I believe the need to feel worthy is the most difficult requirement in today's society for women
I want to share my expanded vision for the WISE Women Network: that together we are all WORTHY, INSPIRED, SUPPORTED and ENGAGED.
I want to get into the WORTH piece today, at least a little bit (because it's a BIG issue for us). I believe the need to feel worthy is the most difficult requirement in today's society for women. It is also the desire that is least often addressed or satisfied. It's almost gotten trite, this notion of self-worth. But cynicism around the idea does not change the need for it. And when I talk to women, it is so often the core of that sense that all of us have had... "this isn't enough, I'm not enough, I never have enough."
Let me start by saying: You are perfect. I'd like to say that one more time. You are perfect, just as you are. Are you able to accept that statement, or do you resist it? Does it bring tears to your eyes? That's not uncommon. I've met very few women who had full faith in their own worthiness. Our mistake is to believe that everything we've done "wrong" makes us unworthy. Our mistake is to believe that our mistakes define us. Our mistakes and our wrongs actually make us who we are - and are perfectly suited to what we can achieve with our lives. No mistakes = no lessons. No lessons = No growth. No growth = Stagnation. And we all know what happens to a stagnant pond. For humans, a stagnant life leads to self-loathing, boredom and destructive behaviors. We are not here to be stagnant. We are here to thrive.
Every situation you've lived through has made you the person you are today, and there is purpose to your experience. While it's true there is room for improvement in all of our lives, the most damaging thoughts you can buy into are those that tell you that you're broken and must fix yourself. That's just not true. You are not broken and, while we can all benefit from self-improvement and self-care, there is nothing about you that needs to be fixed.
It's probable you encountered conditional acceptance as a child. I've never encountered anyone who didn't. You could have had these experiences at home, at school, or within your community. As you matured, you learned that you would be accepted if you followed the rules of those you sought acceptance from. At home, you may have been required to follow your parents' rules. At school, your teacher had a list of expectations for your behavior, and your classmates likely had rules of their own.
When you were accepted by the people in each of these environments, you learned that you were okay. Each time you experienced rejection or were punished, you learned that a part of you was not acceptable. This process taught you that you were only conditionally worthy.
Were you ever told that you were a bad girl? Each time you heard those words, your feeling of worthiness was diminished. Were you ever told that you weren't special enough to be part of a group, such as the popular crowd at school? Again, each rejection reduced your sense of worthiness.
I have seen so many individuals struggle with deeply held questions related to their personal value. These individuals, driven to prove their worth, have pursued success at any cost--amassing substantial material wealth, achieving high social stature, and excelling in specialized skills, only to find that nothing they accomplish fills the empty hole in their spirit. Ultimately, these individuals sought an external source to tell them that they were okay. Yet, no matter how much external validation they received, they weren't able to accept acknowledgement because they didn't personally believe in their own value.
On the other side of the coin, I have seen so many women hold themselves back from their brilliance and great work because of their lack of self-worth. We make sacrifices - it's what most of us have been taught to do to be "good women." We just don't believe that we can have what we want because we've spent a lifetime hearing others tell us that we can't. It's not true. We can do, be and have whatever we want.
And that is what I want for you. Because, as the old diddy goes... you're worth it!
This article was originally published at Kive Leatherman Wise Women Network . Reprinted with permission from the author.