I have finally found my worth.
I couldn’t buy it in a store. It didn’t have a price tag.
I thought for many years that my worth would be found in having what you had—a new car, a nice house, cool, designer clothes, and handbags.
I thought for years that my value was wrapped up in the things I wore, the hairstyle I adorned, and the way I laughed or didn’t laugh while in public.
I thought the way you saw me made me who I was…
Until I noticed you weren’t really looking at me—you were concerned with yourself.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, you saw me, but you weren’t obsessed with me like I was with myself.
You didn’t obsess or ruminate about what I was wearing. You acknowledged me and went on about your day. You were confident and self-assured, and this game I was playing with you—how I was comparing myself to you—didn’t work because it was essentially a one-player game. I was the only character playing. I was the only pawn on the board.
I started to realize internally which things I did that made me feel bad and which ones made me feel good.
And not the kind of good that comes quickly and then makes you feel bad quickly, like food you are dying to have, and then you eat too much and indulge too heavily, and feel gross afterward.
Or a purchase that you think will make you happy but then one week later it’s something else that you have to have to be happy all over again.
Not like that.
It’s the root actions and inactions in my mind and body that make me inherently satisfied or dissatisfied for the long-term. Not quick and easy here; this is the real deal. This is foundational.
So for me, I learned I can’t drink alcohol. It delivered too many empty promises and left me feeling hung out to dry. It made me do things I regretted and didn’t align with my values.
I learned caffeine doesn’t work for me either. It brings me up and then quickly crashing down, and I need more and more to fill the incessant need. It leaves me feeling groggy and crabby the next day. I don’t want to be addicted to caffeine or any other substance. I have done that for too long in my life and I don’t want any substance to dictate my feelings or my ability to be awake, alert, or asleep. I will follow my natural rhythms—thank you very much.
Exercise. I must do it. I can’t not do it. I need to move my body whether it be yoga, stretching, a brisk walk, push-ups, sit-ups, a choreographed workout. When I don’t get enough exercise, I feel like garbage. I have learned that exercise in moderation makes a much better “drug of choice.” My mind feels clearer and my body feels more centered after even 20-30 minutes of movement.
I eat a clean, healthy, vegan diet. Killing sentient beings for my eating pleasure creates nothing but disease and hormonal imbalance. Think about the torture an animal goes through leading up to its inevitable demise. I don’t want the hormones of terror and torture in my bloodstream, and I no longer eat anything coming from an animal product. Yes, the chickens laying eggs are treated poorly too. Fish are included in this as well. I want no part of the animal agriculture industry, and my body is much calmer and cleaner having since made that choice.
I must connect to a higher source. For me, that is taking time to connect and pray to God and having a personal relationship with Jesus. I journal and pray. I thank God for my blessings and for looking after me and my family. I surrender to a higher power and trust that I am not trying to control every facet of my existence. I give in and let go. I turn worries and stressors over to my God. I breathe and connect. I find a conscious connection to my God. I ask for forgiveness. I let go of resentments and fears. I breathe easy in my higher power’s presence.
I eat a mostly raw food diet. I drink a room temperature drink in the morning and eat a raw salad at lunch, usually with some raw cashews or walnuts or avocado. I eat a cooked meal at dinner, sometime after 4 o’clock. I found when I eat cooked meals during the day, it bogs me down, and I feel more tired and lethargic when I need to be more productive. I gave up sugar and processed foods for the most part, and try to stick with a whole foods, plant-based diet.
I set strong, healthy boundaries. I keep energy-drainers at bay. I don’t struggle much with this because my boundary game is strong, but we mustn’t be saying yes when we mean no. Saying no is a complete sentence and it is one of the most important lessons I have learned in my recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. Saying no is something that people struggle with, as we have been engrained with being polite and not hurting others’ feelings, but there comes a time when our own emotional and mental health must come first—and saying no is the first step to liberation and strength in fighting our own battles. We put ourselves first, and then have more to give when our tank is not running on empty.
I acknowledge feelings of grief and unworthiness. Feelings ebb and flow and sometimes it feels like a tidal wave of emotion is coming to the surface. It is easy to want to run to the nearest ice cream shop, pub, fast food place, or mall, but I encourage you to stop and ask the emotion where it came from and what it is here to say.
Sit with yourself and breathe. Put your hand over your heart and take care of yourself. Let the emotion come, and be your own loving parent. Sit with yourself and bring comfort to that place of longing. Call a friend for support if you start to have irrational thoughts or feel too scared or alone. Most importantly, breathe and don’t abandon yourself. Writing is a powerful tool here. Try not to censor yourself. You can always burn it afterward. Let it up and out.
I can no longer stuff my feelings and emotions. I have to be clear and intentional about what I say, and if I say something wrong or that I regret, I have to be accountable to myself and speak up. This is easier said than done, and I am a definite work in progress.
I discovered that learning to walk taller and feeling intrinsic value comes from within.
It’s been a powerful lesson in self-discovery, but I can’t tell you how good it feels to not be bogged down by shame and regret. To feel in line with my choices, hopes, dreams, and desires. To be an authentic person who has no secrets or remorse. It’s all out on the table, and I am an open book. Ask me anything and I won’t cower.
In the past, I was running from my truth, whereas now, I am embracing it, and it feels amazing.