I Am Worthy.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I, mostly always, have a mantra for my meditation and yoga practice. It’s often based on what the instructor is discussing that day. Sometimes it’s more about getting my head in the right space (“be here,” “let go,” “stay in the now”). But, sometimes it’s about an issue that I’m dealing with or that someone I know (or don’t know) is dealing with (yeah, I’m going to go ahead and end on a preposition there).

Lately, I’ve had a little issue with not feeling like I’m worthy of love, attention, respect, reward, affection, membership, and so on. In my head, it sounds a little like, “Well, of course ______ wouldn’t want me to ________, because I’m not good enough at ___________.”  It’s delightful. And, it makes me more than a little whiny, which I notice, and then that feeds right back in, “Well, of course _____ wouldn’t want to be around me, I’m whiny.”  See, a nice little circle of self-disparagement.

It doesn’t matter that I know what I have accomplished in my life, or the titles that I have behind my name, or even the nice things that other people say to me. That little slightly mocking voice in the back of my head wants to tell me that I’m not enough. Simultaneously, there is another part of me that sings out that I am enough. I am plenty.

I wish I could show you, When you are lonely or in darkness, The astonishing light of your own being.
~ Hafiz

For this reason, my mantra of late has been, “I am worthy.” I don’t fill in the rest on purpose, but sometimes it comes. I am worth of my own respect and my own love.

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.
~ Buddha

I am worthy of my own attention. I am worthy of my own acceptance, and I don’t need to be loved – or liked or respected – by everyone else. I need to provide that for me, because I am worthy.

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

It’s not easy. I am admittedly someone who strives to be “good.” And when I think I’m not, I can get pretty sad about it. But, somewhere in the back of my head, I know that I can’t be good at everything, and I don’t have to. I don’t need to be someone else besides who I am.

The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself. ~Lao-Tzu

And if anyone doesn’t get that, whether it’s me or someone else, then that person should just hush up. Or should just take the judgment elsewhere. Because, I am worthy.

And so are you.

If I Were My Child

When it comes to my children (or my spouse, close friends, family members, or even my pets), I have some pretty strong ideas about how I want them to be treated, how they should treat and care for themselves, and how ultimately valuable, beautiful, and wonderful they are. I will get right up on my mother-tiger high-horse with exclamations of, “you don’t deserve to be treated like that,” “you should have better,” “you need to stand up for your rights,” and so on.

For better or worse, it seems to be more difficult to apply the same standards to myself.  When I have the sense that I’m being treated poorly, taken advantage of, etc. (even by myself), my first response is to assume that I somehow deserve it, or that it’s not really as big of a problem as I’m making it, or that I have unreasonable expectations.  What’s up with that? And then, I drive the people that I am very close to crazy by whining and complaining about how I’m being treated (or treating myself) instead of doing anything about it.

So, I’m working from a new strategy.  When I start to feel like I’m being disrespected or mistreated in a way that is not acceptable, I’m trying to sit down and really examine the situation from the perspective of a parent.  I ask myself, “If that was my child, what would I think about her being treated that way?  What would I tell her to do about it?

It’s a new project, so I’m going to have to let you know how it works.  Maybe it will be a dismal failure.  But, maybe it won’t.  Ultimately, I want those I love to be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect, even by me.  It’s not too much to want for myself.