Self-Compassion as a Doorway to Self-Worth

Self-Compassion as a Doorway to Self-Worth

For years, I was harsh and critical with myself when I made mistakes. I felt that mistakes made me unworthy.

I couldn’t tolerate failure. I thought I had high standards and was pushing myself to be better, but in reality, the harsh criticism was not a necessary part of my growth. In fact, it held me back in so many ways!

When we criticize ourselves, we create negative, unhealthy relationships with ourselves while creating negative and unsafe mental and emotional space within us. Even though we might think harsh self-criticism will make us perform better in life, it’s not sustainable… it’s really just holding us back. We end up doubting and not trusting ourselves, keeping us from the life we want.

If you tend to engage with self-criticism, has it really helped you?

If you’re going to allow yourself to dream big and to pursue those dreams, you’re going to have to let go of the self-criticism.

Self-criticism makes us feel unworthy of achieving our wildest dreams. It keeps us stuck!

What do you replace self-criticism with? I recommend being firm, yet compassionate with yourself. Wouldn’t you rather learn from a supportive, encouraging teacher that holds you accountable than a teacher who never accepts or acknowledges your hard work and your potential? 

Self-compassion is an important doorway to unconditional self-worth because it helps us release the self-criticism that holds us back and keeps us from feeling good about ourselves. Connecting with our unconditional self-worth is about healing and transforming our relationship with ourselves and self-compassion helps us do just that. 

Cultivating a supportive and encouraging relationship with ourselves gives us the foundation to move boldly into the world and confidently share our gifts and strengths (not to prove we’re good enough).

Three core components of self-compassion:

  1. Mindfulness – Sitting with your thoughts and being in the present moment without judgement or evaluation.
  2. Common Humanity – You’re not the only one feeling the way you do. You’re not alone. Your thoughts and feelings are normal responses to what you are feeling.
  3. Self-Kindness – Treating yourself the way you treat others… with kindness, support, encouragement, and responsibility. 

Think about how you can incorporate these core components of self-compassion in your own life. Perhaps you can start with one and add in the rest as you progress in this practice. See if this can help you connect to your unconditional self-worth and let me know how your experience goes!

Remember, you are worthy even when you make mistakes or don’t reach your goals. 

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Why Self-Worth is Essential for Healthy Boundaries

Why Self-Worth is Essential for Healthy Boundaries

There are many ways we can set boundaries in our lives.

We can create boundaries around our physical body, emotional experiences, possessions, time, you name it! 

My biggest struggles with boundaries have related to time. Before I connected to my unconditional self-worth, I didn’t protect my time. I gave it out left and right to anyone and everyone who asked for it, even strangers! Being a perfect, selfless friend was my strategy to prove my worthiness. This caused me to feel like I always had to be available to show up for everyone. The idea of setting boundaries around my time felt scary because I was afraid my friends wouldn’t want to be my friends anymore if I didn’t give my time to them, leaving me in an exhausting loop of always saying yes. Do you resonate?

Perhaps you struggle with emotional boundaries, always taking on other people’s feelings and taking responsibility for how other people feel. 

Maybe you struggle with physical boundaries, having trouble telling people the type of physical or sexual touch you are or are not comfortable with.

I encourage you to take a moment to think about where you struggle with boundaries. 

What types of boundaries have been difficult for you to establish and enforce?

What happens when you don’t set these boundaries?

How has that impacted your quality of life and your relationships?

Reasons why boundaries are important:

  • Boundaries keep us physically safe.
  • They keep us emotionally healthy and grounded.
  • They give us the freedom of choice.
  • When we don’t set boundaries, we end up being reactive to the world around us.
  • When we don’t set healthy boundaries, our physical, emotional, and mental energy ends up being spread out all over the place, reserving very little energy for ourselves, leaving us feeling overextended, exhausted, and resentful.

The connection between self-worth and boundaries

When we don’t feel worthy, it’s challenging to set boundaries because we don’t feel like we are worthy of saying no or protecting our time and energy or prioritizing our wants and needs. When we’re stuck in a place of low self-worth, we often feel like we should take what we can get. 

When we know we’re worthy unconditionally and that our worth doesn’t depend on what others think of us, it’s so much easier to set boundaries! We can then prioritize spending time with our friends when it works for us, saying no to talking or to attending gatherings when we need time for ourselves without fear of our friends being salty about it. When we know we’re unconditionally worthy, it’s easier to say no to a romantic or sexual interaction without fearing that rejection may mean we are unworthy or unlovable.

People won’t think you’re mean for taking time for yourself. They may get upset or not understand at first, heck, they may even throw a little tantrum, but that’s normal in the boundary-setting process. It’s important not to take this personally because taking time for oneself is a human necessity. Don’t give in and give yourself to them.

