Learning to Value Me

Newsflash: it is my job to value me.

I have a strong desire to feel valued, in fact, it’s one of my Core Desired Feelings that I’ve identified by participating in Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map program. If you haven’t heard of this before, I highly encourage you to check it out. I’ve been revising my list annually for the past 4 years. The premise is that when we know how we want to feel, we can use that information to guide us in making better choices. For example, if “brave” is a Core Desired Feeling and you face a choice that puts you in a situation where you have to step up and be brave, or you can run away and avoid it, you might dig deep and find more courage to step up – to be brave.

The words on my Core Desired Feelings list have changed slightly through the years, but one that has stuck around in every iteration is VALUED. For me, the words change out as I feel like I’ve implemented them, or as I move through dynamic stages in my life. So, for one word to continue lurking, just hovering, waiting for me to finally figure out how to consistently FEEL it… there’s a clue that I haven’t put enough focus on it. I want it, but for some reason, I inadvertently push it away from me… like chasing after a beach ball in a swimming pool.

learning to value me journal frontLearning to value me journalIn the last year, I decided to focus on VALUE as my sole Core Desired Feeling. I purchased a pretty journal from Barnes & Noble, customized it by applying rub-ons to say ‘I am Valued”. My intention was to write down three proofs that I had provided value in the world each and every night before I went to bed.

But I let the journal sit on the shelf for the first six months.

It took me until November of 2016 to finally open the damn thing and start writing in it. Here is my first entry, the guideline for my intentions with the journal:

“One of my most significant Core Desired Feelings is VALUED.

I desire to make choices from the position of which path will lead me to feeling valued. When I recognize I feel de-valued, or even dismissed, invalidated, ignored, discounted, then I can and I will adjust my choices.

I recognize it is my responsibility to find and step into this feeling. It is me, Janet Louise, who draws the experience to myself. As a practitioner, it is up to me to convey my value to others – as a person, it is up to me to fill my own cup and let it overflow.

I will consistently observe how I add value to the world because I exist. I will document and invite this feeling, this knowing, to permeate my life:

I am Valued.

For the next week or so, I was somewhat diligent about writing down three things that had happened to me proving that I had shown up and provided value.

But, then, something happened that I wasn’t expecting.

I had a day where I didn’t talk to a single soul.

These days are not uncommon for me. I regularly need to disconnect from everyone and everything to replenish my own energy. And I am not joking when I tell you that I don’t communicate with a single person on those days.

So, when I sat down with my journal in the evening to identify three ways I had shown up and provided value to the world, I was dumbfounded. I wrote:

“Thinking about how I provide “value” in the world on days when I do ZERO interacting with the outside world. I’m catching glimpses of the importance of showing up for myself, too. I can look to myself for how I showed up for me, how I valued my own input, desires, existence, etc. It shifts from I feel valued… because (of whatever external reason)… to I VALUE ME.”

Then it took me another week of processing and absorbing this epiphany to finally start writing a list of ways that I recognize, honor, cherish and value me.

The last entry in my journal says,

“Remember this – you should never have to convince anyone of your value. If they don’t see it, can’t appreciate it, it is their loss. Not yours. Do not internalize others’ lack of recognition. You’re amazing and I love you! I value you! I value me!”

And I haven’t written another entry in that journal since December.

So, how am I learning to value me?

I still struggle.

I forget important things.

Like how strong, wise, creative, fun, witty, silly, loyal, fierce, and light-hearted I am.

I can get lost in all the ways I perceive that I’m failing, and be sad that I’m not meeting other people’s expectations. I can beat myself up for my strange perspective of the world, for my lack of motivation to conform, for my inability to be “normal”.

And sometimes I do.

But, sometimes I don’t.

I’ve re-established a self-care regimen, with a new approach that incorporates loving and valuing myself. Nourishing my body with healthy food, supplements, and plenty of water feels entirely different when I’m giving it to me because I love me vs. a feeling of restriction and limitation brought on by trying to look a certain way to appeal to other people’s standard of beauty.

I’m forcing myself to go to sleep at night, to be more structured with my sleep patterns. This is a gift to me because I absolutely LOVE my active dream life, and a regulated sleep schedule improves the quality, quantity, and frequency of my dreams.

I’m meditating more often. This connection to Divinity reinforces within me that I am valuable simply because I exist.

learning to value me Nietzshe quoteI’m starting to recognize that I encounter opportunities every single day to step away from people and situations that do not help me feel valued. I’m getting better at distancing myself from this onslaught on my psyche and my energy. Without malice, I simply remove myself from the path of people who just can’t SEE me. We tend to look out through our own filters, making judgments and assumptions based on our own experiences, and I’m improving my ability to allow you to have your opinion of me, without taking it personal.

Those who know me well, know my integrity, my heart and soul, my beautiful struggles… and they still love me unconditionally. This is priceless. And I’m grateful to have it in my life.

