When it comes to living a life of fulfillment, no element is more paramount than self-worth. We have it early on, and we often allow it to be taken. Are you willing to fight to recover it?
A life worth living is worth recording. — Tony Robbins
As of today, I have 12,454 entries in my DayOne journal. That is a lot of journaling. Sometimes, I wonder if it’s too much.
Almost every time I have that thought, something happens to reinforce for me why I journal so much. Usually, that “something” is when I review my journal and find a moment that points me to my growth.
This is a story of one of those times.
Trying to Conform to an Unrealistic Expectation
In March 2014, I was about 6 months into my Fitness First ritual. I had a practice of rigorously recording the time it took me to do everything from the time I returned from the gym to the time I was ready to work. I was struggling to fit the mold of what I believed was the Morning Routine Timeline for Success.
I’m sure you know that timeline:
Up at 5 am.
At the gym by 5:30 am.
At your desk by 8:00 am.
I wasn’t coming even close to that, and I was frustrated. I shared with my mentor Evelyn, a gifted healer and bodyworker, my belief that it was taking me too long and my struggle to make my process shorter.
The Scolding that Shifted Me
At that point, I had been seeing Evelyn regularly for a decade. Evelyn is like a Zen master, timeless and ageless, with deep wisdom that draws you in before you even hear her speak. When she speaks, it is with care and consideration of her words and in a soothing voice. I had never heard her use a harsh tone.
Until that moment.
In a tone that stung more than the sharp points of the accupuncture needles, she pricked my heart:
It’s mean of you to talk like that to yourself when you are simply doing your best.
You have inherent value without all the things you do.
It was the first time anyone had ever scolded me to give myself a break.
But the real weapon was in the words I wrote in response. In my journal, beneath Evelyn’s words, I wrote:
How is that possible?
How can I have value or be of value if I am not serving others or working to share my voice?
The Measurements of Growth
A journal tells you how much you’ve grown. It allows you to record what you learn so you remember it. — Tony Robbins
It’s hard to believe I wrote that. In many ways I feel like I’m reading the words of a completely different person. I can see where I am today and how far I’ve come.
Back then, in the early days of creating my morning rituals and creating space for myself, I had adopted the mindset that serving myself first was a path to serving clients better.
Sometimes you just need to take the path that gets you there. If you need to tell yourself that it’s really a means of serving others better, that’s what you do.
This worked for me, an has worked for many of my clients who struggle with creating space for themselves.
And yet I am sad because I know that I once felt that sentiment as truth. Sometimes I still feel it, and I must remind myself that it’s an illusion.
And I know that I’m not the only one. It is too common in our culture. I see and feel it all around me. In my clients, in random people I meet, on social media (it’s hidden beneath the boasting and the filtered photos), and even in people who stand on big platforms and dare to teach and inspire others to greatness.
How did we get here?
Nobody is born with the inherent belief that they must do a certain thing at a certain skill level, or produce a certain amount, in order to be deemed worthy.
Somehow, we learn this. Our culture trains us to believe this.
There is an energy that pervades our culture; a sense that our worth as human beings is inherently tied to the roles we play, what we do, how fast we do it, how many people we serve, how much we produce.
How do we reverse this trend? How do we reinstill self-worth in adults, and prevent the children in our world from relinquishing theirs?
Today’s Daily Calm meditation in the Calm iOS app was a contemplation of Santosha, a Sanskrit word that means “fully complete.”
Meditation guide Tamara Levitt explained the concept of Santosha by discussing how we often hinge our happiness and fulfillment on external factors. It often sounds like this:
When I have….
When I do ….
When I achieve ….
While it’s good to have goals to push our growth, when we rest our fulfillment on future external factors, we set ourselves up with an unreachable destination.
What Fills the Emptiness
The hole that you feel in your core cannot be filled by reaching goals, by money, followers, friends, likes, or awards. You cannot fill it with more work, more play, a larger audience, a bigger platform, a new book deal, or more clients.
Nor can you fill it with self-confidence, self-esteem, self-love, or self-trust. All of those are important, but they don’t fill the hole caused by unfulfillment.
Are You Willing to Fight for Yourself?
Victory is when you come home to yourself. — Tony Robbins
The only way to fill the hole is to cultivate the unshakeable belief that you are enough: that you are worthy of love, compassion, kindness, respect just as you are.
You must cultivate the belief, that
You have inherent value without all the things you do.
Just as you are.
This is a pretty big hurdle for most of us, because we live in a culture that tries to teach us the exact opposite. I make no claim to have solved this one for good.
This is a daily practice. Sometimes it feels like I am fighting the belief that I must act, be, do, produce, achieve, or accomplish to be deemed worthy.
That’s why I call my work The Ritual Revolution: my daily rituals are how I fight for myself. It’s how I fight for my worth. It’s how I stand in my inherent value.
Look within yourself.
What would it mean to feel like you have enough, do enough, are enough?
Are you willing to fight for yourself?