Everyone involved in an affair takes a huge hit to their sense of self worth. I remember feeling totally worthless – I described it as chewed up and spat out – not a pretty visual but real. My husband wasn’t feeling that great either. He had violated all the standards he had for himself and his marriage and he was struggling with feeling good about himself when he had sunk to such a personal low.
It is only natural that we should want the people we love most in the world to think of us as good and valuable people. But where it gets confusing is when we believe that we need this or somehow require this in order to feel worthy or valuable, when in reality our sense of worth and value must come from deep within ourselves. Other people’s actions do not determine our self worth. This is really important to remember and internalise (really believe it in our bones) to ensure resilience in times of life stress or negative events or even just to live in an ever changing world.
So if you are the betrayed spouse you need to focus on the fact that your partner’s behavior says nothing about your value as a person – your value does not diminish because of their choices.
And if you are the unfaithful partner you need to focus on putting the wrongs to right and do what you can to live to the standards you desire for yourself. In doing so you will be able to move past your mistakes and see your true value.
Working through the following steps will help both of you get back in touch with your true value and sense of self worth:
- Do loving and nurturing things for yourself – we value the things and people we look after. This includes ourselves. It is hard to value someone you spend no time nurturing.
- Give up comparisons – there are 7 billion people in this world and there will always be some with more and some with less. Instead replace comparisons with gratitude for what you do have. It will be amazing how much better you will feel.
- Create a list of qualities you like about yourself and add to it regularly until you get to at least 100. Pull it out regularly and remember all of them especially if someone tries to tell you otherwise.
- Develop self-compassion – the ability to be kind to oneself when confronting personal inadequacies or situational diﬃculties. Sometimes we all fall short of how we would like to be. That is what makes us human. To maintain our sense of self we need to have enough compassion for ourselves that we can recognize that essentially we are not the mistakes we make. We need to put the wrong right and forgive ourselves.
- Watch how you talk to yourself. Is your inner voice harsh and critical or kind and loving. Cultivate the kind and loving voice. To be valuable you do not need to be perfect or in fact anything more than human.