Self Worth. Sometimes your greatest teachers in life had no idea what they taught you. Especially those who treated you the worst. The day you said, "I deserve much better that this" was the day you graduated from their class.
I have a handful of gals in my world that are all going through some pretty tumultuous times right about now. Much of what they are dealing with mirrors some of the very same things I am moving through in my own life. I’ve noticed a common thread between us all, that once all the details have been extracted, we are all on the receiving end of a huge lesson in self-worth.
They are either at the tipping point in their relationship, wrestling with their fears and uncertainty of what life will look like going forward without their mate or have are coming to terms with the end of a relationship and are left picking up the pieces to start anew. Many of them perceive themselves as a victims of circumstance, feeling horribly hard done by and are branding their other as “the bad guy”. I’m not disputing that, because when a relationship comes to an end it stirs up all kinds of stuff and people become stuck in a space of hurt and fear. Bitterness creeps in, the good times and love once shared gets swallowed up into a pit of quicksand that draws us further into a defensive position and the further we sink, the more “wrong” we make the other person. Sadly, we begin to lose sight, people get crazy, and the person we thought we knew is a stranger.
So the digging starts, and the search for evidence to make our actions justifiable begins. We become so caught up in being “right” that we fail to see the bigger picture. The fight is on, it’s a dog eat dog world after all – eat or be eaten. Right?
So what does this have to do with self-worth you ask?
I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that the people and experiences that are part of our lives are all here to teach us something. That “something” is meant to move us closer to being the best and highest version of ourselves. The women in my life, myself included, that our currently finding themselves in the eye of a storm all have a few things in common. I see myself in all of them, no matter how far into the quicksand they have stepped.
They have lost themselves in their relationship or family life. When our identity becomes lost in what we are doing and the roles we take on we become disconnected within ourselves. Years ago, when asked at a course I took, who are you? I answered, “I am a wife and a mother”. That’s all I could come up with and it bothered me. I couldn’t see the forest through the trees. I put every ounce of who I was into my family. I stopped investing in myself and didn’t pursue anything outside of that. My top value was my family, so I put my energy into that. It wasn’t wrong, but in loosing myself I forgot to feed the other parts of me. What I’ve since realized is I’m so much more than that. We all are. Pursue something - anything that floats your boat outside of the role you assume in your day to day life. Feed the parts of you that need feeding, allow yourself to uncover and celebrate everything that makes you who you are. It will only serve to make you love yourself more.
They are disempowered in some life areas and have relied on their other half to take over the reins. I’ve spoken of this before, when we are disempowered and unbalanced in certain life areas dependency is created. While I had areas in my life that I was empowered in; family, physical and spiritual, I was lacking in others; education, career and finances. My husband at that time made up for where I was lacking and as a result of that I became dependant. That dependency was part of a recipe that allowed for a degree of control. Because I relied on him to handle this all and did not develop the areas where I was lacking I came to believe that I wasn’t capable of looking after myself. As a result my self-worth was diminished and when challenges arose in our marriage I came to a place of resignation, my fears and self-devaluation caused me to deny and repress what was happening. I swept so much under the rug, it was easier to do that, than face the reality that I felt powerless to make a life on my own. The single thing most important thing that I have learned in all of this is; if you are full and balanced across the board your relationship will not be based on need. A true feeling of self-worth cannot be had as long as we are looking for something or someone else to make up for what we are missing.
They have a belief that in order to love, personal sacrifice is required. Sacrifice NO. Compromise, YES! It’s a vital part of any lasting and healthy relationship. A relationship that based on a “my way or the highway” mentality is not mutually fulfilling. By catering to every whim and desire of another and shelving your own builds resentment, causes self-minimization and leads to a lack of self and other respect. Trying to build relationships by sacrificing our own needs, values and personal integrity is the equivalent of living under a dictatorship. The exception in relationships being that we have a choice in this. By loving ourselves and feeling deserving enough to have our own needs met we bring about relationships that mirror this back to ourselves.
So girlfriends, I’ll leave you with this; no matter how someone is showing up in your life, know that ultimately the buck stops with you. You are not a victim. If you believe you are not worthy, powerless and unlovable know someone or something will show up and push the envelope. It may start with whispers, and if you chose not to listen the whispers will get so loud that they become impossible to ignore. This may show itself to you in the form of disrespectful behavior, infidelity, some form of abuse or anything that causes you to question your worth. What you believe yourself to be deserving of will show itself to you, in an “in your face” kind of way so that you can face it and heal. You are the only one that has the power to change the circumstances of your situation. You might just have to make a bold and glorious stand for yourself, and that person that is pushing your buttons is inviting you to do it. You don’t need to take it personal, be filled with hate of vengeance, but rather see it as a wonderful lesson in learning your worth. The big changes and growth don’t come without a set of challenges.
Call this God’s (or insert your word for God here) will. Everything is born from the divine. Even our perceived heartaches and troubles. They serve to bring our attention to what isn’t working, so that we can start creating the change within. A good friend of mine keeps reminding me of this and says, “God leaves nothing unattended”. Trust that.
Chin up, stand strong, keep in all in stride and LOVE YOURSELF because it all starts within.
Dedicated to my girlfriends and those that have helped me find my worth.