Updated: May 19, 2020
Self-worth is a funny thing, isn't it? Everyone has what I call our sense of self-worth, which is a completely internal thing. It always seems to remain intact from what I have noticed, until something on the outside changes. It could be a significant person in your life or your circumstances, or maybe your health - but something usually has to shift on the outside in order for you to start questioning what's been pretty solid on the inside. It's pretty unusual that nothing changes around you and one day you just wake up and have completely different thoughts about yourself - going from confident and worthy to questionably deserving and self-loathing.
This came up in my life recently in a very big way. I thought I was solid. Things were good. I was doing my yoga, journaling and meditating, and talking the right spiritual talk and everything seemed solid.
But as soon as circumstances and conversations with significant people in my life started to shift, immediately I started to question myself, my value, and my worth. I felt like I was standing on a slippery slope instead of the rock solid ground I had been standing on just weeks ago. Where I used to think, "You got this, girl," I was now thinking, "Oh no, are you sure you can do that?" And where I had closed up my self-worth insecurities of my distant past, there now seemed to be a gaping hole in an open wound of self-confidence. Things that hadn't come up in a long time popped back up and the trigger button might as well have been openly available to everyone I was having a conversation with.
It didn't take long for me to begin to "hear" myself and realize what I was doing. It didn't take long to understand the irony of realizing this pattern with clients I had worked with in the past and how quickly we got to work on self-love and worthiness issues. But in my personal situation, even though I had known my doubts were real and worthiness was in question, I was refusing to recognize that it was significant enough to do something. Although there were lots of signs and feelings, I was doing a great job of dismissing them.
The true message in self-worth and love is understanding that you (and I) are worthy of love no matter what. The foundation of self-love is self-acceptance. And knowing your worth is understanding that you are perfect exactly as you are - with all your flaws. As we like to say, "flawesome," is the new perfect. If you strive for perfection you will never be happy because it is not achievable. If you set out to be whole, rather than perfect, you will be more likely to find happiness.
When you begin to believe that you need others' approval, love, and acceptance that is where the wheels begin to come off. I really believe that is what started to happen with me this time. I was rolling along just fine, staying in my own lane, and then suddenly circumstances and traffic around me started to shift. And that was my, "Oh shit!" moment! So I began questioning my self instead of questioning other drivers (partner, friends, others) around me over and over until one day I had the realization that I was okay. I hadn't done anything to deserve less. I had just forgotten that I did.
Looking back at it now, this just lets me know that I hadn't done all the work that I thought I had done from my old festering self-love wounds from the past. Those pesky feelings of being an invisible child, the havoc of the alcoholic first husband and the traumatic death of the love of my life. All of these took a toll on my self-worth and dimmed the light of my self-love.
So here I am today in chapter four of "doing the work." Like I said, self-worth seems to remain intact until circumstances or people around you shift and mine indeed has. I truly believe that one of the best qualities a person can have is self-awareness and I am constantly working to brighten mine and take it to the next level. My new mindset these days is - I am worthy of the love, happiness, peace and abundance that I desire, no matter what the circumstances of my life are. And more importantly, my new awareness is that my self-worth is not affected by anyone or anything. It is "my" worth - no one else's.
If you are struggling with self-worth or searching for your understanding of your own self-love, I'd love to hear from you. This is a journey that never ends for some of us. It is very real and I know that it touches many who are unable to admit it.