I was going to write about something completely different this week, but this keeps showing up, so I just have to write about it.
I received so many positive and grateful notes and emails and facebook post shares for last week’s post, You’ve had the power all along, my dear! in which I mentioned my financial struggle. It hit a nerve. No one talks about it and when someone does, it gives others permission to talk too. For many of us, money is a struggle. And for those of us that do struggle, we have such a messed up relationship with money. Our culture is rooted in the American (or Canadian) Dream that we believe measuring our material things proves our value. It’s not a wonder this blog hit upon something.
I was raised to buy the best and have more than I could possibly need (just in case it was taken away). My mother believed in quality and she often bought way too much in the belief she was showing her love for her children. She was conflicted about it, but here was always more money, so it was okay.
My father didn’t spend any money because he was too busy earning it. His wallet was filled with floury twenty dollar bills that he never spent because he worked 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week in his bakeshop. It was the perfect symbiotic relationship. It was pretty messed up too. He earned, she spent.
For my whole life I’ve thought that I could do something I love (I honestly don’t know if my dad loved what he did, but I do know he took pride in doing it) if you worked really, really hard at it (struggled at it and enslaved yourself to it) then you could make a living at it. And from my mom, I learned to spend it until it was gone because there was always more where it came from.
Oh, and did I ever tell you that both of my parents were children of the Great Depression? So there was that whole other thing going on there too...
Messed up. Yep.
The underlying message of that blog was about staying openhearted. And that hit another nerve. I took a quick poll in a Google search and if there’s one thing that the experts and the news outlets can all agree on, the number one thing that causes marriage problems is MONEY. After that, there is no commonality. Communication is often in the top five, but I am learning, if you can’t communicate and listen, you've really got problems.
Buried beneath that message of staying openhearted was unworthiness. I don’t know where my feelings of unworthiness came from. I don’t remember being specifically told I wasn’t worthy (maybe it still lies buried in the depths) but it is so pervasive in our culture and in our religions. You have to be good enough and you can never be good enough, deserving enough — worthy. It is the ultimate unattainable goal. Especially if we believe that status and things are proof that we are worthy.
Nah, worthiness is a feeling word. It can’t be proven by any display of the external — power, the best cars, the finest clothing, bling, houses, a jetset lifestyle.
We strive and we buy to try to prove that we’re worthy, because we think these things will make us feel worthy. But things won’t make us feel worthy.
It’s all about FEELINGS. How we will feel when we are worthy.
Worthiness lies in the beat of our everyday lives. In how we treat ourselves. In believing that we matter as much as anyone else. It’s our belief in ourselves. It’s our resiliency to life’s inevitable obstacles. It's how we treat others, yes, but if we treat ourselves with love and nurture ourselves with love and care, we treat others well.
HERE’S WHAT I KNOW TO BE TRUE
Feckin’ unworthiness is what I would consider the true “evil” in our world — if there is such a thing. It makes us do really, really dumb things, hurtful things, in trying to prove we are worthy. I could blame so many external forces for contributing to our sense of unworthiness, but it wouldn’t do any good. Because true worthiness is 100% internal. NO ONE CAN GIVE IT OR TAKE IT AWAY.
Despite 10,000 hours of journaling (I must be a master at this by now), spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on self-help courses, books, coaches, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on the right clothes, the right house, the right vacations, I still don’t know what this feeling of worthiness is for more than a fleeting moment.
I don’t honestly have an answer to how to get to that place where I feel in the core of my being that I am a magnificent Child of God / The Universe. That I was born worthy because I am connected to all things, I am part of the Universal whole, and nothing is too good for me. Why? because I don’t feel it in the core of my being.
I haven’t cleared up my misunderstanding that I am unworthy of all the good that is out there. That, in fact, I may need to do things to have the good stuff, but there is NOTHING I NEED TO DO TO BE WORTHY OF THE GOOD STUFF.
But I do believe it RATIONALLY, and it’s a start.
I also know that when I finally stopped resisting, I discovered that tapping helps a lot to wash away the unworthiness. It allows me to keep believing I WILL feel worthy.
I do know that I’m not alone in this feeling.
I do know that all we want in life is to feel worthy. We must. We spend our whole lives trying to prove we are (or aren’t).
I also know that it is different for everyone in how worthiness and unworthiness show up in their lives.
But, I also have a sneaking feeling that the tiny seed of worthiness that we are born with is identical in every single human being. It is what makes us human.
Finally, in journaling, I’ve given myself permission to go on a voyage of discovery. It took me almost 50 years to be ready, and six years in, I’ve seen positive changes I never thought possible. And I’ve come to know that I am worthy of allowing myself to explore the depths to find that dormant seed of worthiness, plant it in some really great soil, water it with love, and nurture it with sunshine. And it will grow… and spread...
kathy mercure is a storyhealer, storylistener, and storyteller. Her life’s work is to gently draw stories from her students and help them unblock their writing, find their voice, and heal their lives. Her passion is to support women and men in realizing their true identity as a valued human being, claiming their passions, and speaking their truth as they become their most authentic selves. (Photo by EagleSpirit Soul Shots)