As far as I could remember, January meant one thing and one thing only - resolutions. It was a time for me to set the tone for the year by creating big audacious goals and committing to them, no matter what. It takes 21 days to create a habit, I reasoned, so I just had to stick to this for 21 days and the rest of the year I could coast off the hard work.
As we begin to go on our inner healing journey, however, we start to receive messages that you are enough, that you don’t need become a new person, that resolutions don’t work and what you need is self-compassion.
While that message can feel like a relief, it also offers a bit of inner conflict.
Does feeling worthy mean we are not allowed to want to grow and change?
And if both things are possible, then how do we endeavor to become better while honoring that we are enough?
Based on the extensive work I have done with women all over the world, I would like to offer the thought that the entire conundrum - how to honor where we are while also going after what we want, misses the point. What I have seen to be true again and again and again is that the question in it of itself stems from a secret belief that it’s not actually possible to honor/accept/love where you are.
When we explore it further, what we typically find is that this question comes from our inner critic’s desire to “trap” us. Since we don’t know how to resolve this question, the answer must be that you can’t… and therefore we are justified to continue to create resolutions and goals from the place of believing that if we achieve more, we will finally feel enough. That drive, that compulsion, feels so important that the idea of NOT setting goals/intentions feels like dishonoring our human experience.
This space within us is called the worthiness wound and the it drives us to:
Work until we are burned out and fully depleted
Disconnect from genuine human connection in the name of getting things done
Believe that if we stop running ourselves ragged we will become lazy
Equate the quality of our work and the results we get as a testament to our worth
What’s interesting is… If you were to close your eyes and envision what your life could look like in the future, it’s easy to imagine that at some point in time, you will feel more true to yourself AND also have achieved things you want.
That’s because you can have both.
In order to have both in the present, we must understand just how deeply our society capitalizes on our sense of inadequacy to perpetuate the myth of the hard worker. This is the myth that tells us that if we work hard, if we sacrifice ourselves to the world, we will benefit later on. Capitalism works by banking off of this cycle of productivity and consuming and the more unconscious we participate the better. While there are increasing conversations around conscious consumerism, I would like to invite us to become conscious producers. And really ask ourselves who is benefiting from our labor. Where did we get the belief that if we don’t push ourselves, we will become lazy nobodies? And what is that doing to our mental health? Our physical body?
There is no reason for why we need to participate in extreme productivity at the expense of our well-being. In fact, that is what self-harm looks like. And yet we do it because we bought into the lies that it will lead us to some fantasy of happiness. We do it because our worthiness wound drives us to do it.
Once we start to tend to the worthiness wound, we start to find who we truly are before the world told us who we have to be. We start to recognize the ways we run away from ourselves on a consistent basis, and how it’s the coming home journey that creates ultimate fulfillment. We start to feel nourished by the present instead of chasing the future because of our inability to deal with the anxiety.
When we can honor where we are, there is no tension around achieving what we want, so we feel freer to go after what we want. When our identity is not tied to getting what we want as a form of validation for our existence, we experience more creativity and joy in the process. The getting what we want isn’t stemming from an inability to relax, but actually relaxing allows us to go after what we want with more focus and clarity.
This is what is possible as we dive into the place within us that feels unworthy and inadequate. We start to integrate a new way of being where we can hold the complexity of both wanting to be better and honoring where we are without it meaning we are deficient.
I believe tending to the worthiness wound is a revolutionary act of disengaging with culture’s dehumanizing perspective on productivity and find a pace to lead our lives that feels good for our hearts. This creates the space to grow and desire and long and wish, while also holding on to our innate fullness that is available for us right here.
To you worth,
PS. In my group program, Worthy Women Rise, we will explore this content further. WWR is a four month quest on reclaiming your worth, embodying your truth, and rising into your most expressed self. We will explore the worthiness wound and how you can untangle from its web so you can experience a settling in your bones, an ability to hold both the want and the worth. You can learn more here.