THE DEVASTATING IMPACT OF THE SELF-LOVE MYTH

 

In May 2011, my picture perfect life was in place. I was married, had a beautiful 4 year old daughter and had just given birth to my second beautiful daughter. We had ticked the boxes, my then partner and I had worked hard to achieve the dream of having a beautiful family and owning our dream home but something was missing. Just 2 months later my world was shattered, my trust had been betrayed. Things spiralled and in November 2011 we separated.

Repetition of a past relationship breakdown ending in betrayal by a partner, I knew that the common denominator was me. As I looked at my daughters and the understanding that there was a high probability that this pattern would be passed down generationally, I knew I had to break this pattern and so my awakening began. With the love and support of my extended family I began the journey of self-discovery, healing and most importantly self-love.

From my own experience I knew that a lack of self-love was what was creating this pattern in my life. Fuelled by my own experience and stories shared by work colleagues from the past, friends, and countless strangers who openly shared their own or family struggles with depression, anxiety, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, addictions, violent relationships, attempted suicides, self-harm and eating disorders – I knew I wanted to work in the area of growing self-love.

I looked into various avenues to help others and decided very quickly that life coaching aligned with my beliefs and what I wanted to achieve. As part of my accreditation a research project needed to be undertaken. My choice was obvious – to identify if there was a gap in the area of growing self-love in young girls and women and whether coaching could assist in this area.

As part of this research I wanted to understand the reality of the situation and was devastated by what I found. I have held on to this information for a while not wanting to cause fear and upset but now view this from a different perspective – if we as a society are not aware of the problem we cannot take steps to change this situation.

Children are increasingly being diagnosed as anxious and depressed, developing eating disorders and addictions, labelled with behavioural problems, suffering bullying and isolation, developing low self-esteem and a poor body image and experiencing a chronic lack of self-esteem and confidence.

The flow on effect of these childhood issues leads to more severe issues during adulthood if left unaddressed such as unhealthy intimate relationships, drug and alcohol addiction, suicide, mental health issues and physical health issues.

The issue that I have interpreted as a result of a lack of self love is alarming and devastating across the spectrum of young girls through to women not only in Australia but throughout the world. I believe this is as a result of the belief held that to love one’s self is wrong or conceited.

Below are some statistics that demonstrate the problem in Australia and I have put it in terms of a classroom of 30 so you can perhaps think back to those you shared a classroom with as a child or perhaps the class that your daughters are currently in. Please note these statistics were taken from various sources so the whole picture is not known. That is there may be overlaps of some of these statistics eg a girl that self-harms may also have a mental disorder or eating disorder or she also may not – this is unclear. :

4-10 year olds

  • Mental disorders – 4.2 girls in a class of 30
  • Experience bullying – 4.5 girls aged 8 and above in a class of 30
  • Sexual Abuse – 6.2 girls in a class of 30
  • Self-harm – no firm statistics available
  • Eating disorders – no firm statistics available
  • Emotional abuse – no firm statistics available

11-15 year olds

  • Self-harm – 2 girls in a class of 30
  • Mental disorders – 4.2 girls in a class of 30
  • Experience bullying – 4.5 girls in a class of 30
  • Physical violence – 6 girls aged 12-14 years in a class of 30
  • Sexual Abuse – 6.2 girls in a class of 30
  • Emotional Abuse from a partner – 7.5 girls aged 15+ years in a class of 30
  • High/Very high stress levels of psychological distress – 7.8 girls in a class of 30
  • Poor Body Image – 21 girls in a class of 30
  • Eating Disorders – 2.7 girls in a class of 30

16-17 year olds

  • Attempted suicide – 1.4 girls in a class of 30
  • Mental disorders – 4.2 girls in a class of 30
  • Experience bullying – 4.5 girls in a class of 30
  • Considered attempted suicide – 4.6 girls in a class of 30
  • Self-harm – 5 girls in a class of 30
  • Diagnosed as having Major Depressive disorder – 5 girls in a class of 30
  • Sexual Abuse – 6.2 girls in a class of 30
  • Emotional Abuse from a partner – 7.5 girls aged 15+ years in a class of 30
  • High/Very high stress levels of psychological distress – 7.8 girls in a class of 30
  • Poor Body Image – 21 girls in a class of 30
  • Eating Disorders – 2.7 girls in a class of 30

18 years and up

  • In 2012, 59 females aged 15-19 years and 51 aged 20-24 years died by suicide. (‘Causes of death’ publication from the Australian Bureau of Statistics)
  • Around 12 % of women have been diagnosed with mental health conditions, but over 20% report symptoms of poor mental health.
  • 9% of women have an eating disorder (National Eating Disorders Collaboration)
  • 14% of young women across all age groups reported experience of sexual assault or rape, compared to 3% of young women who had experienced violence believing it was because they chose the wrong partner (Sety, 2012).
  • One woman dies every week from domestic violence (White Ribbon Australia, 2013). 36 % of people experience violence reporting that the violence was witnessed by children in their care (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2014) and in 39% of hospitalised cases for assault against young people, the perpetrator was a parent, carer or other family member (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012)

Although the data presented here is focussed in Australia the devastating effects of the self-love myth are across the globe. It is unacceptable and we all need to act. Enough talk I believe we all need to act and to start we each need to take stock of our own relationship with ourselves and what we are modelling to the next generation. It is time to dispel the self-love myth. If you feel moved or please share this article with others to raise awareness.

 

Thankyou for your time,

Love from me

Karen

Karen Ormston is a Professional Life Coach, Intuitive Guide and ThetaHealing Practitioner who is the owner-director of Petite Soul Sanctuary. www.petitesoulsanctuary.com.au

References

  • ‘Causes of death’ publication 2012 from the Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents, 2015
  • Australian Human Rights Commission 2014
  • Sety, 2012
  • White Ribbon Australia, 2013
  • Australian Human Rights Commission, 2014
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2012
  • Centres Against Sexual Assault Forum 2017