• Nadja Eriksson

Are you struggling with low self-worth? Try this

Updated: Jul 24, 2019

Wherever I go in the world, I meet smart and successful women who seem to have it all: great health, loving friends and family, a thriving career. But when I talk to them, they find reasons to put themselves down. They compare themselves to others, and conclude that they're somehow"not good enough..."

Recently, one highly successful NYC girlfriend said to me in all honesty: "Oh, but you've written a book, you have a career! I just have ten years of med school behind me and am working as a doctor, but I don't have a career." Yes. Uhhmm, right...

The subtitle in these conversations goes something like this: "I have to do more, work harder. Go to the gym more often, get a promotion, find the perfect partner... so I can finally feel accepted and worthy."

Any of this sounds familiar? I've met so many women (and men) who have internalised these limiting beliefs and listen to those self-defeating messages in their heads on a daily basis - without ever questioning their truth.

I've been one of them. (And still do this from time to time! Nobody is perfect..) For most of my life, I've felt so bad about myself that I naturally believed that others would think the same about me. I made myself dependent on their approval so I could feel okay about myself. I'd never check in with them to actually ask their opinion. I was too anxious. If I had brought up the courage to check with my surroundings, I might have heard a totally different story.

There's usually a huge gap between how we see ourselves and how others perceive us.

We can't see our own light (or darkness), because we're not looking at ourselves through the eyes of love and clarity. In essence, we cannot see ourselves clearly. The Inner Critic and Inner Perfectionist constantly compare us with other women and find flaws in ourselves and others, just to put ourselves down. So we have to try even harder.

As long as we're trying to reach that goal of finally feeling worthy and accomplished by doing stuff and trying to get approval from others, we'll always feel empty inside. The craving for more always comes back, until we practice to shift our point of view.

As I've mentioned above, I've struggled with not feeling worthy and not being "good enough." But I've had enough of this endless mind-suffering. I was looking for answers. In Zen Coaching, there is a saying: "You are what you are longing for." If you desire to feel worthy, wouldn't that imply that you also are worthiness, in essence; and that your longing for it is your pointer in the direction of embodying this feeling once again?

I did some research and discovered what the spiritual teacher A.H. Almaas has to say about value.

He writes: "(...), one does not gain value from one’s accomplishments; these accomplishments are, rather, the expression of one’s self-existing value. When one depends on any external manifestations, such as performance, achievement, excellence or anything, to feel a sense of value or love, then one has not yet personalised the essential aspect of value."

So basically what he's saying is that we don't get our sense of value and self-esteem from what we do in the world, but from our connection to essence, our being, or who we really are beyond the Mini-me or ego personality. It's the ego that makes us feel unworthy and inferior, because it's what keeps us separate from our essence or true nature. Once we learn to reconnect to our true being, we'll feel a sense of coming home, and a deep relaxation.

This happens a lot for people in my coaching sessions. Clients recognising their true being and the inherent value that springs from it. It's like a lightbulb is switched on. Once we get that shift in perspective, we laugh at the absurdity of our struggle. At how much we've put ourselves down or fought to achieve outer success to feel inner worthiness, when all we've longed for has always been right here, available to us in this very moment. All we needed to do was to relax and allow what is.

Once we connect to our inherent value as essence, we start to see new opportunities. Maybe we become more compassionate with ourselves, stop fighting so hard, quit pleasing others, become better at setting boundaries and not tolerating people's shit anymore. We may even feel an increased sense of self-love. We become kinder to ourselves and others, and more pleasant to be around.

The voice of the Inner Critic and Inner Pusher will always come back, but the difference is that you'll be able to discern and not blindly believe in it anymore, because you know what else is possible. You've experienced yourself as value and love, and you know that your value comes from your being, not your doing. You get to choose where to place your focus.

This is what happened to the NYC doctor I coached. After two hours of deep inner work, her whole world shifted. Suddenly, she felt a new hope in her heart. Her whole being lit up, and she became powerful and radiant like I'd never seen her before.

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© Nadja Eriksson 2012-2020