Yesterday, Brene Brown (of Ordinary Courage) kicked off a writing prompt on self-worth in support of her new DVD, and she asked her readers to add a link to their own blog entries on the topic. Seemed like reason enough to sit down and write. For those of you just joining from that link: welcome! Please visit often! I promise the house will be cleaner next time ;)
I am worthy of love and belonging now. Is that true? Intellectually, I know that I have to say that I believe it. If I say otherwise, people will be too kind and comforting. You can hear their collective sigh, and feel their rush to interrupt and argue before I’m even finished with my sentence. “Ohhh, how can you say that? You’re beautiful and strong. We love you.” I would listen, and think, well, this is why I don’t say things like that out loud.
Last night, our Kundalini practice was focused on positive energy. During meditation, our yoga teacher told us, “the world needs who you are.” (How’s that for coincidence?) Our meditation started with some visualization: tap into what makes you, you – as you breathe in, imagine yourself expanding into that space, creating light all around you. I sat there in gyan mudra, legs crossed, fingers outstretched, focusing on my third eye, and worrying. I couldn’t come up with what it was that I brought to the world anymore. I used to know who I was – confident, smart, funny, articulate. I brought those images to mind, struggling to make them expand the light around me… and the light just wouldn’t stay on. Instead of the warm, glowing comfort of the sun, I got that awful flickering of the fluorescent bulb in the closet. Those images of my “worthy” self just seemed so far away, left in the past.
So here I was, still meditating, failing at even that, since I certainly wasn’t bringing any positive energy into my space. And that’s what it’s like to be in my current mental traffic circle (“look kids… Big Ben… Parliament…”). I worry over who I’ve become. I remind myself that I’m being too hard on myself, to stop being such a perfectionist. Then the fear starts to build because what if I can’t stop being a perfectionist? And then I worry over who I’ve become… I know this sense of worthiness has to come from within. It was just so much easier when I was surrounded by external validation. Or maybe… wait. That’s not what I mean. It’s not that the praise and reassurance have disappeared; it’s that lately I want to argue with it. Where I am today is not where I want to be. I know that confidence, intelligence, and wit are still inside, but I’m not showing that to the world these days. I’m not where I want to be, and there’s pain in that, but if I let that struggle go… what will I become?
The up side of all this (because there must be an upside, you can’t have read this far only to be knee-deep in self-loathing): I do know that growth and compassion will come from this time. And of course, I fear that this is not at all what Brene had in mind when she asked for pieces on worthiness. But this is what’s true. Intellectually, I know that I have to say I believe I am worthy. But the actual belief – well, hopefully that comes back to me real soon.
This post started out on a different site, but in an effort to get more of my writing in one place, I moved it to cindyscovel.com in January 2012.