Guest post by author Alicia Griffin
The Road to Self-Worth
The perception of a woman can be portrayed as one who holds many qualities and skills. She is one of grace and beauty, which amplifies her femininity. She masters composure and leaves you to wonder how she continues to do so under such extreme measures. Her skillful tactics are admirable yet expected. A beautiful woman indeed. But what happens when she questions her own self-worth?
There are so many factors that can play out in the, I’m not worthy, scheme of life for many of us. They can be detrimental. I can’t remember exactly when it all started for me. It could have been the minute I was exposed to what the media advertised what beauty should look like - slim with small waistlines, long legs, and full breasts. We tend to compare ourselves to other women, which has become the downfall spiral that most of us fall into. Nowadays, it’s much easier to do so. With social media and the internet just a swipe or click away, we can’t help but be exposed to this reality. Besides media exposure, rejection is another factor that plays a role in this scheme. I’m almost positive that I questioned my self-worth the minute I got rejected by the boy my heart throbbed for because his heart was set on someone else; in my opinion, someone prettier. Maybe it’s a combination of these, as well as other factors, which made me feel less worthy of the things I wanted.
The Under-Average Scale
As a child, I fell under the average weight scale. As a matter of fact, I fell under the average scale of practically everything! I was petite. By the time I was in high school, my girlfriends were far more developed than I was. They had, what I considered to be, the perfect bodies - while the occasional acne breakout was the only sign of puberty I exposed. It was embarrassing. I had no curves to claim my own. Nonetheless, there I was, far from the average group of well-developed teenage girls. As a result, I didn’t get much attention from the boys. In fact, I was ridiculed, which made me the result of their amusement. Their hearts were set on curvy girls, and I didn’t fit in their category. Unfortunately, they were influenced by society and how beauty was defined. We tend to look past a person’s personality and qualities because our first instinct as human beings is to size up their physical appearance. Is it wrong? Maybe so, but who are we to judge? The irony of it all.
A number of us fall under these well-developed adolescents. We may have been more easily desired if humanity would focus more on inner beauty rather than a woman’s breast size. Needless to say, and due to the lack of, insecurities crept its way into my subconscious mind. As a result, my self-esteem fell short, and I felt compelled to alter my physical appearance when I became of age. Did it improve my self-esteem? Only temporarily. I wasn’t aware that I had a lot of work to do - from the inside out.
As if dealing with self-image wasn’t enough, I always seemed to get wrapped up in poor relationships. They were anything but healthy and functional. These relationships left me confused and doubtful; more so of myself. They were manipulative, which in turn, made me believe that every obstacle we faced in the relationship was solely my fault. I recall a time when the way I dressed wasn’t desirable by my significant other. What was so wrong with the way I dressed, anyways? Yet, to appease him, I wore what he chose - leaving myself feeling so uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt completely lost. Was it worth it? Absolutely not, but I didn’t know it at the time. I was young, and unfortunately, blooming in confidence was not my forte.
Was I not enough?
Can we discuss infidelity? This is a big one! It can leave you questioning your self-worth as a whole. It did for me. Was I not enough? This question seemed to sneak into my psych daily. If I didn’t feel inadequate before, infidelity really shook the foundation beneath my very own two feet to make me feel exactly that. If he couldn’t be faithful to me, who possibly would?
It’s interesting how such a traumatic experience - and yes, infidelity can be traumatic to someone’s whole being - can alter the way you perceive yourself. It left me doubting whether I could trust or love again, whether or not I was worthy of love. It left me questioning whether I could have done something different to keep my significant other happy. Why can’t I be enough? But the truth is, and always was, I am enough. I am more than enough.
So many of us get consumed with the grief we feel from the betrayal that we fail to see our value. I had to dig deep to see that I am worthy of real love. Only then I realized that I was no longer willing to tolerate this kind of behavior. In the trajectory of my divorce, I learned that not everyone will value a person the way they deserve. It’s our job to know our self-worth, not anyone else’s.
With the trials and tribulations that in essence, we all do face, I grew to learn more about myself than I ever have. I drew into the silence and did much needed reflection. Soul searching was deep, and in turn, it allowed me to learn to accept my flaws just as much as my perfections. However, it didn’t come without hard work. I had to succumb to the painful memories. Only then was I able to learn to forgive. And that’s when the magic started to unfold. With time, I began making changes within myself. I learned to love myself the way I deserved to be loved. I no longer needed acceptance or validation from others. If I decided to wear a pair of denim jeans, a t-shirt, and no make-up on a Friday night instead of getting all dolled up, so be it. I was now making decisions for myself. With self-acceptance, I craved authenticity, and I made the decision to age naturally and gracefully. I gave myself the greatest gift I could have ever hoped for - self-worth and love.
When women know their self-worth, they demonstrate power, resilience, and beauty. We don’t need to seek validation from anyone. We can truly conquer anything in this world if we believe that we are truly enough.