Additionally, I’m starting to STOP certain behaviors, as well:

  • stop dimming my light
  • stop playing small
  • stop shrinking
  • stop dumbing myself down
  • stop censoring myself
  • stop catering to others
  • stop allowing devaluation

I just turned 42 years old and it’s about time I finally absorb that I must value me. I don’t need anyone else to value, recognize, see, understand, or appreciate me. My value is not in what YOU see, it lies in my ability to honor myself.




p.s. Going through the exercises in the Desire Map has helped me find clarity and direction in a manner that simply setting goals does not. This link is an affiliate link and if you decide to make a purchase, I will get a small % kickback. That’s just an added perk for me because I would be recommending this program to you whether or not she had a referral system in place. I love it that much!

He Speaks To Teens Through Punk Rock Music

Date: July 21, 2015

Location: The Crux, on the floor, in between sets

I did NOT expect to be overwhelmed by emotion at a no-name concert at a random coffee house in Boise that I had never heard of. I honestly didn’t pay much attention at all to the artist or the details of this trip, I just let Julia make the plans and begrudgingly fulfilled the commitment I made to bring her to the show.

Imagine my surprise when the first performer blows my mind.

This dorky looki20150721_190610ng dude (who reminds me of Jonah Hill) performs original tunes acoustically. He travels under the band name, “The Homeless Gospel Choir” so I genuinely was surprised to see a solo artist. His first song was described as a protest song, and I found myself moved to tears by his lyrics and the heartfelt delivery. Each subsequent song was also a protest song and I soon realized that this man, Derek Zanetti, has a message… his delivery method is a guitar and punk rock.

I looked around the room at this eclectic coffee shop full of mostly teenagers with wild colored hair wearing either Vans or Converse, who have found a place where they feel they belong – where they are accepted exactly as they are – listening to a message of complete and unconditional equality.

He channels a powerful message speaking out against any kind of -ism that discriminates and segregates. His method is REACHING these kids… teaching them to reject the authority that preaches that they must do and be certain things in order to be worthy of love, affection, and validation.

This lovable dork, on the stage, is inspiring an entire segment of this generation to live authentically – to expand their hearts and awareness to include everyone – I couldn’t help it… I cried five separate times during his 45 minute set.

The tears were recognition of the power in his message, as well as the angst and emotional pain that served as the catalyst for him to write the songs, providing his drive to share this message. I cried out of admiration and respect for his total dedication to reaching those who are hurting. I cried because there’s more I can and should be doing and it’s time I got my head back in the game.

20150721_212806I cried because of Julia, my kick ass daughter, listening to this message, crying along with me, while I pondered what great and wonderful things she will be inspired to accomplish in her lifetime because she gets this kind of validation at her young age. She’s got support – and I’m in awe at what will unfold in her lifetime because she resonates so deeply with this message of equality.

I cried for all those in the audience who needed to hear the lyrics sung and the words that were spoken – delicate subjects addressed through acoustic music – holy shit, it’s brilliant.

Not to mention, the energy in the room has been palpable all evening. I could FEEL the emotion from Derek… as well as the recognition from the audience… punk rock kids (who appear to those who like to sit in self-righteous judgment as rebels or problem kids) responding to a solo performer with cheers, heartfelt appreciation, and hope… this is not a random concert on a Tuesday evening, it’s a life-changing event.

These kids, this audience, they’ve been validated at their core, by someone who is perceived to have some street cred due to his music career and being on tour with Frank Iero. They’ve received a message of encouragement, support, belonging, FAMILY. Topics covered included losing loved ones, feeling like outcasts, being different, having a different perspective, suicidal tendencies, etc. Each topic approached with the same candor and genuine care – YOU MATTER. You are valuable. You are loved. You are included.

And here come the tears again.

Check out The Homeless Gospel Choir. Show some support on Derek’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

 

I Vow To Stop People Pleasing!

I have a confession. I’m full of shit.

Which really bothers me. In fact, it bothers me so much that I haven’t published a single blog post in nine months.

And it’s not that I don’t have anything to say. I do. I just haven’t wanted to pretend. Pretending is boring. Suffocating.

You see, over at Butterfly Maiden, I get to share with you my spiritual, self-awareness-driven Self. I speak about topics that are close to my heart, compelled by an innate urge to be of assistance to those who are traveling the path of personal transformation. I know from experience that it can be a lonely journey, and I believe it’s comforting to have encouragement, support, guidance and help along the way.

Previously, I’ve bought into the belief that I must present myself a certain way in order to appeal to the masses. To that end, I have taken my online persona very seriously, believing that I must present myself as a wise, wholesome, beacon of light at all times.

And though this is a version of me that exists, I’m not radiating Goddess awesome all the time. It’s true. Sometimes, I’m just a girl in a t-shirt who eats meat, watches sports, listens to rock n roll, and enjoys irreverence and profanity.

stop people pleasing

So, what’s the problem?

I have admittedly pre-judged your ability to see and accept an integrated version of me. I’ve worried that my ridiculosity will cause you to second-guess my ability to help you so I only let you see the carefully composed been-meditating-for-hours-and-everything-truly-is-butterflies-and-rainbows version.

But, here’s the thing. My well behaved online persona is a mask with specific definitions of what I can or can’t say. And, as boring as it feels to me at times, it serves a purpose:

To help the highest number of people like me.

