Written by Shannon Lyn Arnold, Coach on Collective Gain, and a self-described introvert who helps others find self worth using introversion as a strength.
Brené Brown began a conversation about worthiness seven years ago that struck the nation and landed her on Oprah.
It addresses the struggle we all have with believing that we’re enough.
She defines worthiness as this: “It’s about waking up in the morning and saying that no matter what gets done and how much is done and how it’s done, I’m enough, and I’m worthy of love and belonging and joy.”
How would your life change if you fully believed this, that you are worthy, right now, exactly the way you are? What would the impact be if you began engaging with the world from this place? How would this affect the way you show up at work, in your relationships, and with your family?
If you really stop and think about it, stepping into your worthiness has the power to change your life on every level. Each one of us is worthy of love, belonging, joy, and creating the life we long for and deserve, just as we are.
But sinking into this belief often is not that simple.
Brené has spent the past decade researching vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame, and she’s learned that “there are no prerequisites for worthiness. Worthiness is an as is, here and now proposition.”
Understanding Your Inner Critic
One strategy that Brené suggests for winning the worthiness battle is to figure out where our feelings of not being good enough come from, and this search typically begins with our childhood. “In our families, we get handed down―explicitly or not explicitly―those prerequisites for worthiness,” Brené explains.
And this marks the beginning of our inner critic.
This is the voice inside our head that shows up in our most vulnerable and critical moments with some variation of “I’m not good enough”. It’s the voice that creates the fear that holds us back from taking the next step of our journey – the one we know we need to take but just can’t seem to do it -- and instead traps us inside a debilitating cycle of self-doubt, killing our confidence and filling us, subconsciously, with behavior that exemplifies inadequacy.
Our inner critic is a coping mechanism that we subconsciously created at a young age to protect us. The worthiness prerequisites that we picked up from our families significantly shaped its messages, regardless of whether or not that was intentional on their part, and we also absorbed prerequisites from the world.
The inner critic’s messages are very personalized and deep, but they are rooted in the past and no longer serve us in the present. There are many strategies for changing its message on the deepest level, but the first step is to identify this voice when it comes up and begin developing awareness around the “not good enough” message it’s telling you.
And when you begin to pay attention, you’ll be shocked by how often it’s ruling your life, making decisions for you and placing a giant shadow on your soul’s inner courage and strength – the doubt, the critic can be powerful…if we let it.
Transforming Fear Into Freedom
Think about how you feel on a good day, when everything seems to flow and you are at your best. Most likely, you know that you’re “good enough” on those days, and experience a deep sense of belonging, or worthiness.
But this can change fast in the face of a challenging situation, and suddenly that sense of worthiness begins spiraling, plummeting down toward self-doubt and self-hate.
Does hate seem like a strong word? How many times have you said “I hate _______” about yourself or your body? See? This isn’t too strong after all. It’s accurate. And that’s what we’ve got to change.
Your worthiness cannot be tied to any one person, any title, any salary, any job, or any relationship. It must be tied to the core and true essence of who you are.
Worthiness is the belief that you are more than enough because of who you are right now, with all of your imperfections and flaws and quirks. That you are worthy of love and belonging every moment of every day. Period.
In order to develop this unshakable belief in ourselves we must start by turning inward to heal what feels broken, to hear what feels unsaid, and to love our most unlovable parts. This is the path to transform our self-perceived flaws into perfectly on-purpose aspects of who we are.
It’s a daily practice that requires intention, dedication, and self-compassion, because it takes time and you will succumb to old thought patterns from time to time, especially in the beginning of your journey to wholeness.
Here’s the magic formula we’re all working with: our thoughts create our feelings, which determine our actions and therefore our result. This means that the real work begins with changing your thoughts.
We’ve built superhighways in our brains by thinking the same thoughts over and over. The I can’t, I shouldn’t, I wish, I hate, if only…. It’s time to choose a new thought that creates the belief that you are capable and worthy, on the deepest level, to create everything you always wanted.
When you begin to change your thoughts, to I can, I am, I love, I cherish, I appreciate, you start building a new powerful superhighway and experience the transformative results that occur when you believe in yourself.
Fully stepping into your worthiness has the power to transform the fear of not being good enough into the freedom to know that you are, no matter what happens. You remain standing strong, in your power.
Bringing Your Full-Self Into the World
Fighting and winning the worthiness battle isn’t just about us. It’s about the ripple effect we can have on our partners, our friends and families, and our co-workers when we’re living from this place.
A significant energy shift takes place when we learn how to look inward and truly love and accept ourselves. This deep sense of worthiness has built-in wisdom, determination, and drive to create a life that feels as good as it looks.
Brené Brown sums it up perfectly: “I think a collective sense of worthiness could shake the world.”
And you don’t have to do it alone. Healing your inner critic and rewiring your brain for self-love, compassion, and worthiness is best done with a coach. They can see what you can’t, helping you quickly move past defeat into freedom.
Thanks to Shannon Lyn Arnold Collective Gain Coach, who authored this post. Shannon is a Certified Professional Coach and an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. She has the tools to uncover what it is that is holding you back from success, joy, and purpose so you can begin to create the life that you want and deserve. Request a consultation with Shannon.
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