I put worthiness at the beginning of everything that I do. I tell my clients about it the first time we talk and it’s the first lesson in all my workshops. Understanding worthiness is the groundwork for everything that comes later, because when things get hard, and we trip and find ourselves scraped up, lying on the ground, worthiness will be right there.
Everyday we are bombarded by advertisements that sell us products which require us to believe that we aren’t skinny enough, smart enough, pretty enough, etc. And to the extent that we buy into those ideas (whether we buy the product or not), it takes a toll.
But this doesn’t tell the whole story. Too often we hear about successful, rich, famous, talented people who by all external measures are doing really well, and are totally miserable, struggling with addiction or poor mental health. If worthiness were only a matter of attainment this wouldn’t happen, because their success would be proof of their worthiness and that would make them happy and fulfilled.
So what explains the lack of worthiness that is so pervasive in our culture?
I believe that the struggle many of us are having is not with worthiness at all. Because most people, when they say self worth, are really talking about self esteem.
Self Esteem vs Self Worth:
Self esteem is something that goes up and down depending on external feedback from the world. It looks like a rollercoaster or a sine wave. It is contingent by nature.
Self worth is static. It is the ground we stand on. There is no debating it. It doesn’t require proof or approval, it just is. It is inherent by nature.
The reality is we live in a culture that lacks a collective belief system for inherent worth of people. This means individuals are left trying to cultivate and practice their own inherent worth belief system - all while continuing to inhale the exhaust from the self esteem culture. Shifting to an inherent worth belief system is some of the hardest work we can do, but the reward is living a full life.
Usually we don’t get to choose worthiness and walk into the sunset. The contingent self worth mindset will claw at you to get you to return to old patterns. You might even say to yourself that this whole thing is silly and give up. But just knowing that inherent self worth and contingent self worth are two different beliefs systems and YOU can choose which to live with is a great first step towards being more aware of which one you currently live by, and whether or not it’s serving you.
For me, in every instance I have encountered, inherent worthiness serves me better to live fully, love fully, and bring the best version of myself to the world. That’s why worthiness comes first.
So, with that said, this is the ground that I choose to walk on:
I am inherently worthy, just because I exist, and so are you.