Yogi Assignment: Self-Worth
It’s taken me my entire life to start to realize my worth. You may think that I’ve never struggled with self-esteem issues, but I have. In some ways I have always felt not good enough, not connected enough and somewhat like an outsider. While I dared to try and dared to dream there was a place inside somewhere that never really believed I was worth it. This voice of doubt took the form of self-directed negativity. Even though I desperately wanted to succeed the thoughts that ran through my mind were focused failure. I assumed I’d never really succeed but for some insane reason I tried anyway. Sometimes I did manage to eek out a success with lots of effort and will-power, but it was always a struggle. I read books about the “power of attraction” that talked about this mythical space where you just vibrate your way to happiness. I began visualizing and vibrating, but I still felt blocked. The voice of the victim spoke from a powerful place of emotional manipulation somewhere deep in my psyche and wasn’t ready to let go just because I was trying to play a mental movie of happiness.
In this week’s Yogi Assignment I’m asking you to take some small baby steps to feeling and actualizing your self-worth. Just like in the practice when you face an impossible pose you don’t usually accomplish it in a day, you’ll start with the groundwork of a major paradigm shift one breath at a time. If you’ve lived from a place of resentment, bitterness or victimhood this will be difficult, but, believe me, you are so worth it!
I believe that you express your sense of self-worth in the assumptions you make about yourself on a subconscious level. There’s a fine line between humility and self-deprecation that is subtle and not easily explained. Many good-hearted people hesitate to claim their worth out of a fear of appearing too egotistical. They keep quiet exactly when they should speak up. They make themselves small when they should be standing their ground. Other people show up with pride and pomp and over-demand, charing too much for their services or proclaiming how awesome they are. Knowing your worth doesn’t necessary mean you have to be your own salesman. I recently spent an hour with someone whose main skill seemed to be self-promotion. Every question or point of conversation quickly got turned into a sales pitch for this person’s latest product. After a dizzying hour of navigating the dialogue in search of something real I was fatigued. So, if self-worth isn’t a brazen informercial, what is it?
Self-worth is, in my opinion, much more subtle. While your true and deepest worth in inherent and inalienable, you express your own sense of self-worth in the kind of thoughts you habitually think about yourself. If you let the victimized child run the show and tell the horror story about the world is a big bad ugly place where people are out to get you, then you don’t value yourself. The more often you speak from a place of unfairness, the more often you give your power away. Life is unfair. You can do everything right and check off all the boxes and someone else may swoop in and get the job, the partner, the influence, the yoga pose that you have been working so hard at attaining. It hurts. In fact the more often you experience failure, the harder it is to continually believe in yourself and value yourself. There is even this sense of guilt that accompanies failure, particularly in the spiritual sense. If you’ve read book by beautiful thin privileged rich women who have it all and tell you that all you need to do is change your thoughts, then you may end up blaming yourself for falling short of the prized goal. You may feel that you are the cause of your failure and then fall into an even more vicious cycle of self-hate.
1. Lay the groundwork for faith through surrender. Not only are you worthy of the success you seek, but the universe and Divine Providence is seeking you with that very same success. Recognize that if there is something you don’t have today it may be a blessing that you don’t have it, regardless of how badly you want it. Let it go, turn it out, and practice believing that when the time is right it will happen for you, if it’s meant to happen. And if it’s not meant to happen, then trust that something bigger and better will be coming your way. Choose one thing and start there. It could be something big or something small and apparently petty. It doesn’t matter it’s your journey.
In total transparency I’ll share the things that have me stuck right now. I wanted the blue checkmark on Instagram and I want to be a NYT best-selling author who gets invited to public speaking events. The checkmark is ridiculous (I’m aware), but whenever I see someone else (especially a yogi) with that checkmark it makes me feel like I’m unworthy. I wanted my Yogi Assignment book to be a NYT best-seller and I dream about giving a TED talk, but neither of these has happened for me yet. My work today is turn these over to God with the full faith that if it’s meant to happen it will and if not then something bigger and better will be coming just for me.
2. No more “poor me”. This is a tough one for me because I can so easily lapse into victimhood. I was recently speaking with a colleague who told me about all the partnerships they were forging with the biggest names in the consciousness movement like Oprah, Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson and my heart just sank. No one from these big names ever reached out to include me in anything. I was never their go-to choice for yoga. I was never featured, invited or singled out—poor me, there it was along with the sting of jealousy. When the “poor me” voice of self-pity and bitterness comes up I deploy the troops. I start off by giving thanks for all the blessings that are in my life. No matter how small I celebrate them. If I see a flower in bloom I stop and thank the flower for blooming. It shifts my vibration into a happy space. Then, I decide to be stronger and give myself a pep talk. Instead of knocking on the door of other people’s success I will mint my own. I tell myself that I will walk up my own mountain path and that focusing on the directions that other people have taken actually gets me off course. In other words, there’s a reason that these celebrities have never reached out to me. If I’m going to make my way and spread my message maybe it has to be just that—mine. Then, I feel it, the fighting spirit in me that claws my way out claims my own space. When the old voice of “poor me” arises you have to fight to find your inner superhero. If you’re David fighting Goliath, that’s ok—that story ends well for David because he believed he could take down the giant that no one else could!
3. Visualize—Yes, it works. In a recent dark period where I was surrounded by negativity I forgot about how good it feels to visualize your success. A colleague of mind constantly harped on the negative and it impacted my worldview. After clearing your mind in meditation for at least five minutes, take three life goals and visualize them happening. Don’t focus on the nitty-gritty details. Instead, focus on the feeling of your goals actually happening. When I dive into the space of subconscious mind I see my publisher sending me an email that I’m on the NYT best-seller list and I feel a sense of elation and wow-ness. When I open my IG account I see the magical mysterious blue checkmark and I feel a sense of relief, like finally wow! When I see myself about to give a TED talk looking out at the audience I feel nervous and also so connected and blessed. Adding in the emotion helps your nervous system practice success.
4. Action—There is nothing I like better than taking action. It feels good to get something done. Also, visualization is nothing without at least meeting the world part way. Part of what’s frustrating about the IG checkmark is that there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do. If anyone has any secrets or knows anything about this, please tell me! With or without the NYT best-seller title my Yogi Assignment book has been so well-received that I’m fulfilled. I’m already working on my next book and maybe it will reach even more people. And last, but not least, I’m preparing my TED talk presentation. This is no small task because it’s a one minute distillation of my message! What action can you take towards actualizing your dreams and expressing your self-worth today?