Are you creating experience of self-worth based on a construct that was given to you or are you creating in alignment with your Soul’s Truth?
Your Worth does not exist Outside of You.
Your Work does not have to require Struggle.
You do not have to Prove your Worth.
You do not have to Hustle to Get Worthiness.
You are Enough, As You Are.
You are born Worthy,
And You are Loved.
I am writing to you from a place where I learned so much about Hard Work, Struggle, Sacrifice. My parents built this cottage with their bare hands - my Father with his extensive engineering and crafting skills, knowledge and muscle, my Mother with her design sensibility, artistic eye, patience and willingness to physically do what she could while pregnant with my sister. I was barely four years old, and my earliest memories are of the cottage being built, and some of the best memories of my childhood and later life take place here. Also, some of my deepest "unlearnings" and self-healing triggers have originated from this beloved place that also has simultaneously been a source of struggle and contentious contrasts within my family culture.
We learn through contrast.
We grow by the experience of expansion and contraction, a Primary form of Contrast.
This is the Human Experience.
We learn first from our family our Worth and our Values that inform our Work. Dr. Mario Martinez, in his book The MindBody Code, calls our early caregivers our "Primary Cultural Editors" who teach us their what they know about life, love, creation, connection, contribution, community. Largely this transference is by demonstration, embodiment of their own values and belief patterns in action. We, as children and organisms invested in our survival, mirror our Primary Cultural Editors and mold our own internal shapes (beliefs, thoughts, words) and forms (habits, behaviors, actions) to express what we have seen, received, been given. We are hardwired not to deviate from "The Pale," as Dr. Martinez calls our Family Culture, since our survival brain chemistry requires we Think, Talk, Look, and Act like our Family tribe to maintain coherence, safety, and protection.
When we move into the world outside of the Home, we bring our Family Culture with us. We may think we have left this primary home, or have made some conscious attempts to deviate as we move into "Secondary Socialization" experiences (see Berger and Luckmann's The Social Construction of Reality) via school, community organizations, and later work environments. However, at the central core of our being is a story of self that can look quite different from the external representation of self.
We may conceptually or intellectually feel valid and worthy, and use our education, our work achievements to "prove" that we "made it"; often confirming conformance with what we "like" about where we come from ("If Dad was still around, he'd be proud"), or as a way to prove our triumph over circumstances and upbringing we "disliked" (i.e., "Rags to Riches" story archetype). In both instances, we are creating our life experience based on preference (like / dislike) rather than acceptance and presence with what is.
I'm not saying there isn't also a human desire to create and grow and thrive. That is most certainly a big part of why we are here, and how we bring forth our unique soul purpose into form. And we can definitely create from a mindful place; true mindfulness at work directs our creative energy into form without grasping, clinging, or pushing to force specific outcomes.
Where things can become problematic with our Work and our Worth is when our own INTERNAL sense of Worth and Value is dependent on EXTERNAL circumstances of certainty, significance, and love (three of the top Human Needs, as Tony Robbins declares).
The market crash of 2008 taught a LOT of people about over-dependence on the external to create an experience of life. Financial loses, as well as diagnoses of illness, major accidents and traumas, relationship losses, death of loved ones we wish we saw more before they died, like my 35-37 year old self that was caught up in prioritizing billable hours and promotion cycle promises over spending time with my last living grandparent as she declined through Alzheimer's into death.
I've personally experienced all of the "wake up calls" listed above, and can tell you that they will keep coming -- harder, and faster -- for me, even being hit by a car in 2015 and being out of work on disability for 5 months didn't fully paint the picture for my fear-driven Ego to surrender to change.
"It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized.”
― Marianne Williamson, The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money, and Miracles
Until we choose to sit down and really "go within" to discover that happiness is indeed within we will continue to believe, think, say, and act in accordance to the Worthiness and Work beliefs we've inherited -- from our Primary and Secondary sources of culture and socialization.
P.S. Regret doesn't help anything as it is too low-frequency in power to create change. Righteous Anger, however, can be a catalyzing force when appropriately aligned to intentional self-alchemy.
P.S.S. It isn't just "fixed" by quitting corporate and doing your own thing; we can completely reproduce the same kind of external dependency in our entrepreneurial ventures, and I will say I've learned this the "hard" way, and am so grateful to be creating from greater alignment with Love and Heart, rather than Fear as to whether or not people will "want" or "buy" my offerings.
The Truth is that when we use our creative energy, our intelligence and our heart to create our Work in the World from a place of already knowing we are worthy and loved, we create from a balanced place of giving to share, rather than giving (or working) to "get" something back (like our worthiness and the value of being alive in this world).
In this way, our Work becomes something that can Nourish us and create Vitality, rather than over-tax and burn-out our Body, Mind, and Soul. When we create from an already full cup, having received the self-love and self-forgiveness for the ways in which we were - quite literally - programmed to create, we can then feel in a Whole Human way our innate Birthright of Freedom, Joy, Peace, and the Power to Create our Experience of Life, and our Work in and for the benefit of all beings.
My prayer is that you find the inspiration and courage to reflect on your own relationship to external sources for security, worth, value, and love. And that you feel your own birthright of empowerment to choose how you desire to experience your work and life.
May all beings everywhere be happy and free.
Thank you for reading and considering these ideas. I'd love to hear what you have to say on this topic, especially since I realize my experience and perspective is largely informed by my own path, research and training, and the experiences of clients and students in my Whole Human Alchemy and Consulting practice. I love learning in service of expansion of these ideas and my mission to help others see their own path to Freedom, to Work and #LiveWholeHuman.
If you feel called, please join me for a workshop to explore your own relationship to Work and Worthiness. This is especially designed for those contemplating career changes or their life purpose, entrepreneurs and artists, and those feeling ennui, or the contrasting desire that they can be of greater service to the healing and upliftment of others and the world.