I remember hearing these words in various ways through teachers and mentors…“Who are you? What are you worth? — You are loved. You are valued. You are far more powerful than you have ever imagined.” Really? Because I wasn’t really feeling all that special, and I certainly wasn’t feeling powerful. I was skeptical, but very curious about finding out more about what they apparently understood that I didn’t.
I love stories that teach a message. This one is an ancient parable about a lion who believed he was a sheep:
There was a baby lion that was lost, so some sheep took him in to raise. The little lion learned all the daily things that sheep would do. He simply walked around and grazed on the grass like all the others, and even made sounds like the sheep made. After all, it’s all he knew to do. One day a large lion spotted the herd. He ran toward them, and as all the sheep scattered, he saw the younger lion among them. He chased the lion out of curiosity. When he caught up with him, the young lion fell to the ground begging him not to eat him. The large lion was confused. He said, “Don’t you know who you are?” He took him to a clear pond where he saw his reflection for the first time. Once he saw his reflection, he let out his very first “Roar!” In that moment he discovered who he truly was.
I love this story because it’s a story about you and me. We listen to the people around us who tell us who we are or aren’t, what we should or shouldn’t do, or what we can or can’t do. The problem is, some of the people we listen to, are misguided themselves.
Self-worth is defined as: the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person. It’s more about who we are, not what we do. For example, the lion in this story discovered his worth, who he truly was. He wasn’t measuring himself against what he had been doing. Self-esteem is based on how we value or feel about ourselves, usually based on something we’ve done, what others think, or comparing ourselves to others. Society tends to focus on teaching us to increase our self-esteem. We really want to focus on understanding our self-worth, because that’s constant, that’s where our power is. We cannot always sustain doing certain things a certain way; and there is always going to be someone better looking, richer, smarter, etc. out there. We definitely don’t want to get trapped in the comparison game. We do want to, however, discover our worth – who we really are.
Is there someone in your past that told you something about you when you were younger, that instinctively you know isn’t true; but maybe you believed it because you were told this by someone in your impressionable years? Or maybe you were told something about you by someone you trusted, loved or admired, so you think…it must be true. It’s important to trace back some of the lies you believe about yourself, so that you can re-pattern those false beliefs to the truth of who you really are. Better yet, write down some things you say about yourself, that aren’t serving you, and think about where that false belief came from. Was it a parent? A sibling? A teacher? A bishop or pastor? Who planted that thought seed in your mind? It’s not about blaming anyone. It’s about understanding where it came from, so that you can really see the truth behind it. The person who gave you the wrong impression of yourself, is or was imperfect, and may have been struggling with some insecurity themselves. They certainly were misguided. Once you write down the false belief, replace it with what you instinctively know is the real truth about you. It’s important to replace it with a positive truth, (or an affirmation), otherwise it will create a vacuum and the same false thought will fill that vacuum or another one will. I promise, we will get back to this, but first let me tell you a true story to help illustrate where our self image comes from…
At one time or another, a very young elephant would be tied with some type of rope or river reed, to a pin in the ground. The young elephant would struggle to pull away from the pin, but would fail. As the elephant grew, it had the power to break the rope, but it was programmed to believe it couldn’t, so it never tried.
What is some of the false programming in you that you’ve believed and accepted as truth? Once you shed some light on this false pretense of who you are, you can begin to re-pattern it with the truth. You may have to repeat the process each time the false thought tries to reappear. When the negative thought about yourself comes up, that’s a good thing. That’s the only time you can notice it and replace it with the truth of who you really are. Eventually the old pattern will die, and the new pattern or self image will remain. Continue learning more about who you really are to realize that you are not a sheep. You are a lion. Or in this case, you are not your DNA, you are not your past or what you’ve done or haven’t done. You are Spiritual Being having a human experience. You are a Child of God. You were born unique, with unique gifts, that you can share with the world while you are here.
As promised, let’s get back to writing down that false belief and replacing it with the truth. I am going to share some truths about you, that you can use. Even if you don’t believe these truths, (because we tend to get caught up in the “comparison game”), you can believe in my belief that it’s true until you learn more about who you truly are…Here are some affirmations you can use to replace those false beliefs:
I am beautiful inside and out
I am worthy of compassion and love
I love being me
I am at peace with all that has happened in my life
My life is filled with joy and abundance
Happiness flows through me
I am confident
I am grounded, peaceful, and centered
I am enough
I am loved
I feel empathy and love for others
“I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious, and happy” ~ (Charles Haanel)
I am____________. You get the idea. Have FUN with this!
“We can never out perform our self image, but we can change it!” ~(original author unknown)
“The most delightful surprise in life is to suddenly recognize your own worth.”