Here’s what I know: we are losing too many important contributions from women. Instead of speaking up we are camouflaging our stomachs. Instead of saying “no” we are nodding. Rather than swimming, we are staying covered in a chair. We opt out of jumping on the trampoline because our boobs and butts are too jiggly. We are modeling this for the next generation, too.
It would be better if it ends, now.
Everyone comes from a different place. The voices in our heads are unique. Our experiences and criticisms are all different. How we got where we are is as different as our fingerprints. I do believe though that we have some common ground; we all have room to love ourselves more, we could all benefit from increasing our self-worth, most of us would have better lives if we were happy in the bodies we are in, and all of our lives would be better if fewer people told us what we need to be happy.
How do we get there? Gosh, just google it and a million people will give you their “how-to”. Many suggest we follow their ten-step plan. It does feel easier that way- doing a plan somebody else created for us, even though they do not know us.
Self-Worth for Women
In my experience, it’s much harder than that. It’s more work, thought, intention, and time. Our goals and endpoints will all be different. The way we get there will run parallel and even cross sometimes, but it will never be the same path. Our roadblocks, closets, and foundations all contain different stuff.
We don’t have to do any work. We don’t. We can stay as we are. Sometimes it’s too painful. Some of us have been so shattered we need to stay where we are. We find contentment in the life we have.
Though unfair, some of us are able to start to peek into our closets and take the first timid steps through our roadblocks. We are able to rebuild our foundation with new thoughts and memories so that the fresh construction on top is stable, known, intentional- so that when there is a crack we better know how to repair it to make it strong again.
We may not all be capable of doing this work. Life is not just. Some of us have more than others. Some of us get more than others.
Self-Worth for Women
I have no call to action. I have nothing I can sell you, offer for you to download, and no link to my calendar to book a coaching session. Maybe one day I will have something more to offer.
All I have today is my own personal experience of being lucky enough to miraculously find the strength to pull myself from the bowels of self-worth, mental health, and emotion. I’d never be able to tell you how I did it and if I could it wouldn’t matter. My path is not the same as yours. Sometimes what matters is only knowing that another has done it. For me, this acted as a lifeline.
I can share a few of the resources that helped me start to think there might be life left in me. Maybe another time I’ll find it in me to share more of my story and the resoruces I continued to use to not only pull myself out, but build myself up.
Why Is Self-Worth for Women Important?
I want more women to be able to feel better. I want us to stop being duped and start being empowered to heal the parts of us that need healing. I want us to know we are worthy of the time and effort it takes to love ourselves and to stop being exploited and victimized by industries that profit from lowering our self-worth. I am coming to believe the only way we can do this is by finding our self-worth and then reaching a hand back to help other women do the same.
So, for now, I will share these resources in hopes they might be helpful to some of you. You are worthy of feeling better and I hope it can happen for you wherever you are in your journey.
Here are some of the first resources I used when I was in crisis. They are helpful and useful whether or not you are in crisis:
Self-Compassion is a term most of us have heard but it may be different than we think. I dismissed it for years as weak, or woo. It’s neither. It’s important and Dr. Neff has a straight-forward and direct way of sharing it with us. Click here to buy the book.
This was the first book I read when I knew if I did not start to come up right in that moment I would likely not come up ever again. It shattered me open in a positive and helpful way. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown gives us an understanding that we are worthy as we are, even with our imperfect humanity.
For those who don’t know my story, I quit drinking when I realized how dangerously poor my mental health was. I had been self-medicating for years, and I stopped. I needed a way to fill that time at night so I started walking. I walked and I walked and I walked. I walked around the streets of Denver for two hours every night listening to music. (I do sometimes drink alcohol now, but not very often and not very much).
At one point, I realized that when I listened to female musicians I felt better- that something inside me stirred and I felt hopeful… like I might be able to get better. I started to wonder how I could pump the voices of strong women into my head to drown out the voices of self-doubt and unkindness. This was when I disocovered podcasts and ultimately started my own (click here for Real Women’s Work Podcast).
I wanted podcasts by women only. Women interviewing women. I found Vibrant Happy Woman Podcast and Employee of the Month. I listened to those women speak their messy, challenging, imperfect truths with total vulnerability. I listened to how they had learned to live with their imperfections and sometimes even find their worth.
I listened to strong women share how they became who they are- the absolute shit they overcame and I started to feel connected. I credit these podcasts as much as I do books, therapy, and medication with helping me climb out of the abyss.
These are resources that helped me. They may help you. They may not. If you know someone who is living in a way that is authentic and attractive to you- reach out to them and ask if they have resources to recommend. If you have resources to recommend please, please put them in the comments below.
