Its funny how when there’s something we need to pay attention to the universe will find a way to keep bringing it to our attention. The past few weeks I’ve had lots of conversations with friends and students about love and self worth.
On a recent retreat to Byron with my teacher whilst in a backbend and I had a fantastic release, tears were flowing and I had a big smile on my face. Why? Because it finally hit me I am worthy, I am loveable, I am special.
At 31 yrs. of age I finally realised it deep within my heart. It took me a while to get there but it has sat with the past 3 months. It’s something I’ve been exploring since then and I’ve had some ups and downs. It felt like the universe was challenging me to realise my won self worth not based on anyone else’s opinion. Did I truly get, deep down, the experience I felt in Byron. And whilst there has been moments of doubt there has been such a deep clarity it has never really shaken my belief.
I read this quote last week and it really hit me.
Once you know your worth, no one can make you feel worthless~ Rashida Rowe
I had finally found my worth. Some might think this is a really simple thing but for some of us it’s not easy.
Whilst talking to a friend last week it hit me that my family is not very affectionate. My mum never really hugs me, the only times we do hug are when I’m going on an extended trip overseas. Just last week when my dog died we were both in the waiting room of the vets’ afterwards finalising details, both with tears in our eyes, I went to give her a hug and she crossed her arms over her chest and turned slightly away. Instead I ended up patting her on the shoulder lol! Whilst I’m sure she didn’t mean to hurt me she was just caught in her own pain it did hurt.
It can be important to remember that just because someone doesn’t love how we want them to us doesn’t mean they don’t love us with all they can.
Our formative years are so important in developing our ability to love and be loved. For many of us growing up we are never really shown unconditional love, or even any love at all.
We’re never really taught to love ourselves and embrace ourselves for who we are.
We learn from our parents, our teachers, our peers and those around us what makes us ‘worthy’. Throughout our school years our worth is defined by outside goals, academic and sporting achievements, our physical appearance and even our social circle define who we are and how others treat us. Instead of embracing the individual we try to fit everyone into some mould.
As we get older and leave school we are defined by our jobs, our financial security, whether we own our own home, whether we have kids or our relationship status. Any female who has travelled through Asia would be familiar with being asked constantly ‘do you have a boyfriend?’ ‘Are you married?” and if the answer is no they ask you ‘what’s wrong with you?? ‘
And whilst the intention is not to harm it sets up a belief system that we have to have certain things to be ‘worthy’.
We start identify ourselves by what we have and what we do instead of who we are.
We give ourselves these ridiculous prerequisites to being worthy and to being happy.
I’ll be worthy/happy when….
- I lose 10kgs
- I get a job
- I own my own home
- I have that car I’ve always dreamed about
- I have a partner
- I have kids
But what happens if you don’t have these things or if you do and something changes? A relationship ends, you lose your job or retire, your kids move out of home? If you are different from the ‘norm’?
When we allow these ‘things’ to define who we are as people and let them determine our worth in the world when they are gone it can create a void. Sometimes we even turn to outside forces to fill the void, whether it is people, money, physical activity, food or any other number of substances.
I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food my entire life. Its something I constantly struggle with. In the past I’ve held onto relationships longer than I should have, whether they were business, friendship or romantic, because I didn’t know who I was without them.
I would treat myself poorly and allow others to do the same because I felt that I wasn’t worthy and I deserved it. I would call myself ‘stupid’, ‘fat’, ‘ugly’ and more. I would never speak to another person this way so why was I speaking to myself this way??
What I’ve realised is that we need to stop looking to things outside ourselves and instead look inwards. It’s not the outside things that matter but what’s on the inside.
I remember when I moved up to Byron Bay to teach and study yoga my mum said to me ‘go up there for 6months study and learn what you want to know and then come home and settle down’ Which translated to ‘Get a real job, buy a house, get married and give me grandkids.’ That was 7yrs ago lol! I think she’s almost given up on the grandkids and I still haven’t ‘settled’ down at least not in the traditional sense.
The funny thing is that I am now more settled than I have ever been. Through my yoga practice I have been able to connect to my true self. Travel and meeting other like-minded people have also played an important role in my life and in my journey to self-discovery. For a long time I struggled with who I was and what made me happy. I looked at my friends settling down in their careers, buying houses, getting married and having kids and I compared myself to them. I also had my family’s idea of what success is and what’s a ‘real’ job. I didn’t have to have the 9-5 job, the car, the 2.5kids and white picket fence. I’ve realised that was not what made me happy. I couldn’t live someone else’s life I had to live my life. When I stopped worrying about what other people thought I should be doing, I started to discover what it truly was I wanted to be doing. I started to realise that it was ok to be different it was ok to be me.
I was worthy just being me.