“Life’s work is to wake up, to let the things that enter your life wake you up rather than put you to sleep. The only way to do this is to open, be curious, and develop some sense of sympathy for everything that comes along, to get to know its nature and let it teach you what it will. It’s going to stick around until you learn your lesson, at any rate. You can leave your marriage, you can quit your job, you can only go where people are going to praise you, you can manipulate your world until you’re blue in the face to try to make it smooth, but the same old demons will always come up until finally you have learned your lesson, the lesson they came to teach you. Then those same demons will appear as friendly, warmhearted companions on the path.” - Pema Chödrön
When I abandoned apparel design, or when apparel design abandoned me, what I thought was my sense of self worth plummeted. I felt called to walk a spiritual path, but that did not mean that I was not riddled with fear, doubt, and anxiety. This self pity multiplied when I started dating a wonderful, loving and kind man, who also happened to work in fashion and was extremely successful. I compared myself to him, to his colleagues, to his friends and fell under a depression because I felt I was not doing enough, I wasn’t making enough, I wasn’t trying enough, I wasn’t enough.
This led to severe insecurities, my mind ran rampant, wondering why such an incredible person would choose to be with me. Why wouldn’t he date one of the many attractive, stylish gay men he is constantly surrounded with? Do his friends look at me and judge me? Do they think he is wasting his time? Am I wasting his time? Am I preventing him from meeting someone on his level? What the hell am I doing in his life? What the hell am I doing with my life?
I started self sabotaging the relationship, I let the insecurities, the jealousies fuel fits of anger and rage. I let the darkness swallow what was good. I left in the middle of the night multiple times, I was like a child, demanding coddling and attention. I reasoned it was better to leave than to face what was in front of me, and what was coming out of me.
I thought I was spiritually evolved, I thought that after the end of a previous major relationship I truly learned to love myself and be comfortable in my own skin. Spirit however, had to show me how much work I still had to do. My partner was a mirror, to reflect the cracks and shadows and and broken pieces of myself. It was not about him, or his friends, or his success, it was about me. I was destroying my soul, and pouring salt on my wounds.
I could not go on like this, so I sought therapy, and I began to ask myself what self worth truly was, and where it came from. What I learned from therapy was that feeling these emotions is not wrong, but when you attach stories and let them overcome you, that’s when you begin to sink in the quicksand. Emotion is energy, and we must learn to let them move through us, not block them, not deny them, not shut them away, but to hear their message and then shift out of them, grow from them. Processing this energy requires practice and there are many methods, I personally like tapping, exercising, meditating, breath work, and writing rituals.
My inner demons came out time after time, again and again, because they were trying to teach me that I still held on to the belief that self worth came from your job title, how much money you made, what you have accumulated, and others’ recognition of your accomplishments. I put my self worth in the hands of outside forces.
It is wonderful to have all of those things, don’t get me wrong, but what if it all goes away. What if you attached your self worth to all of those things and they all disappeared, then what? What do you have left?
How do we cultivate self worth? Every answer will be different, I can only speak to what is working for me. Finding my soul purpose has helped immensely, asking spirit how may I serve instead of how may I gain has redirected my life. It is something that can not be taken away. Understanding that all of my insecurities stem from the fear of losing something has opened my eyes, because I know that everything comes from spirit, from source. I will always have everything I need, as long as I follow my heart I will be guided and provided for. Faith.
Discerning when my mind thinks from fear is important. I created opinions, I made up the idea that all of these people were judging me. Even if they were, what does that matter? Judgement always stems from fear, so if someone is judging you, it is because they see an aspect of their self that they do not like or have not come to peace with. Then, what if my partner decided to leave, what if my fears were realized and he chose to be with someone that was on his level of success, then what? I would be heart broken, but I would heal. I would not be defeated, and I would not be a victim, because no one has the power to strip me of my self worth except for me.
The epiphany that has helped me the most is gaining the undeniable knowing that I AM WORTHY. YOU ARE WORTHY. WE ARE WORTHY to receive love, to receive blessings, grace, abundance, WE ARE WORTHY to follow our life calling, to look at ourselves in the mirror and say without embarrassment or hesitation that I LOVE YOU. WE ARE WORTHY to give love in return, to stand strong in our self worth even if we are not where we want to be in life, even if we are not “successful” in this moment, even if someone is doing “better” than we are. Do not let other people make you feel less than, if they do it is only because you are allowing them to. More importantly, do not allow yourself to make you feel less than. YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH.
This will be a continuous practice, challenges will come, sometimes they will be almost unbearable, but I know I will always overcome them, know that you can too.