How do you feel about your life and who you are? I have been thinking about worth this morning, and how so many people I work with have to be actively convinced of their value. Funnily enough, it seems to be the kindest, most lovely people who frequently think poorly of themselves. If you don't believe in your innate worth it leads to all kinds of issues, such as squashing your true voice, letting people walk over you, ignoring your dreams and passions and so on.
I have some thoughts I'd like you to consider today:
1) What is really fabulous, special and/or different about you?
There is something, for sure, so be honest with yourself. I get especially excited when someone has a really unusual gift or talent, even if the world doesn't value it, as this indicates real authenticity (vs. trying to be what other people think has value). There is typically a wonderful road that lies ahead of you, filled with joy and surprises, if you honor, develop and follow this gift.
2) What are you good at?
Tell the truth to yourself and own it. If you're worried about getting a big head or thinking too highly of yourself (so many of my clients tell me they worry about this and hesitate to even tell me, their coach, what's great about themselves), you're not the kind of person who will ever be obnoxiously narcissistic so stop worrying about it.
I heard from a woman recently who suffered from deep depression and low self-worth. She became determined to see herself in a better light and decided to actively acknowledge within herself that she is a great mother, a loving wife, and an excellent homemaker. Once she really owned the value of this and stopped dismissing her life as worthless, her whole life started to feel lit from within.
3) You are deserving of your dreams
I strongly believe that if you have a dream or longing in your heart, it is there for a reason. I believe our dreams are deposited in our hearts because in following our dreams we live out the life we are designed for, a fully lived life that blesses others. It's not selfish to follow your dreams, in fact you could be doing others a great disservice by staying small and limited.
I received yet another email today from a medical resident who is floundering and feeling hopeless in her medical education, telling me that my story gives her hope for a meaningful future. I have had people tell me they came back from the brink of suicide because someone pointed them to my website. Thank God I listened to the pull of my heart and found the courage to follow what my heart was calling me to, even if it seemed frivolous or self-indulgent at the time.
Your dreams count and they are worthy. You don't need to turn your world upside down or abandon the people who matter most to follow your dreams, but you can find ways to take steps in the right direction that steadily lead you into who you are meant to become.
4) Your boundaries matter
You have an internal compass. You know what feels right to you, and what feels wrong. Resentment burns when you know that someone is taking advantage of you. Silent anger and even shame remind you yet again that you didn't say no, even though you long to so badly. This is your internal warning system and it can be trusted to guide you. Your boundaries are real and they are important. Wanting to say no isn't wrong. It's true that serving others and helping others are the core of a fulfilling, meaningful life, but you can trust your internal compass to point you to the people you are truly meant to help and serve. If you feel a "no" within, listen to it, speak it, and move on to whatever it is you can freely, joyfully give your life energy to. That's where you're supposed to be.
5) Your voice deserves to be heard
I have really been working on this one this year. I learned from my husband that there are times when I try to get a point across in a "little girl voice", I have no awareness of it when I do it and it drives him crazy. I figured out that I use this voice when I feel unworthy of being heard, when I feel my request or opinion isn't of sufficient value to deserve being spoken strongly. For most of my life I have not spoken up when it mattered. I have not made my needs clearly known. This year I've become like a detective, monitoring my flow of thoughts for unspoken needs that I would normally have let pass through my head unacknowledged.
If people around you care about you, they need to know what you think, what you believe, what you care about, what you need. I think I often didn't express my needs because I was afraid that if the person I was speaking to didn't care or didn't do anything to meet the need, I would discover that they didn't really love me or have my best interests in mind. This is actually a good thing to discover, because now you know the truth and can act on it. You'll generally find, though, that those around you are more than happy to know how you really feel (though they may push back at first), and want to meet you where you really are. This is true intimacy. If you're not sharing how you really feel you are preventing others from truly knowing you and loving you.
Make a list of what is good about you, what is noble, what is true. Write out why your voice has worth and deserves to be part of the conversation. Describe why anyone who knows you is lucky to know you.
Now own it. And live as if it is true. Because it is.
Dr. Susan Biali, M.D. is a medical doctor, health and happiness expert, life and health coach, professional speaker, flamenco dancer, and the author of Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You, dedicated to helping people worldwide get healthy, find happiness and enjoy more meaningful lives that they love. Dr. Biali has been featured as an expert on the Today Show and the Ricki Lake Show as well as many other major media outlets, and is available for keynote presentations, workshops/retreats, media commentary, and private life and health coaching.
Copyright Dr. Susan Biali, M.D. 2013