3 Strategies for setting healthy boundaries:

  • Identify and remember why you’re setting the boundary in the first place.
  • Remember that boundaries are healthy.
  • Enlist reliable support and accountability.

Remember, your self-worth does not come from you being the perfect, ever-available friend, family member, or lover. Boundaries are the foundation for healthy, loving relationships and enforcing them will help you improve your quality of life and your inner glow.

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The Key to Healthy Romantic Relationships: Believe You are Worthy

The Key to Healthy Romantic Relationships: Believe You are Worthy

In 2018, I was exploring on Bumble and came across a man who said he was interested in a woman who loves and cares about people…

I thought, how sweet for that to be his priority! So, I swiped right and sent him a message. He eventually asked if we could go on a date and at that point, I wanted to have a phone conversation before going on a date, as to not waste anyone’s time. A week later, we talked and it went well enough to where we went on a date shortly after. Jason remembered what kind of restaurants I liked so he made a reservation at one that neither of us have tried before. I thought that was really thoughtful. 

He was cute and the date was great! We talked about meaningful topics, I felt present and connected, and I wasn’t worried about whether Jason would like me or not. After the date, I didn’t hear from him for three days… not even a “hope you got home safely” text! Mind you, if this happened a few years prior, this silence would have left me incredibly anxious and worried about whether something went wrong.

Because I was grounded in unconditional self-worthiness, I was disappointed I didn’t hear from him, but I was able to accept that and let it go without internalizing it and criticizing myself. Though, that’s not where the story ends. Jason ended up calling me a few days later, and asked me on a second date! If I had been caught up about him not calling or texting me sooner, I may not have been as open to going on a second date, but I had done the work and was confident in our connection.

Reflecting on the early stages of our relationship, Jason showed up for me and our relationship progressed more and more over time. Our relationship was free of stress, desperation, and anxiety, which was what often characterized my prior relationships. Even though I was good at playing it cool, my past relationships were riddled with worry, uncertainty, and self-doubt. Who wants that?!

In past relationships, the question was, “Does he like me?” when it should have been, “Do I like him?”

With Jason, I was curious about whether I liked spending time with him and the answer was always yes! That’s what helped our relationships progress with ease, on top of him being thoughtful, consistent, and available. 

Today, our relationship continues to be easy and joyful. We have a great balance of interdependence because neither of us are struggling with low self-worth, neither of us are depending on the other person to fill an eternal void, we are our own complete humans, and we come together because we love each other. Despite any disagreements we may have, our relationship is stable. Cue the sigh of relief!

Knowing that I am unconditionally worthy helped me make two major shifts in my approach to relationships.

The first shift that happened was that I was attracted to Jason, who was stable and emotionally available. When you feel like you’re unlovable, you’re more likely to be attracted to people who are emotionally unavailable or who confirm the belief that you are unlovable. This can lead to a somewhat false sense of accomplishment as you try to earn the love and affirmation of the person you’re interested in. Jason clearly said he wanted to go on a date, planned the date, then followed through on the date. Stable and emotionally available. 

I had to adjust to this stability and availability because I wasn’t used to it. I was surprised that Jason is the way he is. I shifted away from trying to achieve, fix, or prove that I was worthy and began to relax and enjoy the process. Sometimes, we have to adjust to the thing that we’ve wanted for so long because we’re used to experiencing something totally different.

The second shift that happened was being free from relationship anxiety, which allowed me to be present and engaged with Jason without putting pressure on him and the relationship. This freed up so much time and energy to put toward figuring out if Jason was the one for me. I could finally let things progress naturally and enjoy him and the process. 

Have you ever tried to achieve love with a partner? 

Have you felt anxious and like your worth depends on someone loving you?

Do you question your partner’s actions or words?

Problems arise when one or both partners believe they are unworthy. Unconditional self-worth is the foundation of healthy relationships, with both yourself and with your partner. 

Having a loving relationship with yourself provides a foundation for healthy relationships, but you don’t need to be perfectly healed and understanding of your worthiness before exploring a loving relationship. 

Healthy relationships can help us to see ourselves in a more positive light and you shouldn’t outsource this work to your partner. Do the inner work to build a loving and accepting relationship with yourself because that is what’s going to allow you to show up fully in your romantic relationships.

When we know we are worthy of love, we open ourselves to receiving love and we walk away from those who aren’t loving to us. We don’t put pressure on our partner or our relationships to fill the void of low self-worth.

If you’re struggling with your self-worth, no matter your relationship status, I invite you to join me in a practice that will connect you with your self-worth. 

