“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
Let’s think deeply about those words.
You were born to stand out. You were born as you and not anyone else.
So why do we as women waste so much effort keeping up with and comparing ourselves to others?
The answer is – we are not loving ourselves. Possibly because, in the rush of life, we have forgotten who we are. And we are not alone. A recent poll shows that 79 percent of women admit to struggling with self esteem and self worth issues.
There is Always Help for Self Worth
Karli Kershaw is a Master Relationship and Inner Work Coach in Austin, TX. After spending years figuring out her own self worth and life's purpose, she is on a mission to help other women achieve the same.
For Karli, it all comes back to self love – discovering who you are, embracing your passions, and doing the deep, difficult work to get to the root of your true essence.
It Starts in Childhood
To really love and know who you are, you have to go back to your childhood. As children, we learned what we liked, what we didn’t like, and our passions.
“That’s when we developed our sense of self,” Karli says. “Up to 97% of everything we do comes from our subconscious mind from when we were little kids. And until we attend to that little one within us, we can’t grow as adults. We are little children in adult bodies.”
It’s like a little girl who is fascinated by art and loves to draw or sing or create. But let’s say that girl is very tall, and the parents push her to forgo the arts and play basketball. As she grows into a woman, perhaps that deep love for art is still there, but was always repressed by external forces telling her it was wrong, or that she wasn’t made for it.
In the end, we take on identities that are not true to who we are.
“That little girl was told she was not good enough,” Karli explains. “As kids we just want to be loved and seen and heard and safe, and many of us didn’t get that. Embracing who you are becomes a constant fight and as adults it gets harder and harder.”
Codependency is a Crutch
Codependency is needing people to need you. You set your self value based on how you can serve others. You need people to need you and find yourself over giving and basing your happiness on others instead of yourself.
Karli says this is a trap that happens to so many women.
“We tend to over give, and most women don’t know how to receive,” Karli says. “They tell themselves they are not worthy of receiving, only giving.”
“If giving is attached to your worth, then it is inauthentic,” she continues. “You want something in return, and that leads to resentment.”
Going back to childhood again, Karli says it’s like striving to get straight A’s in school to receive acceptance and praise from your parents, instead of doing it for your own good.
“That mindset can become resentful, because you are living for others and not yourself,” Karli says. “You thought if you were good then it made you valuable, but that causes a misalignment. You don’t have to give in order to get love. We don’t have to give in order to feel valued, but that's learned behavior.”
It takes deep, difficult work to overcome this, but it can be done. Karli has done it herself.
“As humans, we are perfectly imperfect,” she says. “If we can all understand that and stop looking to others for validation and have a more authentic connection to ourselves, we feel more grounded in our lives.”
Be Honest With Yourself
The saying “you are your own worst critic” is so true when it comes to valuing your self worth. As women, we tend to be harshly critical of ourselves, setting sometimes impossibly high standards, then beating ourselves up when we don’t meet them.
It’s because we are not loving ourselves for who we really are.
“You have to be honest with yourself,” Karli says. “We put on these masks and personas in order to be liked and loved, but that is not loving yourself.”
To put it bluntly, Karli says “we need to face our bullsh*t.”
“We are living in a constant state of illusion and not trusting ourselves,” she says. “Remember, no matter where you go, there you are. No matter your external, there is always your internal. And if your outside doesn’t match your inside, you are never going to find peace with yourself.”
A lot of this has to do with external influences, especially social media, which is in our faces constantly. We see these perceived lives of grandeur with perfectly kept homes, flawless faces, happy smiles, and lavish vacations and convince ourselves that if we are not living that life, we are failing.
That is where we are messing up.
Don’t Let Others Set Your Standards
Most people feel unworthy not because of the standards they set for themselves, but the standards they believe society is setting for them. To be a perfect mother. A perfect wife. To be rich and successful with no debt or real-life pressures.
Chasing perfection will never end, because perfection does not exist. One of the biggest detriments to our self worth and standards is social media.
“We can feel unworthy when we scroll social media,” Karli says. “And you have to remember, most of what you see are curated personas. This is not how real people are living their real lives, yet we convince ourselves that our lives should be based on someone else’s.”
Instead, focus on your values, your family’s needs, your dreams and goals.
“As long as you put yourself against someone else’s standards, you are in a losing battle,” Karli says. “You have to know who you are on the inside and your own values.”
The Work Starts Today
It’s never too late to reconnect with your inner essence and establish your self worth and value.
Karli offers insightful tips on her Instagram account and sets self challenges for you to follow. You can also work one-on-one with Karli to start the deep, inner work of discovering, accepting, and loving yourself.
Overcoming codependency and lack of self worth take some work, but remember it is possible. And no matter how hard you are on yourself, there are probably countless women who would love to have your life or to be in your shoes. Never think you are unworthy!
Hannah Kohut is Content Editor for Be Vivid You