Yeah. It’s hard to believe we matter, when we don’t, or didn’t, seem to matter to the people who should care about our existence. 

Lots of us use that experience— of whether we seemed matter to those people— as our baseline for determining whether we do, in fact, matter. 

Very often I’ll tell someone they matter— and they’ll disagree. 

How is it possible that I matter, when I didn’t matter to my parents? 

How is it possible that I matter, when I apparently didn’t matter enough for that relationship partner to fight for me? 

How is it possible that I matter, when I withdraw, and nobody seems to notice or care? 

When we’re convinced we don’t matter, we filter everything through that belief— and we’ll find TONS of “evidence” that we just don’t matter. 

Sometimes our brain will then pile on, and tell us we don’t matter because we don’t “contribute” anything of value to anyone. 

We get convinced that in order to have “value” as a human, we need to contribute value to other people in very specific, measurable ways…and if we don’t, we “must” be worthless. 

After years— decades, sometimes— of all of this, we wind up in a place where we are convinced we are worthless and we don’t matter. 

And if we’re convinced we’re worthless and that we don’t matter, we simply don’t see the point of trying to improve our lives or NOT go down self-destructive behavioral paths. 

Trauma and addiction recovery ask us to take a radically different approach to the question of whether and how we matter. 

It asks us to start out from the premise that we DO matter— whether or not we SEEMED to matter to those to whom we should supposedly matter the most. 

It asks us to start out from the premise that we DO have value— even if we’ve been in positions in our life where we didn’t SEEM to contribute much, if anything, to other peoples’ lives. 

Mind you: YOU don’t have to accept those premises, if you don’t want to. All I know is that I strongly do accept those premises. 

I think you matter, and I think you have value— whether or not anybody has seen it or expressed it. 

I think sh*t happens in life that prevents us from contributing to the world at times. It’s hard to contribute to the world when you’re busy just trying to survive. 

I think people DO have value— even if the people in their lives, such as their parents or caretakers, don’t see it or don’t express it. 

I don’t think our value or worth decreases if the people around us can’t or don’t see our value. 

I don’t think our value or worth decreases if we happen to be in a position at the moment where all we can do is keep our head above water. 

I don’t think our value or worth decreases even if we have painful things happen to us.

I don’t think our value or worth decreases if we go through periods where we make decisions we later come to regret. 

At the risk of sounding controversial, I think we’re all human, and sh*t happens. 

If we’re going to realistically recover from addiction or trauma, we have to start out by “acting as if” we DO matter. 

As if we DO deserve better. 

As if we DO deserve the benefit of the doubt. 

As if we DO deserve support and dignity. 

I know— that flies in the face of a LOT of our old conditioning. 

“I don’t matter” and “I am worthless” are beliefs that die hard— especially if we’ve been accumulating “evidence” for those beliefs for decades. 

But beliefs change. 

Beliefs change every day. 

Even strongly held beliefs. Even beliefs that have been held for a long time. 

It all starts with openness to the possibilities. 

Opening the door a teeny, tiny bit to “maybe I do matter.” 

“Maybe I do have worth.” 

“Maybe ‘they’ shouldn’t be the standard by which I judge myself.” 

Just crack that door. 

It all stars here. 

One thought on “But what if you DO matter?

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