It’s a practice of self-appreciation. You don’t need to be different than you are to be lovable. Society bombards us with messages that tell us we need to change or be different in order to fit in or be lovable, but I invite you to let go of these thoughts. Instead, focus on the things you like and appreciate about yourself. When you can tune into this appreciation, your confidence increases, you feel assured, and you know you are worthy just as you are. 

Take a moment to think about and connect with at least one thing that you like about yourself. If you’re struggling, ask a trusted friend and see what they appreciate about you. Take in that answer without denial. 

When growth happens without acknowledging and appreciating who and where we are in life, we’re left feeling insecure. Remember, being in touch with what we appreciate about ourselves helps us to connect to our unconditional self-worth and allows us to show up authentically and confidently in our relationships, which is SO attractive!


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The Problem with Self-Esteem and Why You Should Focus on Self-Worth Instead

The Problem with Self-Esteem and Why You Should Focus on Self-Worth Instead

In this episode of The Unconditionally Worthy Podcast, I explain the difference between self-esteem and self-worth and why that’s an important and impactful distinction. I share my experience with high self-esteem and low self-worth so that you might be able to recognize if you’re facing some of the same challenges that duo causes. Then, I provide you with a powerful strategy you can use to practice connecting with your self-worth. 

With all of this societal focus on self-confidence and self-esteem, there’s not enough emphasis on the importance of focusing on how we actually feel about ourselves. Self-worth helps us to explore those deeper feelings. 

For me, I was super comfortable and confident in academics. I did well, so my self-esteem was high. Though, when I didn’t do well, I was crushed because I didn’t have that foundation of strong self-worth to support my sense of self. It was hard to move on from failure and mistakes because those moments made me feel unworthy of success and achievement. 

To get into graduate school, I needed to take the GRE test. As much as I prepared, when it came to test day, I was extremely anxious. All of my high-self esteem did not carry over to this moment, which was very distracting! Once I got my score, I did not have a good feeling about being able to get into grad school. I felt upset and like I needed to give up that goal. In a way, I felt like that score reflected who I was. Yikes!

One challenge with self-esteem is that when we accomplish something, we feel on top of the world… but this feeling never lasts because it’s not supported by the power of self-worth. So, you end up pursuing one accomplishment after another, like running on a treadmill with self-worth dangling in front of you, just barely out of your reach. It’s exhausting!

Another challenge is when we rely on our self-esteem, we end up in a toxic, conditional relationship with ourselves. We like ourselves when we’re succeeding, but when we’re struggling, we become harsh and self-critical. Who wants to be in a relationship like that?!

Have you experienced something similar?

Self-esteem vs. Self-worth

Self-esteem is based on our abilities, accomplishments, social position, and things we believe we can achieve. We can bolster self-esteem by learning new skills and improving our performance and it goes up and down based on how we’re doing in certain areas of our life. Self-esteem has a place in our lives, but it’s on the surface of how we see ourselves and what we do in the world. 

Unconditional self-worth is distinct from our abilities and accomplishments. If we never accomplish anything or never reach our goals, unconditional self-worth remains. It’s not about comparing ourselves to other people. You can’t have more or less of self-worth. Unconditional self-worth is the sense that you deserve to be alive, to be loved and cared for, and to take up space just because you’re human.

Tending to and strengthening your unconditional self-worth is making sure you are grounded and nourished where you need it most. That way, even in the winter months of your life when you can’t bear fruits, you still stand tall and strong, knowing you are worthy.

When I learned to connect to my unconditional self-worth, I no longer relied on my self-esteem to bolster my confidence. I was more resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks and I was able to focus more on who I wanted to be in the world, rather than what I wanted to do. I now have a foundation of self-assurance and calmness that was always missing on the rollercoaster of self-esteem.

Do I still get disappointed if something doesn’t go well? Yes, I’m human! Even though I feel disappointed, I don’t feel crushed by it because I do not feel my worth is dependent on me getting everything right. I have developed a loving and supporting relationship with myself no matter what is going on in my life… and you can too! 

“Right now, can you make an unconditional relationship with yourself – just at the height you are, the weight you are, with the intelligence that you have, and your current burden of pain – can you enter into an unconditional relationship with that?” – Pema Chödrön

When you have unconditional self-worth, you have the freedom to be.

We are human beings, not human doings.

The sense of presence and being alive comes from just being. Of course, you can’t stop doing things, but you can shift your focus from the outcome to the process. 

One way I connect to my unconditional self-worth is through meditation. The beauty of meditation is that you don’t have to do it right or be an expert at it, you just have to show up and be there. It’s about creating space to be in the present moment without effort, struggle, striving, or judgement. 

Let’s practice together!

Tune in to this episode at [19:20] to join me in a short mindfulness meditation practice.


