I am perpetually immature. I don’t seem to engage with people my own age very often. I have dear friends who are older than me and I tend to feel daughterly with them. This speaks to my mommy issues, I suppose. I feel the need to please them and bask in their praise. They may not be much older than me, but I count on their wisdom and seek their approval. I often feel childlike in their presence.
It seems that most of my friends are actually much younger than me. With them, I find myself being Mama Bear. Again, mommy issues. As my value lies in how well I care for my kids, I feel buoyed by them seeking my advice. I enjoy feeding, nurturing and caring for my young friends. I also feel less concerned with my behavior in their presence, and at times act like a child.
Now, I have only just realized this about myself, and find it curious. Does this mean that I only allow myself to be vulnerable with people when I’m acting in another role? Perhaps. It makes absolute sense that I would employ a defensive shell and revert to infantile behavior to protect my emotions.
Are these behaviors healthy? I don’t know, but I am certain growth only occurs with some measure of discomfort. So, I am going to reach out to my friends that are my own age because it’s more difficult. They really know me best and have known me the longest. With them I feel more exposed and can’t help but compare our lives, which always makes me feel inadequate. I know this is only in my mind, not theirs. It is an old, familiar, nagging beast that puts me down and makes me feel like a child. It is decidedly not healthy if I choose to listen.
In light of all of the wonderful recent blogs about self-worth, I thought, why not explore this a little bit further. For me, increasing the awareness of myself, my responses, actions, and emotions has been instrumental to me having a more rounded idea of my self-worth.
Now we can talk about self-awareness, self-help, and all of the other ideas, readings, and resources out there, but for me, none of it really started to make sense until I explored my personality. I was always under the impression that personality was based mostly on learned/conditioned traits. However, over the last 4 years, I have spent some time discovering me through a path first brought to me as part of a staff building exercise while working in Hospice. The goal of the meeting was merely to scratch the surface of the subject to raise awareness that we all think, act, respond differently based on more than just our environment, education, religious (or other beliefs).
The basis of the exploration was a quick personality test based on the enneagram theory. There are many websites that you can pay your monies to in order to take a test. I suggest the free website listed here…. http://www.9types.com/newtest/index.php you can hit the link if it works, copy and paste the text, or simply google 9 types new test. This is a short questionnaire that gives fairly accurate results. There is also an option for the “RHETI” at the top of the page, this is a sample of a longer test, but I have found the results of both to be the same for me. I have to honestly say I have taken the test more than once and when I am in different frames of mind, or feeling off kilter. Down in a depressed darkness or on top of the world, my results were the same. The numbers in the boxes varied a bit, but the trend was always the same.
After taking the test, you may feel confused, or like it certainly must be wrong. I know I did. It tells me my type and I was like heck no, I’m a 2. A nurse, caring and nurturing… hahaha *mischievous grin* well I do have those qualities, but with further exploration I realized the accuracy of this little test was slightly scary. Scary, but also awesomely intriguing. Before jumping to conclusions, spend some time in reflection. Although I do not know each one of you closely, I have had several friends, my kids, and even talked my boy toy into taking the test.
Deeper exploration brings you to understand additional concepts: The Centers, Wing, Levels of Development, Directions of Integration and Disintegration, and more. I have done some work with the wing, centers, and directions of integration and disintegration concepts, but have not really looked much further. The concept of the three instincts is what I have been reading on most recently. When you are ready, here is a link with some additional information that I have found handy:https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/how-the-enneagram-system-works/ Now, let’s not leave out the most trusted source on the internet…. Wikipedia, which boasts a nice chart with lots of information all laid out by searching Enneagram of Personality.
I’m interested in hearing about your discoveries about yourself and ways that you practice self-awareness. I look forward to hearing your voices about other ways that have lead you to personal awareness or what the term “self-awareness” means to you.
As your mind starts its pathways and another extension of the story of you begins to form, I will leave you with this statement. To me it reflects what I am attempting to achieve, not only to know myself better, but to be able to put that knowledge into action. ** Self awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. It allows understanding of other people, how you are perceived, and your attitude and responses to them in the moment**
Today is the day that my family and I have been waiting for and dreaming about. I expected to wake up with an excited outlook and a feeling of joy. Instead I awoke with the usual feeling of anxiety; worrying to excess about anything and everything all at once. Some days I’m able to push it aside, ignore the nagging thoughts, and function in denial. Some days I’m able to rise above the constant chatter in my brain. I thought today would easily be a “best day ever” kind of day, however it hasn’t started that way.
Last night my daughter called me upset, asking if she could be self-sabotaging herself. We both suffer from chronic migraines and she had convinced herself that somehow she was causing her headaches. I asked if she had stayed away from triggers like sugars and carbs and she recalled that was all she’d eaten the last couple of days. This realization only intensified her feelings of guilt. I told her of course it’s not her fault. It took forty five minutes to dissuade her from these ideas. I even had to pull out the tough-love card and told her she was feeling sorry for herself, which was very difficult for me. As I was telling her to rise above these persuasive voices that fuel her anxiety, I realized that I should be telling myself the same things, “You are not self-sabotaging and it’s not your fault.”