I hope this post is helpful to you in some way. I hope something in it resonates and sets something off inside that gives you permission to find your worth if its missing. I am coming to believe it is the most important thing we have.
Me: “I only work out when I feel like it.”
Them: “pssht. If you only work out when you feel like it you’ll never work out.”
Me: “ I do workout. When I feel like it.”
Them: “I workout a lot because I like to eat.”
Me: “I like to eat.”
Them: “but I like to eat a lot of pasta and sweets.”
Me: “me too.”
Them: “but that’s why I workout. So I can eat a lot of that stuff.”
Me: “I eat whatever I want whenever I want.”
Them: “But if you don’t workout and you eat whatever you want whenever you want you’ll get fat!”
Me: “that’s not my experience and not what research supports.”
Them: “well you’ll never lose weight that way.”
Me: “I’m not trying to lose weight.”
Them: look at me up and down trying to be conspicuous.
Them: “Well, you’ll never make any progress if you don’t workout consistently.”
Me: “I’m not trying to make progress.”
Them: “well then why do you workout?”
Me: “because I feel like it.”
Them: “how often?”
Me: “Sometimes a few times a week. Sometimes a few times a month.”
Them: “but if it’s not to lose weight and not to make progress why do you even workout? I hate working out and if I didn’t have to I’d sit on the couch all day eating ice cream!”
Me: “I only workout when I feel Like it- when I’ll enjoy it so it’s not a chore. It’s a thing I always look forward to. I never have to talk myself into it. I’m glad both when I am on my way and when I’m done. To me, that’s really taking care of myself. There’s no self hatred tied to my workouts. No berating. No winning or losing. It makes me better without making me worse. I don’t spend hours dreading, talking myself into, or thinking about working out. I have no goal other than feeling good.”
Them: “I only feel good after I workout, or I feel so much better after I work out.
Me: “yeah. I remember feeling that way too. For me, it in part led to a massive mental breakdown because it wasn’t authentic self-care. I was doing something because somebody else told me it was what would make feel better.
I was a double session gym goer- I went every morning and every evening. I spun. I stepped. I lifted. I sweat my ass off. I was a size 6 always trying to be more fit. I always felt good after. But I was there to make my body pleasing to others, not because it was in my best interest. That took a toll. Now I’m fat. When I workout I lift weights causally and walk.
I still fight the demons that try to push me to do what others think is my self care. Fortunately, I found my worth internally and learned how to really take care of my self and now, I’ve never felt better, happier, or more content. I’ve also never been healthier.”
Them: “Wow. I guess I never thought of it that way.”
Them: “No wonder she’s fat.”
Either response is okay. Either way it does not change that I have stopped working out as a from of self-hatred and started working out as a form of self-love, when I feel like it.
Okay male Noom user on the commercial- you “got your life back” from losing 27 pounds? How much self-worth must you lack to let 27 pounds require the need to “get your life back”?
Friends- don’t let this time of year rob you of joy. Don’t let the commercials that are designed by the best in the business to make you question your self-worth change your trajectory.
If you find yourself thinking “it will all be better once I lose weight” stop yourself in your damn tracks -literally if you have to- and say “FUCK THAT! I’m worthy *exactly* as I am and my thoughts, time, and energy are needed for real and important things- not altering my body based on somebody else’s preferences.”
Yes- they are somebody else’s preferences. Check out the info. Bodies -HEALTHY bodies- come in all shapes and sizes.
If you are in a circle getting ready to “take your lives back” by “*finally* losing that weight”, encourage your circle to say “fuck that” with you and go volunteer or get new customers or take a trip or go to the movies (AND EAT THE GD POPCORN AND DO NOT LET YOURSELF FEEL ANYTHING BUT JOY DOING IT).
If they aren’t ready to join you tell them you love them, you value them, and want to spend time with them and ask them not to discuss weight loss or diet when you are near. If they love you too they will support you.
When the bombardment of commercials floods your screen remember your commitment to yourself! Remember that diets DO NOT WORK, are unhealthy, are dangerous, and are designed to make us feel horrible about ourselves so we will buy the thing.
YOU ARE WORTHY, VALUABLE, and WANTED in exactly the body you are in. Love it, accept it, and celebrate it exactly as it is. I know. It’s hard to believe. It’s hard to understand that the size *your body* is is not the exception. It is NOT the exception. It IS worthy of being celebrated. I promise.
So what do you say? Can 2020 be the year you say “fuck that” to others making money by lowering your self-worth? If so, you’re in great company. You’ll find loads of us. I promise.
