One of the hardest things for me to do is recognise my own worth.
Even in some of the most meaningful and lengthy relationships I have, I find it difficult to say: “You aren’t treating me how I deserve to be treated.”
Intrinsically, this is laced with, “I demand that you give me more than you are.” But, in my imagination, saying I should be getting more translates, via the self-critical, unloving voice in my head, as: you think you’re so. Fucking. Awesome. Don’t you? Who the hell are you, anyway?
I don’t want to have a conversation with anybody wherein I risk an accusation of immodesty or inflated ego – maybe because on some unconscious level I am accusing myself of the same goddamn thing. Such is the nature of not always knowing your merit. Or worse, being afraid of just how awesomely high your significance on this here planet earth is.
It’s ridiculously easy to become the Baby who gets put in the corner when you repeatedly volunteer for the position.
Generally I avoid any type of confrontation about needing more from anyone or anything, however mild, by accepting my own role in any undesirable dynamic. I might not be readily able to change others, but I can change my own behaviour at forcible whim. I take responsibility for myself (a useful tool for personal development), and then of everybody else (a less useful tool for personal development). When I do this, I modify myself at the sacrifice of honouring myself.
And I am a smart girl. I can use my words like a weapon, spearing a victim with the spike of my tongue as I drip the poison of their thoughts and truths onto the mirror of my own wounds. I can be a real bitch, when I want to be. But, it takes me a while to get there.
Deep down, I believe in love and life and doing unto others as you would have them do to you. And I believe this so fervently that when I am wronged it isn’t a natural reaction to assign accountability to another party. I blame me. And sometimes, I let this happen for a really long time. With acquaintances or ‘friends’, with co-workers or entire organisations, often I can’t quite manage to say, “You! You need to change what’s happening here or else no. We do not have a deal.”
I’m learning. I’m learning how to say that world. To say: “you do not get to define the terms of my life. I do.”
I invite you to do this with me. How often do we agree to the unspoken rules of a relationship, a dynamic- from work to friends to lovers – because on some level, deep down inside of our kind, frail, gentle souls, we don’t believe we have the right to expect any more?
How often do we nod and whisper in a small weak voice, okay, when actually it is NOT OKAY that you aren’t being paid a fair wage, or your boss shows zero respect for your accomplishments, or that same person laughs every time you share your dream as if to say, you can’t do that, you silly fool!
Every time we concede to these influences in our lives, a tiny part of our self-worth gets taken away from us – and it is eleventy thousand times easier to subtract than it is to add, because every time we subtract we get weaker, and it takes somebody strong and powerful and in control of themselves to say ENOUGH. I AM HERE AND SO HEAR ME ROAR!!!!!
Every time we assist the subtraction, we fuel the other part of the dark voice inside, the one that says, “who are you to expect anything? Be grateful for the little that you do get.” The weaker we allow ourselves to become, the louder we allow The Voice of Ridiculousness to be, until The Voice of Awesome – the one who knows exactly what she should tolerate and what she should not – cannot be heard any more.
And then the battle is lost.
Telling the world you know what you are willing to bargain on, and where the hard lines are; admitting to yourself that your strengths and powers and knowledge are unique and special – it results in the happiness of your dreams. But you have to believe it all before everybody else will.
Can we all believe in our self-worth together?
I’ll do it if you do.