A big part of what had motivated me in life was a need to prove my worth to others, and myself.
This had been such an unconscious program for me. It was really hard to recognise, because the way it manifests in the world is as being very busy and productive. Which is meant to be a good thing, right? Well, that depends on what’s driving you.
For example, I used to be driven to keep the house really tidy. I used to think I was just a super tidy person. I was a stay at home mum for over 10 years, and based on our own family situation I’d made a decision that I wasn’t going to work for some time. This obviously meant I wasn’t bringing any money in, which I felt really guilty about.
This guilt was so subconscious that I wasn’t aware of it until it was pointed out to me – and then it all made sense. I was keeping the house unreasonably tidy (for the fact that it had 2 kids living in it), because that was my way of proving my worth.
That was just one of my examples. I see other people working their butts off, being super busy, driven by a fear of not being good enough, or valuable, or loveable, or worthy (all the same thing) unless they perform.
This is a story about how I healed that wound
To be completely honest, I’ve been on the path of healing this for some time, though this is where it all came to a head…
A few months ago I had minor surgery. The next day I was lying in bed, feeling totally out of it from the effects of the general anaesthetic, as well as the pain killers I’d just taken. As I was lying there, unable to really do anything else, get this — I was feeling guilty!
I knew it was ridiculous, yet I couldn’t seem to let it go. The next day I felt the same. I recognised it as an opportunity to really heal this, so I told my partner how I was feeling. He replied with “I want you to rest and recover. I’m taking care of everything”.
Essentially, he gave me permission to rest. He also gave me the message that he still loved me even though I was lying down and “doing nothing”.
For some reason, no matter what I’d been saying to myself, and as much as I logically knew it was ridiculous to have been feeling the way I’d been feeling, I wasn’t able to give myself the permission I was after. It had to come from someone who loved me. It required the closest person to me to say “I love you, even when you’re doing nothing”.
I cried. It was a big releasing, healing cry.
I’d grown up feeling that unless I was “doing something useful” that I wasn’t worthy. It felt as though the only time the parents approved of me was when I was following one of their many commands of performing household duties.
I learnt that my self worth was based on what I did.
As I lay in bed, I kept remembering the message from Anita Moorjani’s book “Dying To Be Me”: we are already worthy of love, just by the fact that we exist.
Here’s a bit from the book:
I was able to look at myself with fresh eyes, and I saw that I was a beautiful being of the Universe. I understood that just the fact that I existed made me worthy of this tender regard rather than judgment. I didn’t need to do anything specific; I deserved to be loved simply because I existed, nothing more and nothing less.
This was a rather surprising realisation for me, because I’d always thought I needed to work at being lovable. I believed that I somehow had to be deserving and worthy of being cared for, so it was incredible to realise this wasn’t the case. I’m loved unconditionally, for no other reason than simply because I exist.”
This truth brings me inner peace
The reason I was able to heal with this experience was because I was ready to believe and embrace this truth. As I lay in bed, I allowed that truth more and more into my consciousness and into my heart. I lay there and let it soak into all levels of my being.
I had to give myself time to recover physically, and now that I’ve gradually gotten back into the swing of my life, I feel the difference this shift has made. I definitely have a lot on my plate — with 2 children and running my own business — yet the urgency with which I felt things had to get done is gone. I feel a lot more peaceful.
Being able to embrace more of the truth that I’m already enough, that I deserve to be loved just for the fact that I am — it brings me peace.
When it comes to inner peace, in my experience, there isn’t just one answer. It’s lots of little shifts along the way that contribute overall to a foundation of inner peace. This knowing is, for me, one of those elements of that foundation.
How about you?
Are you able to recognise what really motivates you in life? Is it a healthy motivation? Or is it a need to prove your worth?
Here are 2 tips:
• If you do, do, do without taking care of yourself; or
• If you feel unreasonably guilty when taking a well deserved rest, or time off work, it could be a need to prove.