PS: Spoiler- Noom IS ABSOLUTELY a diet.
Here’s to the next new beginning. It’s just the next one. It’s not grandiose or loud. No one next new chapter creates seismic shifts. It’s a million next new chapters practiced thoughtfully, intentionally, and repeatedly that creates new beginnings. I’ve learned the hard way that some of those previous chapters have to be dealt with before we can get to the good ones.
Wherever you are in your story know that you have plentiful company. You are worthy exactly as you are. You are not the exception.
We’ve all made poor choices. We’ve all been irresponsible. We all have things our wiser selves would not have chosen. And since we are reading this, we are all still here.
If this is the year you breakdown remember you are loved and belong.
If this is the year you are scared and healing, look out the window and find comfort in the real beauty around you.
If this is the year you are confidently healing, move through it with self-compassion.
If this is the year you find your self-worth, celebrate that shit like crazy!
If this is your next new beginning, reach that strong and steady arm back to bring another woman along with you.
This next new beginning will neither make nor break you. It’s one of many. Forget the pressure so many are putting on us with this new decade. If you want it to be a big huge new chapter- take it! If not though, if you want this month, this year, this decade to be lived the way you’ve been living, that is to be celebrated too. That is a beautiful and inspiring choice. We’ve heard lots of talk about how we should grab this decade by the balls and make it ours. Some of us prefer a quieter, steadier way of moving through life.
Whichever new beginning becomes a part of your story it is important, valuable, and yours. It is also not as big or important as some are making it seem. Nothing magical happened when the clock struck midnight. No timer started nor did one expire.
Each of these lives belongs to the one living it. If you need a fresh slate, maybe this is the time to find it. You can also find it next week, next month, or next year. Maybe more important than waiting for a magical moment to grant you a fresh start is understanding that the life we live holds value- including all of our choices.
I’ve learned that owning our stories is likely the most grandiose thing we can do. Whether we like to move through life in a loud, enthusiastic, and exciting way, or a mild, calm, and softer way, the value of our stories do not change. We all have important experiences. We all have wisdom to share. We all have stories to share that are worthy of being heard.
However you enter this new decade, I hope your next new beginning is one that makes you feel the way you want to feel. Whatever actions you decide to take or not take, I hope they are authentically yours by desire. Whatever road you are walking, or whichever divergent path you step onto, I hope it leads you closer to the life you want.
Wishing you a very happy Next New Beginning, whatever that looks like. Happy 2020!
What is your Next New Beginning? Will you share in the comments for us to know too?
Self-worth is essetnial to living a happy life, I think. I did not realize it, though. How about you?
Everyone is looking back at their year, it seems. There are lots of posts and conversations about greatest accomplishments. I love reading them. I love hearing about how you made something happen. I love to see you celebrate! It got me thinking about what my greatest accomplishment is this year and within seconds of wondering, I knew the answer: this year I found my self-worth. Not superficially. Not in theory. Not because I’m on-trend. I deep down, for real, understand my worthiness for the first time in my life.
What does this mean? It means when I enter a room or conversation I think about the people and the conversations we’ll have rather than if I’ve camouflaged my stomach enough. It means I no longer think about whether the food I’m eating is good or bad and have alllll that time freed up for far more important things and thoughts.
It means I no longer judge myself for living in a way that’s best for me even if it’s atypical. Whether that’s a different sleep schedule, wearing comfortable clothes instead of fashionable, or embracing true food freedom, I love myself and know these are good choices even when the person in front of me stares incredulously.
Finding my self-worth means that when I don’t understand something or think I should know a piece of information that I don’t, I no longer fall down a shame spiral. Now I know this doesn’t mean I’m stupid or less wanted. It just means I know different things.
Having high self-worth has allowed me to see the worth in others. I can see now that even though someone is living differently than me it’s not necessarily better or worse- it’s worthy. I can set boundaries so that if the way someone else lives negatively impacts my life I can step aside or out of it.
This year’s accomplishment in finding my self-worth is life-changing. It has set me up for the second half of life so much better than the first. I suspect it won’t feel like the same person living it. Except it is. And it’s all those fuck ups, poor choices, and irresponsibility that helped me to get here.
We all start at different places. I wish I’d started with higher self-worth. I’m not grateful for starting where I did. Life would have been better if I’d had self-worth before turning 45. My life would have been better if certain things had not happened. I don’t believe it all happens for a reason.
Hopefully, all of this work I am doing is allowing my kids to start with high self-worth. I mean it is. I know it is. I see it in them every day. And that’s what we all hope for, right? To give our kids a better starting point than we had?