Insight Timer is a great app WITH thousands of free guided meditations if you’d like to further explore meditation:

Blog Post: 5 Strategies to Tap into the Transformative Power of Meditation 

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How Unconditional Self-Worth Helps Us Pursue the Life of Our Dreams

How Unconditional Self-Worth Helps Us Pursue the Life of Our Dreams

For most of my life, I wasn’t a dreamer. I didn’t envision my future or have huge goals for my life. I didn’t allow myself to dream because I was too scared of the vulnerability of dreaming and hoping for something when I didn’t feel worthy of it. I was scared of envisioning a life that wasn’t certain to happen. Can you relate?

I fully acknowledge that I’ve had some big accomplishments in life, like getting a PhD, but in my family, these accomplishments felt expected rather than impressive. My parents’ prior accomplishments made me feel like I needed to follow in their footsteps in order to be successful. So, I did that. I’m not mad that I strived for success in academia, I’m actually very grateful and glad that I did… but I was still playing small.

I didn’t take time to reflect and craft a vision for my life beyond the confines of the conventional. When my focus was on proving that I was worthy and filling the internal void I felt, I didn’t have the energy to consider what I really wanted for my life. I couldn’t tap into the courage that was necessary to take the leaps toward a more fulfilling life.

Low self-worth keeps us from dreaming…

Trying to prove our self-worth takes up a lot of much mental and emotional energy and keeps us stuck in a place where we’re living for the approval of others. This makes it difficult to have the space and energy for dreaming and imagining what might be possible for us. Following society’s scripts or other people’s dreams for our lives is extremely limiting and even if we know that doesn’t work for us, we may not have the courage to expand beyond those limits. 

Low self-worth also fosters harsh self-criticism. Even when we do consider what we want in life, we often shut those thoughts down with judgement and statements that we’d never accomplish what we hope for. 

If you’re feeling stuck in life and you’re not sure how to break free, consider whether low self-worth, trying to prove your worth, or any of the reasons I just talked about is what’s contributing to your feeling stuck. 

Unconditional self-worth supports us in envisioning a life for ourselves that’s beyond our wildest dreams!

Unconditional self-worth is the sense that you deserve to be alive, to be loved and cared for, and to take up space just because you’re human. When we connect to this, we can shift our focus from proving that we are worthy to focusing on envisioning and pursuing the life we most desire. At the core, it’s about our relationship with our Self.

When we know we are worthy unconditionally, we are kind, compassionate, trusting, and forgiving with ourselves. It’s in THIS environment that dreams are able to grow and flourish and that we are able to tap into the courage to dream. We then have a safe and healthy relationship with ourselves that makes it safe to be vulnerable with ourselves and to envision the life we most desire. 

Once I began to connect with my unconditional self-worth, something began to shift within me. I began envisioning small things and seeing them show up in my life. Then, I let myself dream bigger and bigger, tapping into bold and wild dreams! I suddenly realized that one of my dreams was to be an entrepreneur… and here I am, officially working for myself, full-time!

Own your wants and desires. It may feel risky, but that’s where the power lies. Tap into your unconditional self-worth and own this powerful shift! 

To start tapping into what you truly desire in life, reflect on these questions:

What would you dare to dream if you knew you were unconditionally worthy?

What would you stop doing if you already knew you were worthy?

What would you find the courage to do if you knew you were worthy unconditionally?

These are powerful questions that I want you to sit with and wrestle with. If you journal, write about the thoughts that come up for you without judging or analyzing them. If you meditate, give yourself space to meditate on these questions. 

Live these questions. You don’t need to have the answers immediately. Take your time and allow your internal wisdom to guide you to them as you go throughout your days. Be patient with yourself in this process because it’s truly an adjustment and a shift that you’re going through.

The world will be a better place when we can all show up fully. Knowing that we are worthy and knowing what we dream for ourselves helps us to do that.

Want to learn more practices to help you connect with your unconditional self-worth? Sign up for my free e-book on the topic:

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How Self-Forgiveness Freed me from Shame and it Can Free You Too

How Self-Forgiveness Freed me from Shame and it Can Free You Too

When we share our honest stories of dealing with shame and embarrassment, we feel less alone and we realize that these experiences don’t make us less worthy.

At the age of 24, I fell in love… and I fell hard. Looking back, it was merely a summer fling of infatuation but I really thought it was forever love. He lived in D.C. and I lived in Chicago, but we made it work… until the moment I felt that something was off with him. 

There was a shift from a feeling of warmth and connection between us to a cold and disconnected feeling that really confused me. I began to feel sick, but ignored it. I ignored the fact that something wasn’t right in the relationship and I ignored the feeling that something was wrong in my body. 

