Standing Up for Yourself

+ man on mountain Dec 2009 5301501_sThe slogan, “I’m worth it” is used to sell beauty products and lots of other merchandise.

It is a pretty clever message – it suggests that if I buy a product, I’m valuing myself, I’m treating myself, I’m taking great care of myself. Its inverse logic suggests that if I don’t buy a product, then I must not know “I’m worth it.” Now, they’ve got me coming and going – I’m both unworthy and clueless! These clever marketers have gotten me from both directions!

This slogan indicates some of the confusion our culture has about worthiness. It suggests many misconceptions about worthiness: that worthiness is something we have or we don’t, that it is something we have to “achieve,” and, most damaging of all, that our worthiness can be created by something outside of us. In our culture, we’ve been led to believe that our worthiness comes about because we look good with the right hairstyle, make-up or clothing, because we earn the right grades and promotions, or because we drive the right car or live the best neighborhood.

But true worthiness does not come from something we put on or earn. Worthiness is not created through outer means but through inner connection with our Selves. Worthiness is contained in our Essence, our Spirit. Our Essence knows our intrinsic value; our innate worth. Worthiness is not something that is earned by goodness (though we are certainly taught that it is) nor lost by badness (again, despite what we are threatened with in some belief systems). It is a Divine gift from the Universe.

Admittedly, this Divine spark of worthiness can be pretty hard to find and connect with, sometimes. There are people whose actions and ways of being indicate a strong disconnection from their Divinity. We are, after all, Spirit in human form, and sometimes the human aspect can mask the Divine. But I believe that we are all Essence and that Essence knows its worthiness, its Divinity, and that it is up to us to return to consciousness of that Divinity. There, we will know our own worthiness – and everyone else’s as well.

If we look to the outside to create our worthiness or self-esteem, we are relying on a changeable source. As well-meaning as people may be, there is a lot of conditional messaging out there! What one person tells us might be contradicted by another. Who do we believe? And no matter what we’re told, if we don’t know that we are worthy in ourselves, all the affirmation and reassurance from our friends and family won’t do a thing for us. It won’t have anywhere to “stick.” We have to know it from within. When we do, we are in alignment, in Spirit, in harmony with ourselves and the Universe.

I heard about an amazing statement on worthiness from an unexpected source, a prisoner in a writing class that my husband and a friend are leading. Most of these men have not experienced lives with much positive messaging or much of a sense of knowing their self-worth. But some of them are working to learn who they are and where their worthiness lies. One day in the writing class, a young man named Tremalle read a line from his story that has remained with me ever since my husband shared it with me.

Tremalle said, “If you can’t stand up for yourself, you’ll fall for anything.”

One can imagine all that this man might have “fallen” for in his lifetime; peer pressure and wrong-headed ideas that ultimately got him into prison, for instance. We’ve all fallen prey to pressures, opinions, judgments, actions and beliefs that didn’t align us with our best selves. But, this man realized an important spiritual dynamic. “Standing up for yourself” is another way of describing a connection with Self. When we connect with Self (which is Essence, Source, Divinity), we can stand up for ourselves and all else will fall in place, because we are connected to our inner power and strength.

So, I invite us all to know that we are worthy and to release the old energies that have undermined us and limited us: self-doubt, shame, criticism from others. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” So, stop giving permission! Let’s begin to hold ourselves with acceptance, self-respect and honor, and to invite grace, to which we are all given access, into our hearts. Claim your worthiness. Know it. See worthiness in others. Let’s stand up for ourselves and for others from here on in, and not fall for anything.

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