Why you’re worth the praise and attention
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We all have a sense of unworthiness sometimes. Especially women.
It's that horrible feeling you get in your stomach after you get an unexpected compliment, a loving hug from someone, an invitation to speak at a big event, an enquiry from a dream client, when making eye contact with a gorgeous guy or when you get singled out for praise at work.
It's that little voice that says: "You don't deserve this", or "This is a fluke".
How do you know you're feeling unworthy?
- Getting recognised for your work feels slightly unbearable at times, like you want to jump out of your skin with embarrassment
- You worry that other people will think you're a show off if you brag too much, so you're the best kept secret in your industry (sucks though to be really good at something, but not make enough money from it) because you can't toot your own horn
- You put other people on a pedestal as more "successful", so you trust other people's wisdom rather than your own instinct and intuition (which you're not even sure you have) or follow the crowd so you don't stand out
If you're a female entrepreneur and you feel unworthy regularly enough, you'll sabotage your business on a daily basis and it will show up in ways like;
- You won't ask for testimonials because you're almost embarrassed to acknowledge the change you make in people's lives
- Getting thank you emails feels more of an intrusion than welcome praise. In fact you delete them or never answer back
- You'll attract less than stellar clients, especially ones who mirror your unworthiness back at you (they'll cancel, be late, lose enthusiasm, etc)
- Getting public recognition makes you want to be swallowed up so you can get away
- You ignore requests for more information on your products even though it would be an easy sale.
- If you're an emerging superstar in your industry and you feel unworthy of praise, unconsciously, you'll do everything in your power not to be the centre of attention – pretty self-sabotaging, right?
That could show up in...
- Procrastinating the hustling required to make sales
- Avoiding launching that awesome product that your beta group raves about
- Shrinking back from pitching for awesome speaking gigs
- "Knowing your place" in courses or mastermind groups so you don't outshine the rest of the participants
- Extreme self-criticism, basically you rate everything you do as ranging from "shit" to "mediocre"
- Having an "economy class" team in place (web person, admin team, etc) that you can't rely on 100%, so you have to do everything yourself
If you feel unworthy of praise you'll:
- Never celebrate a job well done. In fact, you're already onto the next project
- Not respond to client rave emails (and you'd NEVER be "arrogant" enough to share these in your newsletter, or better yet, on social media!)
- Say "no" to opportunities because you're "not ready" (even though that's bullshit)
- By the way, how do I know all of this....? I just mined it all from my own life – every single one of those examples is mine!
I don't think you can ever eliminate unworthiness completely. In fact, you don't need to. You just need to learn to dance with it, angry tango style.
See your feelings of shame and unworthiness as an excellent indicator that you need to indulge in some radical self-love and appreciation. It's like a boiler warning system that all hell will break loose if you let it overheat.
Here are my top tips to dance with your unworthiness:
- Do EFT (emotional freedom technique) in the moment to clear the feelings of unworthiness using the script, "Even though I don't deserve this success, I deeply and completely love and accept myself"
- Give yourself permission to shine
- Use daily affirmations like: "It's safe for me to be the centre of attention" and, "It's safe for me to stand out."
- Be incredibly protective of your energy – that means only hanging out with people who reflect back loving kindness and self-acceptance because like bed-bugs, self-hatred and criticism is contagious and requires rigorous extermination.
Be okay with extreme happiness
It's alright to have an awesome husband, a brilliant career AND a great body. You can be as rich as you like and you can be a totally nice person. It's not too much for anyone to deserve, especially someone as awesome as you.
Become a giver AND receiver of compliments
Give a beautiful compliment every day and practice saying "thank you" when you get one in return. For bonus points, say "I know!" but don't be an asshole about it.
As in, "You look amazing today"
"I know, right? Thank you!"
Allow yourself to have a turn
If you're always the person to say "you first" or take the final pickings, practice going first, whether that's being the first to volunteer at a seminar or by putting yourself forward for opportunities that you'd normally step aside for others.
Unworthiness can be a real bitch. It can ruin your life but it doesn't have to anymore. My last tip is to take a deep breath, put your hand on your heart and recite my favourite affirmation: "It's my time and I'm ready for the next step".
Without sounding incredibly clichéd about it - you're totally worth it.
How do you overcome feelings of shame or unworthiness?