After I flew home from visiting him one weekend, I didn’t hear from him for about a week. I already had the worry that I was unlovable, but that really sent my anxiety over the edge. Eventually, I got into contact with him and he had nothing to say! He couldn’t give me an explanation, so I said, “I can’t be in a relationship with you like this. If I can’t talk to you, if we can’t be in contact for over a week, that’s not going to work for me. Either we’re going to talk about this, figure it out, and fix it… or this is not going to work.” Way to go, Adia! He decided he didn’t want to talk about it or fix it, so, that was it. It was over and I was heartbroken. 

When I finally went to the doctor to get checked out, I learned that I had herpes. This guy, who had just decided to end our relationship for no reason, had given me herpes… genital herpes! I fell apart right then and there. I thought my life was over, that I’d never have a relationship again, that I’d never have children, and that I had to give up on the life that I had hoped for.

This news and the heartbreak triggered a depressive episode for me. I lost weight, withdrew from friendships, and turned my anger on myself, spending the next several months trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Why hadn’t I protected myself from this? Why was this happening to me? I had the evidence to prove my belief that no one would love me. Except, that’s not the truth. 

I wish I could go back and comfort my younger self and let her know that she is still worthy, despite having an STD. I’d let her know that she’s still capable of living the life that she dreamed of. 

We withhold forgiveness from ourselves because we are hoping that the past could be different and that if we hadn’t made those mistakes, we wouldn’t be experiencing the pain that we’re experiencing in the present. The irony is that when we don’t forgive ourselves, we’re holding onto that pain! It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting to carry pain and shame with us, right?

Once I was able to forgive myself, leaving the shame and embarrassment in the past, I was able to move on unburdened. 

What exactly is self-forgiveness? How can I forgive myself?

Self-forgiveness involves four components:

  1. Accepting what happened in the past – In order to forgive myself, I had to accept that I did get herpes, that I did make mistakes, and that I didn’t protect my boundaries.
  2. Acknowledging the hurt you felt because of what happened – I needed to let go of self-criticism and tune into the part of me that felt hurt, violated, and unworthy. I had to become compassionate with myself for what I went through so that I could heal.
  3. Identifying the wisdom you can draw (what you learned) from the experience – I learned that I needed to be more protective of my body and my safety. I learned to trust my intuition about when something was wrong in a relationship or with my body and address that instead of ignoring it.
  4. Telling yourself you forgive yourself and allowing yourself to move forward – For me, this looks like telling my 24-year-old self that I forgive her for not trusting herself. I tell her that I forgive her for not fully knowing how to protect herself. I forgive her for trying to prove her worthiness.

These are practices that can be returned to as often as needed. Self-forgiveness is a process that can sometimes be difficult and painful. I encourage you to take it slowly and be gentle and compassionate with yourself. 

Through self-forgiveness, I learned that even though I had contracted an STD and felt overwhelming shame, I was still worthy of love, forgiveness, and care. 

Sometimes, it is when we experience the worst that we connect with our unshakeable humanity. 

Let’s practice!

When you have some free time, sit down and reflect on where you may be holding onto things from your past that are keeping you from feeling worthy. Oftentimes, these feelings come from major mistakes, failures, or traumas that we’ve experienced, and they cause us to feel less than human. Once you’ve identified that scenario, walk through the four steps to self-forgiveness and return to them as often as you need to. Remember, be gentle with yourself.

You can be freed from whatever has happened in your past! If forgiveness allowed me to move on from herpes, it can help you move on from whatever is holding you back from your unconditional worthiness.

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How I Overcame Years of Anxiety and You Can Too

How I Overcame Years of Anxiety and You Can Too

I have a lot of experience with anxiety at both a personal and professional level and I also know the power in overcoming anxiety and how liberating it can be. 

I was always on edge growing up, fearing failure and being left out. Everything mattered so intensely to me that my nervousness and tenseness started rubbing off on other people. 

In grad school, my anxiety started to manifest more prevalently in my life and it started to get in the way of me doing the things I wanted to do. I created a timeline for my life and my education that pushed me too hard, on top of feeling insecure in a new city. There was a combination of many factors that heightened my anxiety to a point that I started going to therapy. Thank goodness!

During therapy, we explored some of my experiences growing up and uncovered my belief that my parents were perfect. I had come to the conclusion that in order to be worthy and happy, I needed to be perfect too. I didn’t think I was worthy just as I was. I didn’t trust myself. I put my trust into productivity, achievement, and overworking myself, thinking those things would make me worthy of happiness. All this pressure boiled up into, you guessed it, anxiety.

What is Anxiety and How Does Anxiety Show Up in Our Lives?

