Learning to Value ourselves

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

William Blake

My book keeper has just left. The conversation touched on her telling me that she undercharges for her services. I told her I would be happy to pay a higher rate as I value her services a lot. She refused this offer. This led to a discussion about how many of us undervalue ourselves.

This becomes especially obvious if you are in a business that deals with wealthy clients, like I do and she does. It is more understandable to charge as little as possible for clients who don’t have much money, but that is not the case with us. We then touched on the underlying conditioning she carries of undervaluing her own value and worth. ‘Don’t get above yourself’, ‘Don’t ask for more, please everyone’ type of ingrained beliefs.  I could certainly relate to this, as I carried them for a long time.

She almost ran away with the cognitive dissonance of her conflicting inner goals becoming conscious – the conditioning telling her one thing and her goal of success and thriving telling her another.

A guy I know Jim now gets me to price his jobs for him because he habitually under prices himself and he can’t bring himself to charge anything more than a tiny paltry sum for the great skilled work he does. He wanted to charge £40 for a beautiful handmade gate recently and I told the client the price was £300, AND she was delighted with that price, which was low to her and the gate was well worth the money to her. Somewhere in his early conditioning he picked up beliefs that he wasn’t worth much and doesn’t deserve much.

Same with another guy I know, Jon. I sell his garden maintenance services for him to my clients at £10 an hour more than he would charge and the clients are still thrilled to have a highly qualified guy put so much love into their gardens. All three of these people produce high quality work, put everything they have into their work and take great pride in doing a good job.

However I just found out that the guy Jon has just sabotaged himself by offering to to in 3 hours what has been taking the existing gardener 4 hours. So while he enjoyed that he was now getting £30 an hour on one level, on another level he could not allow it, so hence the 3 instead of extra hard work he has given himself instead of 4 hours a week. He was forced by his conditioning to diminish himself to a level he was comfortable with.

This has shown me the difficulty in trying to help people in this way. I like to be a bit of a do gooder and share what I have learned, I like seeing myself and other people rise to their potential. This often backfires on me though. Uplifting people is not as easy and simple as it sounds because if you attribute more worth to a person than they feel they deserve, they will find a way to reject it. It is far too uncomfortable for them to go beyond the limit they are used to/were given in their early conditioning even if it is a higher level of wealth and happiness.

I have done this so often in my own life. I have rejected love from others as I could not receive it, and said no to help from others when I could have done with their help. I was carrying a belief that I  was not lovable, did not deserve happiness, should be self sufficient.

I undercharged often, and often did extra work for free, even when the client already was happy with the price. The urge to diminish myself was strong, the urge not to care for myself was strong. It was simply what I was used to as a child. Not being heard, not having my needs considered important, pleasing others and suchlike.

It has taken a long time for me to climb out of that hole, and it has been terrifying at times. A lot of facing of what was lurking away in here, subconsciously keeping me stressed, unrewarded for my work, poor and struggling in relationships with people incapable of love. I created all of it, albeit unknowingly on a conscious level.

I am wondering if it is an inside job and if it is even possible to help anyone else to dig their way out of their own holes of self limiting beliefs and the subsequent manifestation of suffering in their lives? In my experience the limits cannot be raised until the existing unconscious limits are addressed, and made conscious.

This process can be painful and requires and deserves to be treated with great tenderness. It is hard to see how we have treated ourselves badly. It’s painful to realise that those caring for us as children gave us those inner limits to our happiness and joy and ability to thrive.

It is scary to step beyond the comfort zone of what we are used to, and to raise the upper limit we were given. A good large dose of self compassion in the mix eases this process enormously, and makes it easier to be honest and less scared and defended. I feel a love for myself that I didnt experience in my early years.

I now include myself in the love, compassion, understanding and forgiveness I extend to others. It was scary at first to be kind to myself like this but if given time, it slowly becomes, with repetition and perseverance, the new normal. Then this new normal starts to feel safer and more trustworthy, and we realise that change can be welcomed.

This new normal can then be built on and we can go a little further in allowing ourselves the abundance and joy and love that is all around us. It has always been around us all along, waiting for our permission to let it in. And life seems to change like a hologram as our inner world changes. For me, I no longer have any abusive relationships in my life, I am not in debt now and I don’t have to worry about lack of money. I get on with the family members I choose to be around, and I am less inclined to abuse myself with self destructive habits and I love to look for new ways to look after myself better. I can say with absolute certainty that changing my inner world was directly responsible for these changes on the ‘outside’.




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