Is a strong awareness of self worth something that’s come easy and natural for you or have you had to cultivate it?

It’s definitely not something that has been easy for me.
Growing up in a household packed with “world class artists” and “ultra high achievers” left me feeling lost and not particularly valuable — especially as a teenager and in my early twenties.
It took time — and lots of awkward self-discovery — to change my attitude.

Why do you think that is?

Here’s my backstory:
 
I was born into a family where everyone seemed to have everything “figured out.” (This wasn’t 100% accurate, but as a child, that’s how it looked and felt to me.)
 
My mom always wanted to be a professional singer.
 
My dad always wanted to work as an attorney.
 
My older brother always wanted to be a musician.
 
And so on.
 
Everyone had a “thing” or a “talent” or a “job title” that was clear and specific.
 
Everyone was doing something highly valuable, highly artistic, or highly impressive.
 
Except me.
 
Weird, introverted, shy, sensitive, existential-crisis-every-single-week… me.that — every day! Why would someone want to pay me to do that? It’s not a particularly valuable skill, I thought to myself. Not like the skills that the other people in my family have got.
 
For years — most of my early twenties, actually — I agonized over this.
 
I felt like I wasn’t interesting, like I wasn’t special, like I didn’t have any valuable gifts to offer the world.
 
I can’t pinpoint the exact “moment” that my attitude shifted, but somewhere along the journey… it did.
 
Eventually, I began to understand that being “valuable” and being “worthy” of love and respect doesn’t really have anything to do with your “job title.
 
It’s not about what you do for a living, what’s on your resume, or what’s printed on your business card.
 
It’s about how you choose to show up in the world.
 
Do you show up as someone who is consistently compassionate? Kind? Generous? Reliable? Gracious? Patient? Expressive? Are you a good listener? Do you strive to leave other people in better condition than you found them?
 
These, to me, are the kinds of spiritual and emotional qualities that make someone “valuable.”
 
Once I understood this, it quadrupled my self esteem.
 
I began saying to myself:
 
“I am valuable. I am worthy. I am important. Right now. Why? Because I have the power to make somebody else’s day — or life — better. Right now. Not necessarily by doing any ‘flashy’ or ‘newsworthy.’ Simply by choosing to speak and behave and relate… with love.”


What’s your most powerful practice for strengthening your sense of worth?

Every single day, I try to leave the people I meet in better condition than when I found them — through my words and my actions.
 
It’s playful a game that never ends.
 
“How can I inspire this person?” “I wonder if I could get my barista to crack a smile?” “How could I insert a little more love into this email?”
The options are infinite.
 
There is always a way to add more love, more gold, more value to the world.
 
When I do this? That’s when I feel an unshakable sense of self worth.
 

-Alex

 

Alexandra Franzen runs a communication agency & works as a ghostwriter, speechwriter and occasional poet. She believes that the point of being human is to leave the world in better condition than you found it. Learn more about Alexandra’s current projects at AlexandraFranzen.com.

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