From the time we were old enough to watch our first fairy tale, we as females have been inundated with ideas about what makes us truly worthy – of love, of the metaphoric white castle, and of having all our happily-ever-after dreams come true. Even if the message is hidden between the lines, we get it loud and clear: the girl who wins the kingdom is dutiful, self-sacrificing, and almost always surrounded by people (including herself) who don’t recognize or appreciate her worth. Thanks to the good fortune of being kissed by a handsome prince or having a foot dainty enough to slide into a tiny slipper, her destiny is forever altered and all she ever wanted is heaped upon her in lavish abundance. She sheds her former identify of peasant, misfit or slave girl and steps into her true potential – as a princess, a goddess, a queen. From the admiration of others, she finally gains what she’s been seeking all along: the validation that she is lovable; that she is worthy.
As we enter adolescence, of course, this message gets layered with additional external yardsticks by which we are invited to gauge our inner worth: Are we pretty enough? Sexy enough? Skinny enough? Can we force our bodies to conform to the images of perfection drilled into our heads by pop culture and Madison Avenue? If so, say the billboards, commercials and magazine ads, then we might just be worthy enough – of love, success, adoration, respect… the things our deepest dreams are made of.
What’s wrong with this picture is not just that it’s overly simplistic, but that it’s based on a premise that is inherently flawed. Beliefs about what makes us deserving and desirable as women are so pervasive that often the only way we’ve learned to assess our value is by looking at ourselves through this filter. The lie that many of us have mistaken for the truth is that inner worth is something that is bestowed on us by the outer world; that like a Disney princess, only the love and acceptance of others can convince us that we are good enough to love and accept ourselves. If we accept this premise, the path to achieving all that we desire becomes one of amassing enough evidence, accomplishments and accolades to finally prove that we are worthy. Life is seen as a competition; resources are scarce, and we are constantly reminded of all the ways in which we, by comparison, are falling short.
It is an ugly truth that an underlying belief in our own unworthiness fuels the $11 billion dollars we spend each year on beauty products like cosmetics, toiletries and perfume – as well as the $30 billion more American women spend annually on diet products and programs. Both industries operate inside the paradigm that perfecting our outer package will deliver us inner peace. That our culture has so thoroughly accepted this “outside in” approach does more than make us faithful consumers of anything that promises to make us more acceptable. It also keeps us forever racing toward the next external milestone – and the next one after that – in an attempt to finally prove that we’re worthy. No wonder so many of us are discontent, discouraged, and flat-out exhausted, right? If I had a magic wand, I would most definitely use it to give women a view of themselves through an altogether different looking glass. After all, the most fundamental power bestowed on us as human beings is the power to determine the lens through which we choose to see ourselves and our lives. And our perception not only colors our reality; it actually helps to create it.
As a certified Law of Attraction coach, I’ve spent the better part of two decades studying, applying, and teaching others about the powerful internal forces which are at work behind the scenes in the creation of everything we manifest in our external lives. Understanding these universal laws – which include not only the Law of Attraction but also principles such as Polarity, Allowing, Potentiality, Sufficiency and Abundance – is like removing the cover of a clock and discovering the internal gears that make it tick. The hands we use to tell the time are just an outer reflection of a hidden inner mechanism. In a very similar way, our experience of worthiness (and happiness and abundance and general fabulousness) are states of being that are driven from within. Trying to inject them like a cosmetic filler from the outside in is about as effective as manually turning the hands of a clock and expecting it to keep time. But when the inner vibration created by our thoughts, feelings and beliefs is one of knowing that we are inherently worthy, we effortlessly attract from the external world an endless variety of situations, people and experiences that reflect and reinforce this inner knowing.
Vibration is the basis of all magnetism, all desire and all creation. The basic formula is this: Our beliefs direct our thoughts, our thoughts cause us to experience certain feelings, our feelings give birth to new desires, and our desires inspire us to action. Like the internal gears that drive the hands of a clock, it is our inner vibration – not our outer actions – which orchestrates the process of manifestation. The way we feel about ourselves in the privacy of our innermost thoughts is not known only to us; it is broadcasted to the far corners of the universe through our vibration, and is reflected back to us in every encounter, every endeavor, and in every aspect of our lives.
So, for example, if we have developed a core belief that we are somehow inadequate, this belief will inform our thoughts, fueling an internal dialog that might go something like this: I’ll never be as interesting as so-and-so. Nobody is going to hire me. Who would ever find me attractive? These thoughts, even if they take place at a subconscious level, affect our feelings and alter our vibration; causing us to notice, latch onto, attract – and ultimately create – life experiences that are consistent with those beliefs. In a very real sense, the way we perceive the outer world at any given moment is a perfect mirror of what is happening in our inner world. Looking through this paradigm, it becomes clear that the more in touch we are with what truly makes us “worthy” – our presence, our love, and the wisdom and insights that are uniquely our own – the more the world will reflect our own light back to us, allowing us to see the many ways in which we really do shine.
What this means is that if we desire to feel beautiful, lovable, and absolutely, inherently enough just as we are, our job is to first generate those feelings within ourselves. This is the key to attracting anything we seek, actually. When we are in tune with the truth of who we are, we don’t need anyone or anything to confirm it. Our “feel good” no longer depends on anyone else telling us how wonderful we are or how good we look. We have no need to seek outside validation because we are generating our own validation from within. This vibration of self-love is both magnetic and palpable. It shines forth like a beacon, drawing to us people and experiences which confirm what we already know to be true. It cannot work in reverse. The feeling of enough-ness cannot come from the outside in. It can’t be given to us by anyone except ourselves. As Marianne Williamson so beautifully points out in A Woman’s Worth – which is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was written nearly twenty years ago – “We can’t look to the world to restore our worth; we’re here to restore our worth to the world.” We were created to be self-sourcing; all attempts to seek validation from others leave us hungry in the end.
It’s time to deconstruct the myth that worthiness must be earned. Like the keys to the kingdom in every fairy tale we watched when we were little girls, it was within us all along. It is this realization – not a pill, a night cream, elixir, or magic potion – that awakens the Goddess within. To be a Goddess is to stand in the full knowledge of our inherent worthiness and in the presence of all full power. It is not a construct that we have to make perfect and then wear like a mask. The Goddess emerges from within.