It’s a horrible feeling to have, not feeling important. Not feeling important to your family or friends; not feeling important at work; not even believing that you are important. The feeling pervades every fibre of your being and can zap a person’s confidence leading to symptoms of anxiety and depression.
How can a person believe this; live life this way; be treated this way?
In Transactional Analysis one of the concepts, injunctions, refers to people’s sense of being important. It’s written that people, when they were children, began to believe or associate with the message, ‘Don’t be important’. For example, they may have experienced being either subtly told or unconsciously believed that they were not important. Perhaps they had a parent who wanted the spotlight on themselves, offering no light to their child. Or maybe the child learnt through the difficulties they experienced, that they were worthless. These traumas led them to believe, they didn’t deserve to feel important, because their life had shown them they didn’t have value.
By themselves, not everyone can rise above the obstacles that get in their way, so for some, their development gets hampered by the lack of warmth and nurturing they experienced when they were younger. Rather than holding a healthy self-belief and valuing their place in the world, they can anxiously hide in the shadows, fearing stepping into the light. Not believing they belong there or scared of what others will say.
Through a process of self-care with an exploration of their life in therapy, a person can begin to understand the influences of the experiences they lived through. Take account of the words used to define them when they were young. Recognise how their view of themselves when they were a child, may still be impacting how they live their life today as an adult. They can then look to build a healthier relationship with themselves and others.
We all have value and we are all unique. Getting to appreciate our own importance can be essential for our mental health. Bringing greater autonomy, increased self-awareness and greater compassion for ourselves and others.