So many of us struggle with our sense of self-worth. "I don't deserve this love", "I don't deserve this happiness", "I don't deserve this opportunity"...these are common thoughts - sometimes lying low, sometimes front and centre.
Our feelings of unworthiness manifest into our life, showing up as not feeling connected to people, places or moments.
We never truly feel a part of life itself.
Things seem to go on around us yet in the background there is this sense of "I don't belong here".
Good things happen and we see it as a lucky break and that it won't last because we don't deserve complete and lasting joy.
Bad things happen and we see it as an "of course", thinking that we somehow deserve the sadness or disappointment.
When we lack self-worth, we cannot connect to the idea that we are an important player in our life and the world around us.
We can't connect to the feeling that we are the one in control of the outcome, it feels like we are an outsider always trying to look in.
It feels more like life is happening at us, not with us.
So we look for ways to prove our worth.
Ways to somehow find that missing connection, but never feeling it fully.
Because we lack inner connection, we only know to look outside of us.
This proof we seek isn't just to show others that we are worthy of love and attention, but to show ourselves, too.
To somehow convince ourselves that we are worth something.
We go that extra mile, we sacrifice our own needs, time, money, and/or energy in order to be there for others.
We say yes to things that we secretly want to say no.
We pretend to be happy when we are miserable.
We focus all our efforts on making sure that everyone around us feels and sees our worth.
Look at what a caring, giving person I am. Please. Because if you don't, I won't.
Because, if I don't give to you I don't really like myself too much (hate is such a strong word, but yep - it shows up too).
We need to experience the receiver's view of us to get us through.
To bring those fleeting moments of feeling good.
We are only worthy if others see us as such.
Yes, giving feels good. In fact, it is our true calling.
We are here to share, give, serve.
It feels good to do good!
It is living a life of purpose and fulfillment.
And, our society rewards giving. It is a badge of honour.
We are bombarded with the opportunity to give by the number of volunteer and donation requests we receive, sometimes on a daily basis.
So yes. To give feels awesome, no question.
The question we need to ask ourselves is "Why are we doing it?"
We need to ask this because the goodness of giving all the time can be a veil of deception. It hides the pain and insecurity of not TRULY feeling your worth.
The constant giving can become an addiction, offering a false feeling of worthiness.
Eventually this will lead to resentment and bitterness, and most definitely mental, emotional and physical burnout.
Let's go ahead and agree that we give for others - to help, to make them feel good.
However, if behind this lurks a: "I need to do this to feel worthy of something, anything, everything", and if you are giving to the point of exhaustion...there is work to be done.
Here is what we all MUST grasp (and it will take some time, but it is doable!):
OUR WORTH IS IN THE POTENTIAL WITHIN US.
Our worth is not based in our actions.
It is found in us even if:
We don't go to that family gathering that we are dreading because all we get is criticized when we are there.
We tell our friend that we can't help them move that weekend because we need to rest.
We don't make that chicken noodle soup for our sick aunt because we are totally exhausted.
We forgot our friend's birthday because there is just so much shit going on right now.
We order pizza tonight instead of creating a home cooked meal for our family because some nights need to be just a bit easier for us.
If we base our worth on what we DO out there, we will never feel worthy.
We can never do it all! Or we will completely collapse trying.
However, if we begin to see that our CAPACITY to do these things is always there, that the WILL to do these things is always there, that the POTENTIAL and WANT to do these things is always there...well then.
Are we not worthy then?
Are we not loving, caring humans no matter what we 'show'?
Seeing our potential is how we come to understand that we are worthy of love and other good things.
Seeing that 'we would if we could, but right now we can't' gives us the respect and appreciation that we deserve FROM OURSELVES.
It starts within.
Then, and only then, will we begin doing and giving FULLY.
From the space of self-worth.
We are no longer doing the good things to prove to ourselves and others that we are good enough and are only worthy if we perform in a certain way.
Once we see that we are a good person no matter what we do 'out there', then we know we are a good person ALL THE TIME.
We won't feel like shit because we didn't show up, give this or that, sacrifice our time or energy. And even if we do, it won't define us. It won't linger. It won't beat us up and down.
From now on, let's make a pact to practise the art of self-worth by reminding ourselves of who we truly are.
We ARE that person who wants to show up, who wants to give, who does care, who does love.
And when we can show up and give, we definitely will.
We want to. The desire is always there. And that is enough.
We will always give when we can, but we also recognize that there will be times when we can't.
AND THAT'S OKAY.
We are still worthy, loving, giving, caring human beings.
Let's give ourselves permission to say no when we need to and stop the 'doing' when we need to, by remembering that we don't need to DO in order to BE.
Our mantra: My worthiness is in my being, always.