Three words that we often should follow, but don’t. I didn’t know my worth or even know I was worthy for many years. How many of us feel or have felt that way? We settle for the status quo, we keep our head down to not ruffle feathers. We would rather be loved any kind of way than none at all.

What kind of life is that? What kind of worth is that? I struggled for many years over knowing who I was and what I stood for. There is no reason why, other than I let others define what I should look like, how I should feel about myself and accepted how they wanted me to be loved.

I found confidence by helping others. In turn, I found my self-worth. I write in my book, “Finding My Sparkle,” “I spent the early part of my life not truly loving myself. I was a victim of bullying, self-doubt, depression and self-hate. Often, I was put down by others that looked like me. I developed a complex about myself – to the point I didn’t want to live anymore, I wanted to be skinny, blonde hair and blue-eyed like my classmates – then I would be ‘pretty.’ I struggled with my self-confidence throughout middle school, high school and college. My body changed but I still wasn’t happy. It wasn’t until I made a conscience decision to love my body and myself no matter what. I was tired of being unhappy. I found that confidence by helping others. In turn, I found my self-worth. It didn’t happen overnight and it’s still not fully complete, but I know what I do and don’t deserve at this point in my life.”

When I learned to start saying no, my life began to flourish. I spent over a decade being in relationships that took a toll on my self-esteem. Toxic relationships that suppressed my growth not only as a woman, but in my career and business. In order to please whomever I was dating I often canceled my own self-care plans, such as working out or spending time with my friends and family. My mother told me I was “too available” and I was. I was willing to compromise my feelings and priorities for another person. When you do that it allows others to walk over you. I use the word, “allows” because ultimately you are giving them permission to.

I had to learn it was perfectly OK to say “no,” and if someone didn’t respect that no — then that was their problem and not mine. When I learned to start saying no, my life began to flourish. You may lose some friends or relationships but that is just God’s way of making room for those who truly need to be in your life.

I had to learn this and many of you reading probably are already going through this, or you will — and that’s OK. You have to be with OK with letting go, loving people from a far and continuing to grow in a positive light. Harboring negative energy only takes away time where you should be investing in your career, business or own personal health. I found my self-worth.

I know what you’re thinking: “Who is she to be preaching about self-worth?” No, I’m not an expert, or the most confident woman in the world, but I know what it is like to feel worthless. I also know how it feels feeling worthy. Honestly, I choose feeling worthy any day. Even if I am the only one who believes that I am. When you really think about it, why do we give OTHERS control or authority over our own self-worth? It is ours.

Being fully transparent, you won’t find your self-worth in a day, a week or even a year. The journey can be long and oftentimes emotionally painful but it is necessary! I didn’t get the opportunities I wanted until I became the person ready to receive them. That journey took me 27 years. While we are building our careers, taking care of our families, let’s remember our why and our worth.

You are worthy. Live every day as such.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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