earthworm that shifts the mountain.
It’s the same for us in that it’s our microscopic choices that will also shift our mountains.
Abusers, bullies, boundary-crossers, and critics (the inner critic is the worst) want to take away or to control our agency. They want to stop movement and have us under their control.
Victor Frankl, a survivor of the extermination camps of holocaust Germany, knew something of agency.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. Victor Frankl
The power of agency made a difference in his world then and can make a difference in your world now.
The worm can turn
A worm can turn, flex its muscle, push against its world and make change.
Building boundaries begins by growing love and respect for yourself. That you have agency, choice, an ability to respond. That you have worth and value.
It all begins with a little movement.
A flexing of the micro muscle, gaining some confidence and worth then transferring this belief into the next micro movement. Momentum builds, and you’re off changing your world.
When I think of the challenges ahead and the mountains with their dark, cold shadows, I remind myself with the picture of an earthworm stretching and relaxing its powerful God made muscles.
Perhaps change, becoming strong to the critic, is as simple as learning a micro-muscle movement. Then repeating it time and time again until it becomes normal.
If you’re in the wormhole of despair, remember you have agency. Then decide to change one very small little thing in your life. Keep doing this micro-movement and let confidence grow.
Quotes to consider
- The self that begins the journey of human unfolding is not the one that ends it. David G. Benner
- Understood correctly, our love for ourselves, our “yes” to our self, may be regarded as the “categorical imperative” of the Christian faith: You shall lovingly accept the humanity entrusted to you! You shall be obedient to your destiny! You shall not continually try to escape it! You shall be true to yourself! You shall embrace yourself! Our self-acceptance is the basis of the Christian creed. Assent to God starts in our sincere assent to ourselves, just as sinful flight from God starts in our flight from ourselves. —Johannes Baptist Metz
- Transformational changes always involve enlarging “me” and shrinking “them” or “it.” David G. Benner
Questions to answer
- What are some micro-movements you can make to strengthen your sense of self-worth?
- God surprises us even with the humble worm. What surprised you in this post?
- Building solid healthy self-worth is crucial to mental health. What belief systems destroy this from happening?
Image cc: Balthazar Morningstar