In March of 2021 I started two podcasts, The Foul-Mouthed Woman and The Death Witch. I ran into technical difficulties however, and have thus decided to take my musings back to the blog and YouTube.
This is the first episode of The Foul Mouthed Woman to be done in blog.
I spent half of my life feeling unworthy. Unworthy of love, of money, basically of all the goodness life has to offer.
As a holistic health practitioner I know now what dis-ease this can cause and how this feeling caused some of my health problems.
And as a holistic health practitioner now I would say feeling unworthy is a pandemic equal to CoVid. It causes problems in relationships, in employment, and is directly related to death by suicide. Yet no one is talking about it.
This is a big topic. I’ve covered Being Too Much and Being Not Enough, but how is Not Being Worthy different? That’s hard to explain, really, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
Not being worthy, to put it simply, it’s is about self-value, while being too much or not enough is about how we feel others value us.
Feeling not worthy reveals itself in insidious ways. Foremost on my mind today is
something I refer to as …
The Suffering Games
What are the suffering games?
Professionals call it Comparative Suffering. It is the process or either exalting or diminishing one’s trauma comparative to another’s. It is when survivors seek recognition for their suffering by either justifying why their hurt is greater than another’s or conversely, by downplaying their own traumatic woundedness.
As if compassion is finite and one’s right to it, to sympathy or to empathy is determined by a Suffering Score. The internal dialogue might go like, “Well, I think my experience is 6 and Harold’s is a 12 so he wins all the compassion chips this round.”I tend to think this line of thinking is introduced in the early developmental years by parents. The following phrases introduce the pattern that one’s needs, conditions or experience are relative to another’s rather than being self-determining.
Phrases others may have said to you, to plant this seed,
“Quit crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.”
“Clean your plate, there are starving children in Africa”
Enter ‘not being worthy’.
The stand that you are not worthy of compassion, understanding, nurturing, grief etc. unless your suffering measures up to invisible standards of reference.
That’s not how it works. Trauma isn’t a contest.
There will ALWAYS be someone who’s experience seems less traumatic to you and there will ALWAYS be someone who’s experience seems more traumatic to you. The irony is that many times the one you see whom you’ve judged to have a more traumatic experience is looking at you thinking the same thing.
The Suffering Games is actually a symptom of trauma.
It was a survival skill you developed to keep your head above water and make it out alive. Do you ever remember saying to yourself “it could be worse”, or “at least it’s not as bad as so-and-so’s thing”, or “at least I’m not…” or any variation of the aforementioned?
It was good when it helped you not give up, not give in and not give out. But you are no longer there and it is time to recognize the strength it took for you to make it out alive, regardless of anyone else’s journey!
When People Are In The Midst of Suffering They Cannot Feel Privilege
You might call these people ‘Negative Neds/Nellies’. No matter what positive thing you try to present they just focus on what is not optimal or what is outright wrong in their lives. They cannot let go of the victim identity forged by their trauma and seek to confirm that narrative with every event in their lives.
I call them “yeah, but…” people. No matter what positive thing you try to point out they have a ‘yeah, but…” retort.
I think this is why some white people react very strongly to the term ‘white privilege’. We tend to think of privileges as being positive in nature, ‘it has been an honor and a privilege…’ We also tend to think of privilege in terms of something we’ve earned. Children earn privileges by behaving well and achieving target goals. Adults earn driving privileges. Adults can even buy certain privileges like memberships. Wealth grants a lot of privileges not available to mainstream America, also.
While most privilege can be lost, white privilege cannot. So, you might begin to understand how this is difficult to process for some. I actually think that ‘white fragility’ might be a symptom of trauma more than it is a symptom of racism.
People are used to FEELING privilege. We have the sense that privileges are earned or bestowed and are not guaranteed. Privileges can be lost.
White people can’t FEEL white privilege because it is something they were born with, not something they earned, and not something that can be lost, like all other privileges.
For those in the midst of The Suffering Games, their trauma prevents them from feeling privilege at all. So it makes sense to me that the term ‘white privilege’ could be triggering for those who have an unresolved traumatic history and identify strongly with their suffering score, because what they hear is ‘you are privileged, therefore you haven’t suffered’.
We could probably do a whole exploration of that topic, but I’ll leave it there as food for thought.