My intention now is to rise above the voices in my head that say “You don’t deserve to feel hopeful or happy.” I’m going to tough-love the hell out of myself. If things don’t go the way I expect or desire, I won’t worry about it. I’ll just roll with it and not feel sorry for myself. I won’t allow myself to think I have the power to self-sabotage. I will thank my daughters for the lessons I learn from them every day and while I can’t promise that today will be a “best day ever”, I will certainly give it my best shot.
I am five years old and hiding in the closet, the baby safely hidden in a bottom drawer; waiting for the shouting and screaming to get quieter, to know how long to stay hidden. And finally, loud knocking on the front door and a man yelling my name, promising it’s safe to come out. I peek around corners cautiously as I make my way through the broken glass and wood. Then I see the man in the small window of the door up high. A kind smile and “Open the door, Honey. It’s ok now. We’re going to take you to your mommy, ok? Just unlock the door, Honey.” I open the door and men in uniforms rush past me. “Where is the boy?” Strong arms are lifting me. Shock and terror are preventing me from being able to speak, unable to tell them where I hid my brother. Now I am being rushed out of the broken house into the night and Daddy is there with the men with guns. I hear him saying, “Where’s my Camels?” He sees me and is crying and shouting at me “Baby, don’t let them take me. Daddy’s so sorry.” I’m being carried to the neighbors where I can hear Mommy screaming. I’m put in bed with her and she’s still crying and screaming for Johnny.
“My baby, where’s my baby?” The wailing is as scary as the yelling and hitting only moments ago. I just want everyone to be quiet. It’s so loud. Her clinging to me is oppressive, and I want to be back in the soldier’s arms. My inherent need to survive is what led me then and from that, a seed of self-worth was planted. Are survival and self-worth the same thing or is one born from the other? I was able to protect myself and my brother. That time. Not because I felt worthy, but because I had the primal instinct to survive. I think that the deliberate act of survival is self-worth in its truest form. If I am worthy of saving myself, then I have value.
I thought I had very little self-worth. I thought my low self-esteem and general dislike of my face in the mirror were the truth. I thought I was an ugly coward. I was simply breathing and waiting..to not. Only forty-eight and already so tired, the best experiences in my rear view mirror. I am too young for health problems, no longer contributing to society in a meaningful career, and a wax figure of a mother, no longer necessary for my children’s survival. The distinction between worth and self-esteem is necessary because one is truth and the other is what I have created in my mind. I have to remind myself of that. I have worth, I have value. I am loved. So the real question is; why am I so determined to take away any value I might have? Because of my failures? Why am I so quick to erase my worthiness? Because I’ve been hurt? The lies I’ve told myself keep me quiet and subdued, unable to answer. The voice that says “you’re an ugly, no good, piece of shit” was born to protect me, to remind me to stay hidden until it’s safe to come out.
For a long time, I thought someone else needed to save me to prove my worth. I searched every face for a glimmer of kindness; I looked outside of myself for someone, anyone, to value me. I went to bars alone and went home with men I didn’t know. I did so many needy things that I am ashamed of. I let myself get hurt time and time again. I was vulnerable and broken. It was like the flower I grew from a seed. I stayed in that shameful place for a very long time, not knowing that the seed of survival was germinating and every time I was abused it grew stronger. Each stress to the plant, every time the dog stepped on it or I forgot to water it, made it impervious to the blights, and strengthened its roots.
Recently, I had to tap into that well of strength, revisiting my childhood. Buried emotions rose to the surface and overflowed. I found myself sobbing, wailing, and slobbering in the fetal position. I didn’t eat or sleep and I cried so hard I threw up and wet my pants. I would catch myself in the mirror and couldn’t recognize the swollen, lined face I saw. I expected to see a child’s wide eyed face looking back. The reflection I saw filled me with pity, sadness, and dread. What I thought was ultimate weakness and my sanity saying “I’m out” was, in reality, a brief, intensive, grieving period. I had terrorizing nightmares when I could sleep, with old monsters visiting, and real monsters occupying my waking thoughts. I was irrationally afraid all the time. The phone ringing, a text message, or dogs barking sent me through the roof. Then my old friend, Self-Worth showed up and it changed.
I told Kristy I was sorry for what happened to her and it wasn’t her fault. I told her she was loved and worthy and innocent and pure, and that I would protect her at all costs. I told her she was not alone and I honored her and her brother’s memory. I got angry at all the predators, abusers, victimizers and bad guys who prey on the hurt and weak. I took action and said NO. I talked to my children, I reached out to my family, I found a way to reconcile the past. I reached out for help and let myself be vulnerable. In doing so, I gained a confidante, another supporter, and found out I’m not alone. I became a survivor, when I used to be a victim.
