I’ve spent a great deal of time (wasted now I understand), hustling, cajoling and tap dancing my way to worthiness. Pleasing and perfecting my way towards self validation and approval. While at the time I felt helpless to stop this, it felt really, really sucky. Because nothing makes me feel more unworthy than begging for worthiness. See, toldya it sucked.
It took me a long time to first notice then break this chain, and keep breaking it every time it showed back up (sorry, it’s not a one and done deal). But what does the process claiming worthiness look like? Here are some of the details (Warning: it’s messy, but you probably already knew that, right?)
CLAIMING WORTHINESS. For me, this just boils down to those three key words, “I am enough.” The demons however tell you otherwise, right? They say:
“You’re a fraud”
“If (he/she/everyone) knew who you really, truly were, they would not (love/respect/desire) you anymore”
“You don’t belong here. You never did”
“What’s wrong with you? You’re such a failure. Why don’t you ever have it together?”
They’re assholes, these demons, but they seem so right when they talk their shit. It’s hard to resist. And if you’re like me and have had these things playing like some horror film loop for years and years, it seems to be the undeniable truth.
But it’s not.
In fact everyone’s unworthiness demons sound like this. Not being enough is a deeply rooted human fear. It comes with the human DNA. But its crippling because it can stop us from really trying anything new, from growing, from taking chances, from creating great relationships. No only that, but all of life’s many challenges now become confirmation of our inherent unworthiness.
I have had to crawl, then limp, then walk my way into to a space of claiming my worth. It can be done. Here are some of the components of my practice. Note these are not all one time things, but part of rituals that I will most likely do for the rest of my life:
1. Claim It! Yeah, it sounds simple, but when you’ve been shucking and jiving for it for most of your life, just getting up off the floor is a win. Get out a notebook, label a page “Worthiness Log”, and put your name down. Close the book. This is about recognizing that no one on this planet (yup, not even THAT person), can make you feel worthy. If they do manage to do it for 5 minutes, trust me, they’ll let you down eventually. Just taking it out of the hands of others is a huge psychological win.
2. Mirror Work. This is from Louise Hay, who recommended looking to the mirror, staring deep into your eyes, and saying “I Love You” over and over again. It’s painfully awkward when you first try. The demons go cray-cray, like “what in the hell are you doing?” “you don’t need this, this is what nuts in communes do”. Let me tell you something, I don’t care what those voices shout at you, do this exercise. Start with 10 times, then do 100. It just works.
3. Daily Affirmations. Like a kid on detention, I’ve written the words “I am enough” well over 100 times in one of my journals. In my daily practice in my 5 Minute Journal, in the affirmation section, I might write the same or similar comments, like “I am whole.”, “I am able to grow, learn and change”, “I am enough, I have enough and I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be TODAY.” (so there demon, go suck it.)
4. Break Glass In Case Of Emergency Statements. So sometimes life throws us some serious curveballs. Like I just want to cry, watch reality TV, drink Yellowtail Shiraz and eat fried chicken and biscuits in the dark kind of curveballs (don’t judge). Work fails, Parenting, Marriage issues and Family stressors can send me right back into feeling small, helpless and unworthy quicker then I would like. Those demons move in, set up shop and talk all kinds of nasty shit:
“Oh, so you thought you were so great, huh? How’s that whole worthiness crap working out?”
“You can’t change who you really are, you’re broken.”
“Who are you to try to fool? Just give up.”
Like being slimed by a nasty ghost, it just oozes onto you. Crap.
Much like a fire extinguisher, I have a rescue letter full of compassionate loving thoughts that I keep in case of emergency. It says things like:
“You are STILL enough. Even in the midst of all this. Nothing that is happening means that you are not worthy”
“Why NOT you? If the dream is still alive in you, you can achieve it.”
“You may have failed. Again. But YOU are not a failure.”
“No matter how bad it looks, feels or sounds, this too shall pass.”
“Your pity party has exactly 6 more hours, then we’re kicking these freeloaders out (along with any leftover fried dough).”
“Get up. Learn. Grow. Recover. You needed this to go to the next level.”
5. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Your own awareness of your inner demons alone is a great win as it gives you a bit of a separation from the voices. It is when we overly identify with those nasty thoughts that they really take us down. Your constant self awareness is your biggest weapon against the voices. Doesn’t mean you’ll ever get it “perfect”, but it means you can keep getting up over and over again. And it’s not about never falling off the horse, it’s about reducing the time it takes to hop back on.
What would you write to yourself to remind yourself that your worthiness is claimed?
1. Every single freaking book written by Brene Brown. ‘Nuff said. The Gifts of Imperfection pretty much lives under my pillow, but you can check them all out here.