“Self-loathing is a dark land studded with booby traps. Fumbling through its dark underbrush, we cannot see what our trouble actually is: that we are mistaken about ourselves. That we were told lies long ago that we, in love and loyalty and fear, believed. Will we believe ourselves to death?” —from Unworthy
As someone who has struggled with low self-esteem her entire life, Anneli Rufus knows only too well how the world looks through the eyes of those who are not comfortable in their own skin. In Unworthy, Rufus boldly explores how a lack of faith in ourselves can turn us into our own worst enemies.
Drawing on extensive research, enlightening interviews, and her own poignant experiences, Rufus considers the question: What personal, societal, biological, and historical factors coalesced to spark this secret epidemic, and what can be done to put a stop to it? She reveals the underlying sources of low self-esteem and leads us through strategies for positive change.
Rufus (Stuck) provides a practical, if heartbreaking, roadmap for those who loathe themselves, offering advice on how to break the cycle while explaining the myriad reasons why the cycle begins in the first place. The book is especially gripping in that Rufus lays her own soul bare throughout, revealing herself as a charter member of the hating-yourself-club and sharing her dysfunctional relationship with her mother. With an empathetic voice, she leads her fellow travelers down the path to recovery; reframing personality flaws as coping mechanisms and past suffering as lessons. Rufus examines common self-esteem traps including undeserved loyalty and regret and shows how to mentally disable these bombs. She offers healing strategies such as considering what makes you happy and realizing that the cruel dictator in your head is wrong and is realistic in underlining that said healing will take time and effort. Rufus also takes a look at potential upsides of having spent years with low self-esteem, and closes with a moving "benediction": Always With You,/ All Forgiven,/ All Days New Days,/ Safe With Me. This book should be required reading for anyone suffering from low self-esteem, and while it will likely cause readers to tear up repeatedly, the empathy and grounded advice is sure to help inspire healing.
I read this book a few years and it drastically changed my perspective on self loathing. The author is vulnerable enough that you can grow with her epiphanies and break free of the chains. So many book highlights, so many lessons. I thank the author for her serious work on this issue. She certainly changed my life, along with a friend whom I also bought the book for!