The Misconceptions (and Secrets) of Self-Worth

self-loveIf you don’t (yet) love yourself as a default setting, or if you don’t (yet) automatically assume that others just can’t wait to love you, you are not alone.

Most of us don’t (yet).  It is an all-out epidemic — a pandemic — that must be changed.   

And to help change it, I’d love to share with you three potent secrets to radiant yet humble self-worth.  May I?  (I thought so).

As I see it, we come into this world with our self-worth pretty intact.   

It might take a few decades, a few years, or even a few measly days, but relatively quickly after we burst onto the scene in this “man’s world,” we girls and women learn to stuff down, hide, or get into an all-out war with certain parts of ourselves, in order to “make it,” and be lovable, valuable, and taken seriously.

We learn that we feel too much — or feel too much of all the wrong things.

We learn that it is our duty to be thin, pretty, pleasing, and ON all the time.

We learn that it matters more what other people think about us than what we think about ourselves.

So we assume that if we control our emotions and our bodies, and never get too big, too loud, or too powerful, then we’ll finally feel worthy.

But actually, the whole bass-ackward mess only serves to mute our truth, hobble our self-confidence, and dim our light.

This is because the instructions we receive for life are based on some serious misconceptions about women, girls, and what I call our “feminine genius.”

Misconception #1

Dark emotions mean you are crazy.

We as a culture don’t have much place for feelings like rage.  Grief.  Exhaustion.  Depression.  (And sometimes, even big displays of joy and ecstasy).

We (mistakenly) assume that we shouldn’t be having these “dark,” intense, or inconvenient emotions.  That they are a sign of an incomplete spiritual ascension, a lack of control, or an unhealed childhood, and should be meditated, medicated, or caffeinated away.

I’m the first to admit that dark emotions are scary.  They often feel as though you’ve been dragged under a riptide and will drown before the pounding waves of feeling let up.

But really, when how to work with your emotions and feel them fully but not perish in the process — then they can reveal themselves to you as they really are: messengers bearing bits of your wisdom; breadcrumbs forming a trail pointing you to your next moves in life.

In the darkest heart of even the hardest feelings waits a shining gem of your inner clarity and authority.

Misconception #2

Never, ever lose focus on your physical appearance.

Nearly every girl and woman is taught that your body is your main currency to trade for feeling valuable and desirable.  As you exchanged diapers for big-girl panties, you likely learned that how you look (which is dictated by just about everyone but you) is your main ticket to worth.

Which of course takes a boatload of work that exhausts you and saps your soul as you spend overtime the gym and the makeup counter at Sephora.

But there comes a time when you pull the wool off your eyes and start to see the con for what it is:  your lifelong worry about physical appearance is a tactic of mass distraction.

Yes, the body of EVERY woman is freakin’ gorgeous and alluring beyond measure, but physical beauty is only the tip of the iceberg of what your body is made for.

The rest of the iceberg reveals itself when you back away from the magazine stand and shield your eyes from the shiny promise of Ten Ways to Get Flat Abs in Ten Days.

You gaze down at the massive iceberg underwater, and start to see your body not as a misbehaving mess but as a wellspring of intuitive intelligence — of the magnitude that funded Einstein.  You start to see that being in your skin can be about fully embodying your genius.

You start to understand that your pleasure mediates your confidence; meaning, the better you feel, the better you will feel about yourself.  (Which is about as far as you can get from the evangelism of under eating and over-achieving).

You start to realize that you needn’t sanitize your body or purify your desires in hopes of becoming spiritually worthy, but that, baby, you were born that way.

And that built into your bones and into your hottest longings is your very own factory-installed, direct line to the Divine.

Misconception #3

You can be polite, pleasing, or perfect, but not powerful.

It’s dripped into our veins via our baby bottles: don’t be too big, too loud, or too much.  Stay small.  Don’t overpower anyone.  Don’t take up space.  And if you do, damn it, apologize.

We learn to fear our brightness and dim down out of duty and deference, like a plug dangling from the wall.  (And I wonder why we feel powerless and disconnected).

It is as though we are in a pitch-dark room, groping for the light switch, grasping at each piece of fad advice to help us see where we are going.

But the truth is, the light switch is located in precisely the last place you’d ever think to look, right inside you.  You ARE a light source.

In this wacky world, it takes something to stay lit up.  In fact, because it seems that modern life and dominant culture is designed to dull your shine, you need to joyfully practice cultivating your light.

So then, these three misconceptions about a woman’s worth give way to three secrets of self-worth:

#1:  Your emotions (even the darkest ones) aren’t crazy; they are wise messengers bearing bits of truth.

#2.  The better you feel, the better you’ll feel about yourself.  And, you have not fallen from grace; you are embodied grace.

#3.  You don’t have to grope around in the dark for the light-switch; you ARE a source of light.  You just have to turn yourself ON.

And I am very, very clear: the woman who is lit up and turned ON will help to light, lead, and heal our world.

Let’s go there, together.

LiYana Silver About LiYana Silver

LiYana Silver is a coach and mentor, supporting success-minded women to bring the full expression of their feminine strengths to work, life, and love. Her offerings include her mentorship program, Woman: The Embodiment Experience; her online course, Ignite Your Feminine Genius; and her newest book, Feminine Genius: The Provocative Path to Waking Up and Turning On the Wisdom of Being a Woman. LiYana’s work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Forbes, Yoga Journal, and Jezebel. For more, including “Turn On Your Feminine Genius” video training: