By Gwendolyn Young
What do you do when you struggle with valuing yourself and knowing how to handle relationships with boys when you haven’t felt valued and/or loved at home, especially by your father? — Looking for Love
Dear Looking For Love:
It’s hard when you don’t feel valued or loved at home, especially by your father. It can create feelings of self-doubt and emptiness, prompting endless silent questions, such as ‘Why am I not good enough?’, ‘Why doesn’t he love me?’, ‘Why can’t he see how this is hurting me?’ Fathers are such a key element in our lives, but unfortunately some of them don’t yet realize just how important their love is.
Although it strengthens us emotionally when we have the affirmations, approval and love from others (especially our family), it is up to us to value ourselves. Believe it or not, no one else can do it. And the process has to begin on the inside. If we don’t value ourselves, we will continue to look for outside sources, such as men and/or boys, sex, food, drugs, people or things to validate us and fill that empty hole. Rest assured, they may satisfy you for a while, but these temporary fillers will only eventually leave you feeling empty inside.
So you must begin with you. You must know that you were born and created for a purpose and you have value. This is a good time to rely on your faith, seek out individuals who are positive in your life and are striving for good and excellence, and get involved in a worthy cause. Think about joining a community organization or becoming active in a local church. Embrace the phenomenon called YOU! You set your value and you decide how boys and men will treat you. VFP
This column is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical, legal or financial advice. Questions may be submitted anonymously or via pseudonym to email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Gwendolyn Young, M.A., C.P.C., is the Executive Director of Seed of Hope Foundation, a nonprofit girls mentoring organization based in Westchester.