Anxiety involves feeling worried, scared, or nervous about something negative that we anticipate happening in the future. Anxiety can show up in many different forms…

·      Racing, worrisome thoughts

·      Racing heart

·      Tension or pressure in your chest, neck, shoulders, or jaw

·      Difficulty breathing

·      Upset stomach

·      Headaches

It’s important to be aware of what you’re feeling in your body because sometimes we recognize the physical symptoms before we realize that we’ve been worrying about a particular thing.

Anxiety often shows up when we’re thinking about the worst possible outcome for a situation. Because our brain and body can’t tell the difference between a made-up scenario and reality, we feel the negative future we are anticipating is happening right now. Have you ever worried that you’re going to totally bomb an upcoming presentation? Do you notice that those thoughts tend to snowball into a vividly catastrophic event? Then, you may notice your body responding as if that’s actually happening to you. You may get sweaty, a knot in your stomach, etc.

The irony here is, when we get caught up in our fears and worries, we’re more likely to do poorly in our presentation because we’re distracted by the failure that might happen. We’re not able to show up and share our gifts and knowledge fully. 

We’ve probably all been there, no judgements… that’s just an example of how anxiety shows up.

Take a breath.

Sometimes anxiety is valuable and important. It can tell us something important and we should listen to that. The goal isn’t to never feel fear or anxiety, but we want to be able to distinguish between anxiety that is useful and anxiety that holds us back from what we want in life. 

When we are driven by anxiety, we start to live life to prove ourselves and our worth to others (and even to ourselves). We live to avoid risk and failure, which holds us back from showing up as our full selves in the world. We’re then not able to receive the full abundance that the world has for us. 

My anxiety finally subsided when I started to dismantle the conditions I placed on my self-worth. When I connected to my unconditional self-worth and began to see myself as worthy regardless of my achievements, the pressure decreased.

This has freed me up to energetically pursue a life that I desire, to build a loving relationship, and to form more mutual, balanced friendships.

Connecting to your unconditional self-worth is about healing and transforming your relationship with your true self, releasing self-criticism and the belief that something is wrong with you. 

Trust in yourself. 

Know that even though you are going through something challenging, you can be resilient in the face of these challenges. Trusting yourself can look like listening to your gut or intuition and being confident that you are making the right decisions for yourself. Listening to when you are feeling energized and paying attention to when your body and emotions are telling you otherwise.

What might be underlying your anxiety? What is the fear that drives your anxiety?

It’s helpful to understand that the fears underlying our anxiety are often connected to challenging experiences we’ve had in our past. When I feel anxious, I feel and connect to the 12-year-old Adia that worried she was unlovable and feared rejection. 

The trick is to respond with love and comfort, rather than judgement and resistance. When I feel the pull of anxiety I offer myself compassion and reassurance, which soothes me and calms me. Call on the wise and compassionate part of yourself that you use to comfort others and offer that compassion and kindness to yourself. I encourage you to explore what this looks like for you.

Return to this practice often and you will grow closer and closer to your powerful, unconditional self-worth.

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How Low Self-Worth Leads to Imposter Syndrome and a Powerful Strategy to Overcome Both

How Low Self-Worth Leads to Imposter Syndrome and a Powerful Strategy to Overcome Both

Everyone has something important to share with the world…

But imposter syndrome can get in the way of fully showing up. At the core of imposter syndrome is feeling unworthy of success and feeling like you don’t have a place at the table, in the classroom, on your job, or in relationships. This often leaves us feeling like we don’t have anything to offer or feeling like we are not good enough. 

When we feel low self worth, we are more likely to feel unworthy at work and at school and unworthy of love, life, and success. We question ourselves and our achievements and we feel like imposters. All of this contributes to the anxiety, procrastination, overworking, and perfectionism that often come along with imposter syndrome. It can be a never ending cycle.

Imposter syndrome shows up in many different ways… 

In my personal experience, I overworked myself. I tried to be perfect in order to prove that I was good enough and worthy of my accomplishments. I would stay up later than I needed to and pushed myself to turn in every assignment on time. I felt I needed to prove I was good enough on the merit of my academic achievements. Now I can see that perfect achievement would never make me feel worthy or release me from imposter syndrome. 

When you struggle with imposter syndrome, you may also find it hard to start projects. Or, you may struggle to do the work in front of you, because you don’t feel worthy or smart enough to do a good job. 

You may have trouble recognizing your gifts, or shrink yourself and hide your talents. When we struggle with imposter syndrome and low self-worth, we also miss out on the joy of engaging with our strengths and talents and showing up fully. And, the world misses out on the important gifts we have to share. You deserve to tap into your gifts and share them because the world will be a better place when you do that.

What would you find the courage to do if you knew you were worthy? 

Think about what life would feel like and be like if you showed up courageously in the world.

