Lately I’ve been struggling with themes surrounding worthiness – self-worth, value, significance.
And not in a good way...
This past lunar eclipse/full moon in Scorpio has shined a light on some deep inner wounds of unworthiness for me. Like, a lifetime of seemingly insignificant (yet hugely impactful) moments of feeling ‘without value’. As in, my presence in this life does not matter, I do not matter, my voice does not matter, I have nothing of value to offer anyone… you name it, I’ve said it to myself.
Some of these moments were self-inflicted. Some not. I've beat myself up plenty for the self-inflicted times, and held on to the others as truths. Either way, the history has solidified itself as fact in my head. Recently I've had a lot of moments where those thoughts have crept in and I realize it's something I need to look at, to investigate, to 'work with'.
And the universe has been shining a HUGE spotlight on it very clearly telling me it’s time to deal with these feelings of zero self-worth. I believe showing me, first of all, to stop looking outside myself for my worth. AKA, quit looking for or hoping for or expecting any sort of external validation. My value does not come from someone else; it comes from within.
So I’m trying.
There are arguments I can make to counter to unworthiness, and I do, yet the doubt still exists. Anyone who has done the work to change deep-seated beliefs knows how hard this one is… I mean, I turned 50 today. Changing 50 years of believing something isn’t exactly easy.
As I stumble my way through this work (stumble, fall, cry…), I thought of something I just read by Pema Chodron. I recently finished re-reading Welcoming the UnWelcome. Every time I read one of her books, I pick up on something new. Because every time I re-read one of them, I’m in a different place -- I’ve grown since the first time I read it and can relate to a new level of infromation.
What I’m referring to is using the practice called tonglen when you’re in the midst of struggle, of suffering. Basically, when the feelings of unworthiness and sadness flood in, instead of running away from them or trying to numb them, I instead welcome them in. Breathe them in – breathe in the pain, the sorrow, the hurt. Literally -- on the inhale, breathe in the pain and the suffering. And on the exhale, breathe out relief, breathe out peace, comfort. Breathe out peace in place of sorrow.
But then expand it beyond myself to anyone who might be experiencing the same feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness. Breathe in their suffering and breathe out peace and relief to them. I’m working on it and the practice is helping me be more compassionate to myself.
And to anyone feeling value-less, unworthy, or insignificant… You are not alone. I see you. You matter. Your existence, your presence, and your gifts matter. Your voice matters.
You are worthy and deserving of a beautiful life. And I’m breathing for you. Sending you comfort and acknowledgement.
And here is the second of all… It’s a shared human experience.
Our pain, our fear, our anxiety. I am not alone. I am not the only one to ever feel these feelings. I/We are not unique in these things – our stories may be different (at times much different), but we all experience this shared humanity.
I am working on showing myself the same compassion I give to anyone else. I have found it’s much easier to tell someone else how truly worthy and valuable they are – and believe it – than it is to tell myself those same words and actually believe them.
To quote Pema “Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.”
Be kind to yourself. And know that I’m always breathing for you.