Feeling Not Worthy Reduces The Appearance of Available Choices
The state of mind of unworthiness creates a blindness to options. It creates a conditioned passiveness.
We see it most often in women who will ‘settle’ for a man, even when the relationship does not meet her needs, because the man chose her. Her underlying believe is that she does not get to choose anyone, she can only choose who chooses her.
This is a tricky one, because of course good relationships only exist when both partners choose one another, however, the difference is that one who is unworthy is settling rather than actually choosing. Her unworthiness has her believe this is the best she will get because this person chose her. The internal dialogue goes something like, “He likes me. I don’t dislike him. I guess I like him.”
Her underlying feelings of unworthiness have her believing she can only choose from that which comes to her rather than believing she has the right to choose pro-actively. Under those conditions, one would be hard pressed to say no, not knowing when someone else might come along.
We were married about seven years when my husband and I separated. I was devastated and completely heartbroken. I was very much in love with him, even though he wasn’t really a very good husband/partner/father at all. At the time I couldn’t see that. I was so steeped in my unworthiness that I was frantic to get him to want to continue the marriage.
In talking with our therapist about this limbo we were in and why wouldn’t he make a decision to divorce or to try again, she looked at me and said that I have a choice too. I couldn’t see it. What choice did I have? He held all the cards.
But did he?
Of course there was the choice to not choose someone who wasn’t choosing me, but I couldn’t see that. When you feel unworthy, you can’t see that. I was continuing to choose him even though he wasn’t choosing me, and putting my whole life on pause while he played the game with me. When I finally made the choice to go ahead and start living my own life, guess who suddenly was making the choice to try the marriage again?
It should go without saying, but this makes those who feel not worthy prime targets for predators.
And this isn’t just a problem in romantic relationships, but also family’s of origin, in friendships, and in employment.
Workers in this state of feeling unworthy will not ask for raises, Don’t use their vacation time, take more responsibility without asking for an increase in pay, stay late, and sacrifice home life for work life. These workers are also subject to more sexual harassment and bullying. Wouldn’t it be interesting to note if feeling unworthy even plays a role in on the job injuries?
Feeling Unworthy Makes Your World Small
You don’t feel empowered. You don’t feel confident. You don’t believe in yourself. And you don’t feel like you have choices. So, yes your world is very very small.
You are literally waiting for things to land on your doorstep and you accept whatever lands there because you have built a world of lack. Nothing lands on your door step without you ordering it in some form or fashion.
So paying attention to what you are ordering by the activities you engage with, the relationships you have, the treatment you accept will start to change what comes to your door.
More importantly though, start identifying your feelings of unworthiness and work to build up your self-value. No one can do that but you. No one can help you with it either. It’s all on you. And I know you can do it, because I did it.
It’s literally a simple choice to value yourself. To turn off the programming that says “It doesn’t count unless someone else says it.” But if you need that…here I am saying it.
You are of value! There is a gift that ONLY you have to give. NOTHING takes away from that gift. Not mistakes you’ve made. Not circumstances you’ve created or found yourself in. Not what you’ve done, nor what’s happened to you.
YOU are the only you and when you stop trying to make yourself into something else. Something you feel would be ‘more acceptable’ than the real you, then you will start to see how truly fabulous you are!
Somehow we get the idea that there is an ideal way to be in this world. This is subliminal brainwashing by marketing firms across the world who sole premise is to convince you that you are not enough as you are, and that you need what they are selling to be whole.
Narcissists in your life will continue that message to convince you that you need them too. The truth is that they need YOU. YOU have all the power!
Embrace The You You Hide
What parts of you do you hide? What parts make you embarrassed? Make you feel unsure? What parts make you feel weirdly? Or that make you stand out?
These are all parts of your uniqueness and those are the things that need to be revealed!! Embrace them! Don’t dress to hide that belly fat under a big tent! Find styles that accentuate your figure! Don’t walk with your head down! Make eye contact with strangers! Say hello to others first! Initiate conversations in shopping lines.
Look at others who are ‘different’ than typical standards of beauty and see how beautiful they are when they are not hiding in shadows. I’ve seen models with skin pigmentation afflictions! I’ve seen women embracing their saggy boobs!
It’s time to take back the rigid standards of beauty and display what REAL beauty looks like…confidence!
I promise you, your world will open up 1000 percent once you start this practice!
There is nothing unworthy about you. NOTHING.
And I think that is a great place to end…
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