To start showing up courageously,

Identify your strengths

I want you to reflect on and identify your strengths. Take some time to think about it. Often, our strengths are things that come easily to us and that we do naturally without even thinking. You may be creative, a great listener, or you may be a great problem solver. 

Once you’ve identified your strengths, 

Consider how you would like to share them in the world. 

How do you want to share your gifts at your job, at school, on your teams and in your community? How do you want to show up in these spaces? Do you want to be a listening ear for people? Do you want to help people solve problems? Write this down because having a list will help you during the times you feel like an impostor. 

This is a list you can return to when you’re feeling nervous, or you are wondering if you belong in a space. 

Return to this list!

When you feel like you need to be perfect or have all the right answers, or you need to get everything right, return to this list. Often when we’re nervous, it’s because we are focused on not wanting to make a mistake. Instead, you can focus on how you want to bring your strengths to play.

Check out my course on overcoming imposter syndrome:

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Believing in Your Unconditional Self-Worth is a Radical Act

Believing in Your Unconditional Self-Worth is a Radical Act

Black people have been treated as unworthy since America’s inception. 

This is an unfortunate and heartbreaking history and the legacy of this history continues today. African people were stolen from their homelands and chattel slavery was instituted in the United States. Chattel slavery meant that children born to slaves were considered slaves and it guaranteed that slavery would continue from generation to generation. Enslaved people had no rights, and they were treated and considered to be less than human. 

I do not need to recount all of the traumas of slavery, but one marker of slavery is Black people were told over and over again in small and large ways l we were not worthy of love, life, health, care, and respect. Despite this messaging and conditioning, Black people built loving relationships, Black people cared for and loved their children, and Black people cultivated joy and community in the midst of these historical experiences and subsequent trauma. 

I wish I could say that racism ended with slavery. 

Unfortunately it’s not so. The racism used to justify slavery changed forms after slavery was abolished. Racism manifests in numerous ways like police murdering Black people who are walking, running, and sleeping. Every time one of these murders happens, I feel it viscerally in my body. As a Black person, I wonder how you feel both psychologically and psysiological when you hear of another murder or see it happening on video? Then in the summer of 2020, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery were murdered and something shifted. 

People began to wake up this truth that we, as Black people, have always known: Black Lives Matter. 

I’m hopeful and there is still work to do. 

Today, aside from the overt racism we experience in cases of police violence, there are many subtle forms of racism. They can look like being passed over for a promotion or not getting an interview for a job that you’re overqualified for. Black women also have to navigate stereotypes like we are hyper sexual, we are manipulative, we’re gaming the system, or we are always angry. Sometimes it’s just assuming we are always strong, that we don’t feel pain, or that we don’t get sick which results in us not receiving the medical care we need. 

Dear Black people, we are worthy because we are human. 

Our worthiness is not based on anything else but that irrevocable truth. 

We are human.

When we assert our unconditional self worth as Black people, we are taking a radical stand against all the prevailing messages like Black people are only worthy if we talk right, act right, play right, or look right. 

The idea that we need to be perfect and magical to be loved and respected is a lie. 

We are worthy when we win and fail. We are worthy when we experience depression and anxiety. We are worthy when we are coping with trauma. We are worthy in the fullness of our humanity. 

How do we put our self worth into practice? 

We stop buying into the idea that our worth is based on our productivity. 

I believe a powerful way to connect and honor our unconditional self worth as Black people is to take good care of ourselves. So often, we push ourselves to the limit because we feel we have no other choice. We buy into the idea that we always have to be hustling to be successful and worthy, that we must work 3 times as hard to be as successful as White people. Overworking ourselves can increase stress, exhaustion and physical health issues. I want us to shift away from the idea that to be worthy as Black people, we have to work ourselves into the ground. 

We practice listening to our bodies and taking care of ourselves.

With my Black female clients, we often talk about the need for rest. Taking care of ourselves is a radical act because it directly challenges the messages that we are not worthy of love. When I talk about self-care I’m not referring to the commercialized instagrammable self care I’m talking about deep practices of listening to your body and taking care of yourself. Taking care of yourself can look like making sure you get enough sleep. Too often, as Black women, we have trouble taking the time to sleep and rest because we feel we need to be tending to someone else. I encourage you to set a bedtime. If you have trouble allowing yourself to relax and rest, consider why it’s difficult for you. 

We honor our bodies through movement and being mindful of what we eat.

Movement doesn’t have to look like intense exercise. It can look like going for a walk on a beautiful day, or engaging in cardio, or running but doing something that feels good for your body. I encourage you to figure out what that looks like for you. Being thoughtful about what you eat does not need to be a restrictive diet, it means prioritizing eating foods that you find nourishing. Honoring your body can also look like being still in prayer and meditation, taking time to journal, and generally giving yourself space to be present with your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Being mindful is attending to yourself with love and care, and giving yourself the attention you deserve. 