Like a seedling stretching towards the sun, I have grown stronger. My roots are deep and I won’t be stomped on or crowded out. This flower will bloom! And it will be glorious.
“I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories… water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.” ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés
I posed this question of value and self worth and then I sat on the idea while everyone else wrote about their value. The moments of recognition and the turning points were humble and loving. We all make mistakes, but if we continue to practice doing better, we will succeed. We all share 1 trait strongly; we have all been handed our identity from an outside party, then fought to find our own identity based on intuition. Trust.
I sound like Carmen when I say we have been handed our identity. This idea is not my own, she has shared this sentiment in our every day conversations. I struggle with fear of being not enough, then struggle with the fear I am too much. Where does my value lie? I had to do some observation before I could truly respond.
I realize I have looked for my value as a human being for quite awhile. I looked in action, by being in bands and playing for crowds (or 10 people we knew and 5 we did not know, dancing around a bucket after the venue roof had a big leak) and I found fun and friends and human case studies, but my value felt empty. This person on stage, she looks like me but she is only a persona of a set of emotions being released as art. The best value I have from the experience I had with my bands is that I learned how to network, market, promote, schedule, pack a van tetris style, and I made mistakes and still showed up. Essentially all of this value boils down into learned intelligence. I learned the best way I know how, by jumping in and getting creative.
My next big action was playing Roller derby, where I learned limits physically can generally be deduced from fear. I also learned if you put in the work, you will see results. Nothing like training for the next bout was as effective on my body as those routines were. I had fun, I made friends with my own gender, and I succeeded. And I failed a bunch too, but I learned how to write a non-profit business plan. I also learned how to shine, and I learned not everyone wants you to shine. My value again is found in learned lessons.
I then took 4 yours to work on my brain. The neuroscience I cared about, and what also seemed to be my emerging value. This was the best action I have ever taken. I had to sit down. And not wiggle. And learn how to learn. I’m still learning how to learn.
What is my worth. I am worth everything I want my life to look at. I am worth everything to the people who love me. My value lies in my resiliency towards optimism. My value lies in the ability to further the life lessons. My value is in the observation of human life, and how I can contribute in a million different intelligent ways and have the courage to say when I am not interested or do not have the applied talent without feeling crushing shame and guilt of not being “good enough”. I am the good. So are you. That is what it is all worth.
The prompt is: what is your worth?
I felt like I was drowning for the longest time, trying to be a mom, a good friend, great daughter, for a time the sweet little perfect wife, and once that fell apart I have even attempted to be a good partner to a couple of men. All the while I always felt like a part of me was always being devalued and missing. I was being swallowed in a pool of everyone else’s expectations of what my worth was to them.
I realized in my late thirties that I was missing the huge fucking point in the game of life, I was missing my own mother fucking self worth. I have given and given so much of myself that I was left devalued and empty, from my sexuality to my own emotional well being. So I decided to do something solely just for me.
I did my very first Boudoir photo shoot, I stepped so far outside my comfort zone that I almost thought that I lost my own damn mind. But let me tell you the moment I saw those pictures it was like the self worth bomb went off in my brain. I finally for the first time in my life saw myself as a strong confident and sexy woman. From that moment forward my life started changing and it has not stopped since last April.
My pictures hang on my bedroom wall as a daily reminder that I am a sexy badass woman. I buy lingerie for no man but for myself. Most days I have lace underwear on simply because I like knowing that under my scrubs I have some sexy ass bra and panty set on and it helps me walk a little taller and yeah my little half smile on my face might be simply because I have something naughty on under my clothes. Who knows its my little secret.
I am learning that my self worth is knowing fully that I am strong, independent,fiercely sexy and beautiful woman in my own right. My beauty comes from the way I carry my confidence, it is how I smile even though I have been broken down multiple times and I still choose to live and I am willing to give my heart over and over.I know that I am worthy of love from a man and that my time is valuable, and so is my respect, trust, and my sexuality.
I am taking pride in getting up early everyday and going to the gym and pushing my body and making it look better, for no one but myself, but along with that comes the pride in wanting to look good, I am doing my hair more… like holy shit I am actually styling it again and even went as far and having extensions put in and this woman has long hair again for the first time in over fourteen years! I am taking more time with my makeup and have started wearing my perfume again,
Yes for me my self worth is tied into myself love, and self confidence and my sexuality but for fucks sake I don’t care. It’s all a package deal for me. I am in my late thirties and I am in full bloom. I am finally becoming the woman I have always meant to be, I am a strong, confident, sexy badass beautiful woman worthy of all the love and beauty this world has to offer. Who the fuck wouldn’t want to be with a Badass like me? Because baby I am Fucking worth it! I own it I am a mother fucking Queen! And that is Self Worth. Knowing it Owning it and Showing. I don’t need a partner its a want. I am just fine all on my own.