My vision for this year is to share the tools and resources that helped me get here in case they are also useful for other women. The more women I talk to the more I understand how too many of us have been robbed of self-worth.
It’s not that I hope other women have the same experience I do. Of course not. I just want more women to have access to living a life unaplogetically and without so many of their thoughts being stuck on how lousy and unworthy they are.
We read about women stepping into their power and for me it was easy to dismiss this idea as corny or woo. Now, of course, I see that it is neither. Stepping into our power allows us to live in a better way. This doesn’t mean grandiose or famous or rich. It just means better in whatever better means to us- better boundaires, relationships, work, self-love, self-talk, or whatever makes life better, happier, for you.
With all of the struggles, injustice, and wrongs we women live with, it seems we also live at an exciting time. We are stepping into our power and talking about it- sharing what works, spreading our confidence, role modeling boundaries, and stopping ourselves in our tracks from apologizing. It’s not right that we have all this work to do but we are doing it anyway.
Here’s to us stepping into our power and putting our hands down to pull up another woman along with us. Has there ever been anything more hopeful?
Do you have resources that have helped you raise your self-worth? Will you share them in the comments? The more we women help each other the better the world gets for all of us!
The kids and I just sat at the table together for close to an hour. We laughed so hard Sydney snorted her soda. Our bellies hurt and we begged each other to stop so we could catch our breath.
The kids got into a spelling challenge and grabbed notebooks. We talked about all sorts of light, fun things— and a couple of things that were a little heavier.
We only sat down to have cake- a delicious lemon cake we made yesterday, that we all love. It has lots of sugar and flour and a delectable buttercream frosting.
When the kids were ready to go up to their rooms they both thanked me for the cake, gave me a hug, and went upstairs with rosy cheeks and smiles. As I walked back to the table I saw this scene and decided to leave it for a minute…because it’s so beautiful.
I hope my kids will always enjoy cake at my table wherever it is and however old they are. I hope when they pull in a chair at my table they know when they push it out again their bellies and hearts will be full.
I could say “no” to cake and time and other things that draw them near. I’m so grateful I was shown another way. A way that understands emotional and mental health are important. A way that values connection and critical thinking. A way that knows food serves many purposes and tables should be comfortable.
I have some more years with my kids at my table eating most meals with me- cooked by me, or Kristopher. I can’t make their tables comfortable when they aren’t with me. I can’t help them leave with a full heart if I’m not there.
I can set the foundation now though so that comfort, love, and acceptance are what they know at my table, so that when they need it they know where to come.
Yes. I’ll leave this scene for a minute. It’s so beautiful and I love it so much. ♥️
Here’s something I’ve learned about boundaries: if someone has a good handle on boundaries and has them set, it doesn’t matter if you think the boundaries are appropriate. That’s the point. They are their boundaries.
In fact, the more we judge, disapprove of, and try to dismantle those boundaries, the further away from us that person will push. They will include us in their life less. We will not approach the glorious space of intimacy because we cannot be trusted to be respectful, trustworthy, or capable of holding relationship.
It’s a fascinating thing, really. There are all sorts of memes about it and quick one-off thoughts. There is a real disconnection that comes from not understanding and appreciating boundaries, though.
Boundaries and Self-Worth
I’ve noticed that people with higher self-worth tend to hold boundaries. I don’t know which comes first- does high self-worth come from understanding boundaries, or when we have high self-worth do boundaries just come with it? I also suspect people with high self-worth don’t challenge the boundaries of others.
Personally, I find it much easier and safer to be with people who understand and implement boundaries. Not only do these folks appreciate my personal boundaries, but I know them better and better understand how to be in relationship with them because they have their own strong boundaries.
However boundaries come to be, what we do with another person’s boundaries very much determines how well we get to know them- how we get to be in their lives. The more we fight to break through the boundaries of another the further apart we will get, the less we will be trusted, the less we will be invited *in*.
Growing up is tough, isn’t it? 🙃 It’s so worth it though.
Will you share a thought on boundaries in the comments below? It’s so helpful!
This “fuck this shit” bracelet arrived yesterday. Knowing the hands that made it makes me feel even more empowered and powerful when I wear it. It is a work of art. It is a reminder to bat away the bullshit that tries to keep me down; expectations, roles, people pleasing, self-worth crises, overthinking, fear of failure, fear of success, gossips, mistakes, poor choices, believing my past determines my future, thinking I’m meant for less and that I have to conform.
Here’s to batting all that noise away with three little words “Fuck this Shit.” “You’re not good enough. You don’t know what you’re doing. That’s meant for other, better people.” Bat, bat. “Fuck this shit”.
