“If you are having issues in love or money, you are having a worth issue.” –Iyanla Vanzant
It was Christmas Eve. I was standing in the extravagant kitchen in the mansion home of a friend of mine in New Orleans. We had co-hosted a 60 person friends and family Christmas party. Now the party was over. All the friends and families of laughing couples and running children had gone home. The sink was overflowing with dishes. The Christmas carols were still piping through the fancy speaker system while we enjoyed a glass of wine willing ourselves to start cleaning up before I headed home for the evening. I was holding my beautiful sleeping daughter while my friend told me how much she enjoyed the party but that this season was always really hard for her. I asked her to elaborate and heard nothing. After a period of awkward silence, I looked up to find her eyes brimming with tears. She finally choked out that she wanted a family. She wanted to be married and in love and wanted to be a mother more than anything in the world. I listened as she went on and on about how painful it was becoming to enjoy her career as a photographer capturing the moments she so desperately longed to experience on the other side of the lens. As her friend my heart went out to her as she wiped away tears. But internally, I had had JUST about enough. This sad story she was telling didn’t make any sense.
Because I had watched this brilliant, talented, successful, self-made businesswoman “date” men back to back on Tindr. For years. I had watched her poison her body with pills and alcohol and take not a single thing outside of photography seriously. For YEARS. Suggestions for a yoga class, a well-deserved vacation, spa afternoons, or healing sessions were always brushed off. And our friendship had been teetering on the brink of failure because of this behavior’s spike during my transition to being a wife and mother. See also: my transition out of any nightlife adventures that didn’t involve rocking chairs in the nursery. So here she was crying on Christmas Eve about wanting to have a family and fresh off another mindless casual encounter. So I finally went for it, “You can’t say you want to be a peace-filled, righteous wife to a good man and be acting like a lost wild child with no dignity in the streets. That doesn’t make any kind of sense. That’s hypocrisy. Plus, a peace-filled, righteous man won’t find you at a bar called the Dragon Den at 3am. I mean I guess he could try to see through the smoke machine fog to look for your soul, but are the odds in your favor? You’re saying you want a totally, completely, utterly different life than the one you’re living now; You’re on Pinterest checking for pictures of baby cribs and designing a nursery while you’re sitting at a bar miserable; what the hell are you doing about this dream in real life?”
She looked shocked. Like I had slapped her. She was incredulous. Couldn’t I see that she was dating? That she was looking for him underneath every barstool in town? That she was trying everything she could think of to make one of these (any of these??) guys marry her?
I sighed. And demanded repeatedly, “What do you want?” while her eyes got bigger and bigger.
She said she wanted a family. I asked how it would feel to have a family. Because when we are saying we want a new lover, a new job, a fancier house, more money, a healthier, fitter body, a new life altogether, we are really saying we want a feeling. We want to FEEL love, security, joy, peace, comfort. And this is what I know is the absolute truth: whatever feeling we MOST want to come from outside ourselves is the very feeling we must learn to give ourselves from within. She said it would feel peaceful, safe, secure to have a family to come home to.
“It would feel peaceful,” I repeated to her. “But you’re not peaceful so as soon as you walked in the door, it would stop being a peaceful home. You have to take responsibility for who you are right now and who is attracted to you because of that.”
She cried and finally confided her father was an alcoholic. Not just any kind of alcoholic—a raging alcoholic, who lost jobs more often than he found them and screamed at her mother until both mother and daughter became shaking, timid, silenced versions of themselves. I realized then that she was just reaping what she had been taught to sow into herself: overwhelm, numbing, emotional stunting, withholding, shame, self-harm, hiding, disconnection from others, isolation from herself.
She was completely out of alignment with what she was asking for. There she was, year after year, banging on the door of God’s mercy, praying, begging, searching for a family and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. Where was her sweet, peaceful family she demanded to know while she was drunk, writhing in self-loathing and jealousy at the local bar after a long but smashingly successful wedding day photo shoot. She could see herself now, after a decade of blindness. She didn’t believe she was worthy of a good man. So she went where she could find a man she believed she was worthy of: a grimy bar where could find an alcoholic like her father. Even though he had only stuck around until kindergarten, his impression had lasted decades. She found what she was looking for subconsciously every weekend. Unhealed and unhinged, she had been breaking hearts right and left including her own.
“Are you ready to address how your father’s neglect and substance abuse has affected you?”
She looked away. She wasn’t ready yet. We did the dishes in silence.
We have to get in alignment with what we want; which means getting in alignment with how we want to feel when the dream comes true. What does that mean? You’ve heard it a hundred times if you’re in the self help world. You have to act like it is ALREADY here. Why? Because if you tell yourself you’ll be happy when the check goes through, when you get the diploma, when you get the business to take off, you never get to be present. You never get to be here in THIS moment. The check, the diploma or the goal will come and go and you’ll be on to the next. You never arrive. You have to act like you are already in the new house. You have to act like you are already in love. You have to act like you already have everything you need. Why? Because you do. You have to act like you already have so much abundance you wouldn’t be able to stop saying thank you for the rest of your life. Because YOU DO.
If you act like you can’t go on, you can’t survive without it, you will be brought to learn the lesson that you can in fact survive without it. If you can’t breathe or think straight until blank happens, I’d be willing to bet…it ain’t gonna happen. Learning to love and honor myself AS I AM is one of the most important lessons I ever learned the hard way. It means you have respect for what God has done in the making of you, that you have reverence for the divine that you are. Abundance seeks out folks who know that fact like they know the sky is blue.
No one could convince you the sky is green right? Good. Let no circumstance, no failed relationship, no betrayal, no childhood trauma convince you are not worthy of every good thing on this earth. You are worthy. That is a bold-faced FACT as true and as simple as the sky is blue. No matter what your mother said. You are worthy. No matter what your dad did. You are worthy.
You are worthy.
You are worthy.
You are worthy of every single good thing. No matter how expensive it is, how elitist it seems, how wonderful, good, whole, noble, pure, joyful, righteous, holy or lovely it is:
You are worthy of every single one of your wildest dreams.