Self care can also look like making time to have fun.

Lean into what you love to do for fun. It is important that we lean away from always working to finding time to have fun. Fun looks different for us these days but finding creative ways to laugh and connect with friends and loved ones can be an important way to take care of ourselves. 

If you don’t have a consistent practice of taking care of yourself, I encourage you to make that a priority during this Black history month. You can receive a personalizable self-care plan to get yourself started here:

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Why a Romantic Partner Can Never Complete You

Why a Romantic Partner Can Never Complete You

A big part of my struggle with low self-worth was believing that I was unlovable and not worthy of love… 

This caused me to desperately seek out relationships to prove that I was worthy and lovable. My first serious relationship started during my senior year of high school and continued into my freshman year of college. Honestly, I should have listened to the nun at my all-girls Catholic high school that advised me to end my relationship and go into college as a single woman to get the full experience…

As a freshman in college, I began feeling stressed and anxious when my boyfriend didn’t want to make the hour-long drive to come visit me, when he seemed disinterested when I would visit him, and when he eventually broke up with me. I was crushed and heartbroken! 

After getting back together a few months later, only to find the same disinterest arise once again, the pattern of getting into relationships with guys who were emotionally unavailable was just getting started. In most of my relationships, the anxiety and worry I felt about my significant other eroded the quality of the relationship. Under it all, was my fear of being unlovable and my belief that I was unworthy of love.

When I finally ended up in a relationship with a guy who was good for me, I was bored! Hmmm… needless to say, this was exhausting. I spent many years in a state of agony, just hoping a man would love me so that I could get rid of the horrible feeling of being unworthy of love.

My fear of being unlovable came to a head when I was in a relationship with a great guy who could not and did not fall in love with me during our two-year relationship. I faced my ultimate fear of being unlovable. Even though I thought that would break me, the reality was facing that fear is what helped me to realize that I am lovable. It was not easy by any means, but I eventually came to understand that my partner not falling in love with me wasn’t about me being unlovable… it was about his limited capacity to love. This freed me from my relationship anxiety and desperation for love. Cue the deep sigh of relief!

Sometimes, facing our worst fears is exactly what we need to overcome them.

This experience taught me that I no longer needed to search outside of myself for a partner to complete me and make me worthy. Affirming myself that I was lovable and worthy marked a powerful transition in my journey to unconditional self-worth. 

I wonder if you can relate to my story at all… 

Have you ever tried to use a romantic relationship to feel worthy? 

Have you felt crushed after someone left a relationship with you or didn’t choose you? 

Have you started a relationship with a lot of hope, only to feel empty inside after the initial rush of infatuation wore off? 

If you have, know that you are not alone.

Using romantic relationships to prove we are worthy just does not work. Maybe it will for a short period of time, but eventually, our unaddressed feelings of unworthiness will re-emerge and cause stress and anxiety, making it hard to have a healthy and stable relationship. 

We can attempt to blame our partners for the void that we feel within us, but we are the only ones that can fill and heal that emotional void of unworthiness. 

The way out of this exhausting cycle is to connect to our unconditional self-worth. You ARE worthy of love, no matter what you’ve done or what you’ve gone through. 

There are many practices I will share with you in upcoming episodes that will support you on your journey to connecting with your unconditional self-worth, but for today…

Here are some self-love practices that you can use to remind yourself that you are worthy of love…

Treat yourself the way you hope a partner would treat you. This could involve indulging yourself with a delicious meal, drawing a candle lit bubble bath for yourself, giving yourself gifts, affirming wonderful things about yourself, and spending time doing things you enjoy! 

Take some time to think about the ways in which you prefer to receive love and then offer yourself love in these ways. It’s okay if it feels silly at first, but do it anyway. It will get easier. Commit to one thing that you can do this week to show yourself some love. 

Bonus points if you journal about it!

When you engage in self-love, you are communicating to yourself that you are worthy of love and care just because you’re you.

“One of the best guides to how to be self-loving is to give ourselves the love we are often dreaming about receiving from others.”        – bell hooks

What changes when you know you’re worthy?

When we know we are worthy unconditionally, we show up as complete people dedicated to building healthy relationships and we don’t fall into codependency. When we know we are worthy, we set healthy boundaries to nurture all of our relationships and stay balanced. 

For me, knowing I’m unconditionally worthy of love has prepared me for a healthy, flourishing relationship with my fiancé. Yes, you read that right! Fiancé! Our love blossomed just after my last ‘unlovable’ relationship, when I was no longer desperately searching for a partner to complete me. Divine timing, huh?

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