Yep, it’s a people pleasing mechanism.

And I know it.

And I loathe it.

You don’t know how often I want to share something that absolutely delights me — whether it’s off-the-cuff humor or awe-striking inspiration — but I don’t… because it may contain profanity or mildly controversial topics.

I protect my “image” by not sharing what I sincerely find appealing and/or enlightening. I protect my reputation by censoring my writing — daring to barely push buttons with choice of words and topics.

All the while thinking, “I wish I could say _____________” or more accurately, “I’m so pissed I can’t really say ____________”.

Angel vs. Devil?

These two dramatically different versions of moi are both important to me.

In person, I’m much more likely to show you an integrated version. We’ll talk about serious things like the importance of being self-centered in between giggle fits brought on by innuendo. (I can seriously turn the most benign comment into a dirty joke!) But, online, while preaching authenticity, I expend much effort in protecting my rowdy, ridiculous and rambunctious self.

I do this because I’m afraid. (Remember emotions don’t have to make sense, so just follow me here.) I’m afraid of:

– judgment.
– alienation.
– getting unfriended on Facebook.

(I’m being honest here, so wipe that smirk off your face.)

Here’s a recent example:

I read an article that had a profound effect on me: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. Not only was it incredibly inspirational, but it also was full of profanity and in-your-face “I don’t care if you like this or not”. I felt jealous of the author, Mark Manson, who freely expresses himself. I laughed so hard that tears were streaming down my face and as per usual, I felt compelled to share with everyone else because they deserve to have this fabulous experience, too!

But, the thought of sharing with the world left me paralyzed… frozen in fear at the thought of other people’s opinion of me.

You bet I shared the fantastic article with my close friends — those who I’m confident know me and accept me just the way I am. Somehow these people see past the dichotomy of my two selves and love the integrated parts of me that are just as capable of dropping an “F” bomb in the midst of a meditation as offering healing to a complete stranger suffering from PTSD whom I’ve just met at a dive bar.

I couldn’t share it on my social media channels for fear of the judgment of people who:

  • more than likely won’t read my stuff in the first place
  • already don’t know me or understand me, and don’t even care to
  • would express their disapproval by withdrawing their love, affection, friendship

The thought of sharing caused me to panic.

Because “people” would see it and view it as a reflection of me.
Um.
Yikes.

What’s wrong with this picture? It IS a reflection of me.

Hypocrisy ring a bell?

How can I preach taking off the masks, how awesome authenticity, transparency, and vulnerability are when I’m hiding behind an intended-to-please-the-greatest-number-of-people persona?

It’s downright hypocritical.

I claim to be a former People Pleaser.
That’s not true. I’m a RECOVERING People Pleaser who still relapses into old patterns.

Still.

Two weeks ago, I was yammering on about something and I said, “if you want to be seen completely, you have to show up completely.” I heard those words come out of my mouth and just started shaking my head slowly.

One of my greatest desires is to be seen in my totality. I want people to see the real me. And I long to give that in return.

It’s time for me to start showing up as who I really am — even when I’m just a shit-talking girl in a t-shirt.

I know that as I reveal more of what lurks behind my online persona mask, it could cost me… the approval of those who already judge me for thinking and behaving differently than they expect. Interestingly enough, it’s these same people who made it so difficult for me to leave the faith of my family, to leave a marriage, to break free from the roles they had assigned me and expected me to play…

AND I’M CATERING TO THEM BECAUSE WHY?

Oh yeah, because my default mode is still people pleasing. I want to be liked.

And learning how to implement the art of non-fuck-giving may be a life long journey.

I’m finally finished debating the ramifications of the decision to be MORE real online. What I’ve discovered is that overwhelmingly, the people who love my integrated self already will love me even more for not holding back. And the people who don’t love integrated me, well, they will have a justifiable reason (at least in their minds) for disconnecting.

If that offends you, go ahead. Unfriend me. Unsubscribe from my blog, from my mailing list. Unfollow me.

Help me make room for those who will celebrate my personal authenticity… who will laugh with me, while pondering the great mysteries of the universe… who will dedicate time to meditating, and later that evening might accidentally drink too much wine and make fools of themselves playing air guitar while lip syncing their favorite Journey song.

I don’t want to alienate. I also don’t want to offend. But, more than that, I don’t want to continually censor myself to appeal to the greatest number of people anymore.

I want to be seen completely, therefore, I must show up completely.


I’m far from perfect, people. I’m still befriending the meanie in the back of my head who talks shit to me all the time. But, quirks and ridiculosity aside, I am pretty damn good at what I do — which is creating a safe place for YOU to explore who you are, who you want to be… and then helping you get there.

If you are paralyzed by other people’s expectations and opinions, know that I understand what you’re going through. I am still living here… steadily fighting my way through it, taking back one fuck at a time.

It’s possible. It feels good.

Except for the scary parts.

They suck.


Originally published at www.butterfly-maiden.com on January 12, 2015. And then published again at Medium.com on September 20, 2016. And then I decided to use it here on my own blog today. Because it’s relevant here for what I’m about to unleash.