“Women aren’t capable. Breasts make you dumb. People with vaginas have one purpose.” Bat, bat. “Fuck this shit.”
“Be appealing. Every man should desire you sexually. It is your role to ensure these things are true. It is your purpose in life.” Bat, bat. “Fuck this shit.”
“Cover up so men can stay focused on important things. It is your role. Take up less space. Be quiet. Be invisible. Find the perfect spot between silent and helpful so that you can contribute appropriately and as directed.” Bat, bat. “Fuck this shit.”
“Allow purity culture and male-forward ideology to remind you of your place, your capabilities, your time to speak.” Bat, bat, “Fuck this shit.”
See, it won’t look like some big shift. It won’t spark a televised movement. It won’t rally investors and supporters to jump into the next trendy thing. What it will do is create tiny little empowered moments in me, and maybe in you. The small choices that allow us to move forward toward the life and activities I want.
The reminder of “fuck this shit” will be a quick little personal rally cry that might allow us to shake it off in the moment. A literal shaking back and forth of the head to bat away the shit that keeps stopping us from being who we are meant to be.
Maybe this is the power of middle-aged. Maybe peri-menopause serves a fantastic purpose. Maybe it is this burning, raging fire created by so many sisters who have said “ENOUGH. I am more than this. I am capable. I am strong. I have worth. I hold value. FUCK. THIS. SHIT.” And have gone on to live extraordinary ordinary lives doing exactly the things they love.
These aren’t angry words. These three little words help me to bat all those thoughts out of my path so I can keep moving forward. I love them. And this was made by the talented, capable, creative, skilled hands of the wonderful Joanna Taylor and that just makes wearing this feel even more powerful. (Joanna is a friend and I was in no way compensated for sharing her work. You can click on her name to connect with her).
Do you have a few words you keep in mind to bat away the stuff that keeps you back? Will you share them?
Poisoned food. Fracking. Climate change. Vaccines.
I have gone far, far down one Rabbit Hole- no, two. I know there is truth to a lot of the things we dismiss as conspiracy theories.
Here is the thing though; I cannot live there. I cannot live in the place where the government may be out to make me sick with our food or by shooting poison into my children. I cannot live in the place where I believe there is a possibility that I cannot escape the poison- that my children cannot escape the poison- that permeates our existence.
I know that upsets people. “Ignorance is bliss” they say. “I sure wish I could just leave it for somebody else to deal with, too” others say. “Must be nice to just ignore all the things that are killing you and your kids.” “Don’t you worry about your grandchildren?”
Do I worry? Yes. I worry about everything all day, all the time. I do not get a break from the worry, in fact. So why would I choose to live in an environment that feeds my panic? Why would I surround myself with sights and sounds and voices that that prove how murderous the world is?
I am not ignoring these things, though. I am just choosing not to live in the Rabbit Hole.
Because in the Rabbit Hole, life is dark and glum. There are boogymen around every corner and pits of lava and trees whose branches will reach out and rob me of my breath.
In the Rabbit Hole, a cloud should be feared, not admired. The sun will kill my children and doctors do only harm.
In the Rabbit Hole, nobody can be trusted. Everyone is the enemy. There is no safe space or place to enjoy life, or the world; flowers are not beauty realized, but are poison carriers and representations of our dying bees.
I understand there is truth to some of these things, and for a while, I did live in the Rabbit Hole. Life is unhappy, and scary, and dark in the Rabbit Hole. Happiness cannot exist there.
I can put sunscreen on my kids and still basque in the warmth of the sun. I can research the agents in the bottle that the doctor wants to shoot into my child’s arm and still appreciate their ability to heal. I can buy organic when that feels important to me and mix Kraft Mac and Cheese when it does not.
I have chosen not to live in the Rabbit Hole. I have chosen to let some things go. I can both educate myself and opt out of being responsible for the solution. With age has come the wisdom that I am not responsible for changing everything. With greater age has come greater wisdom that it is immature of me to think I can.
Most importantly though, I have come to learn that I can acknowledge the things that need to get better and still choose happiness. I now know that I need not feel guilty when weeks or months go by and I have not even peeked into the Rabbit Hole. Instead, I can celebrate. I can feel good that I have made a healthy choice to see the colors of the leaves as they are and to smile big at the way the sun’s rays light up the beautiful clouds.
For me, only peeking into the Rabbit Hole on occasion allows me to be more of a change agent than if I lived there. By seeing beauty and making small changes when I am able, I have found a balance that allows me to enjoy my time on this Earth instead of fear it.