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Because you’re worth it

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Yep, I can see the irony of this title already. A blog about self love and self worth using the tag line from a multi-million dollar cosmetics brand fuelling purely on women’s LACK of self worth.

You’re worth using our makeup to feel beautiful, because chances are without it, you don’t!

Okay that was a cynical side of me I rarely show, but felt the pull to get it off my chest.

Now that that’s done, let’s dive in, shall we?

Self worth.

Gosh it’s a biggie. 18 months in business, coaching a range of clients with all kinds of backgrounds – men, women, mum’s, teenagers, business owners, performers, those with a mental health challenge, those with eating disorders, relationship challenges, the list goes on and on…and it ALWAYS comes back to self worth.

Why?

Because if we don’t feel personally ‘worth it’ then what’s the point?

If we don’t see ourselves as worthy of living our dream life, then are we really going to try our hardest to succeed at our dream job?

If we don’t believe we are worthy of our OWN love, then how can we expect anyone else to love us too?

If we don’t believe we are worthy of health or beauty or vitality, then are we going to FEEL healthy, or beautiful, or vibrant?

You can bet your bottom dollar not! (First time I have ever used that phrase, how fun!)

I have had beautiful clients sit before me in tears, their life in shambles, not knowing which way forward, because deep in their heart and soul they don’t even know what it FEELS like to wake up feeling deserving of a GOOD life. To actually OWN your RIGHT to happiness and love.

I held a workshop a few weeks ago and part of it was around developing our own personal affirmations, telling ourselves the things we really needed to hear. When it came time to share them, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Thirty women in tears proclaiming they want to feel worthy of love, they want to feel worthy of putting themselves first, to feel worthy of living their dreams.

Why don’t we already feel like this?

In my experience the opposite of self worth is guilt, and shame, and dare I say it, disgust.

Instead of thinking: I DESERVE to take time out for myself because it is good for my mental health, we think “I couldn’t POSSIBLY take time out for myself, it makes me look lazy and I’ll feel bad.”

Or rather than thinking: I AM WORTHY of my dream job and living an incredibly abundant life, we think “Who am I to think I can live an amazing life? What makes me special?”

I can see you nodding along with this.

I have been working on this with my clients for a while now, and it always comes back to the same thing: cultivating self love. That being said, it doesn’t mean I have it all sorted!

Recently I have had an influx of client bookings, writing gigs and speaking and workshop bookings. My business is thriving and I am forever grateful to be able to do what I do for a living every day. Alongside the bookings, I am also regularly approached to provide my services for free.

Since starting my business I have never offered a free coaching session – not even to my best friends or family members – because I see the value in what I provide as a coach, and for clients to really excel their needs to be a true VALUE EXCHANGE.

Think about it – if you have invested your money into bettering yourself and your life, you can guarantee you are going to be doing your homework, showing up on time and putting in the work. As a result, my coaching is going to be super successful for you because it comes back to how invested you are in the work.

If I were to offer a free session, chances are you aren’t going to do the work, or value it as highly as if you had financially invested in the coaching.

Makes sense doesn’t it?

That being said, I receive multiple requests for free writing and speaking gigs. My own self worth has been tested time and time again in this regard. The main reason I do what I do is because I want to HELP people. It is my driving force. So when a charity or amazing foundation or business requests my help by providing free content, a big part of me really wants to do it.

However, what I have realised in my time working on my OWN self worth – is that in providing my services for free, I am undervaluing myself. Not only that, but I am undervaluing paying clients who see the value in what I do, by prioritising free work over them.

Having this realisation left me feeling a bit yucky at first. Wanting to help as many people as I can, I felt guilty turning people away who don’t have the funds to book me.

But the guilt is quickly replaced by self worth once more.

I am an ambassador for the Children’s Tumour Foundation and provide pro-bono support to Macquarie University for their Chair of Surgical Oncology fund. I already work for both of these foundations for free. So why am I feeling guilty?

Here’s the thing: if I don’t recognise the value in what I do, and that payment is a necessary part of that, then I am of no help to anyone. I end up spreading myself thin, for no financial benefit, and before long, Universe forbid, I can no longer write, or speak, or coach because I am no longer making money.

I have seen it with my family who are musicians – asked to work for free because of the exposure they will receive. My partner’s friend runs an electrical business, and is constantly asked for discounted rates. Chances are you know someone, or ARE someone, who deals with something similar. Or maybe you are the person asking for the free work?

In doing this, without even realising it, we are potentially saying we do not value that person’s time or efforts – and as a result, will never be satisfied with the work they do. There will also be a build up of resentment in the person doing the free or discounted work for you. The relationship has not been built on value exchange, and rather on guilt and a lack of value.

I was discussing this with a client recently who is starting her photography business. She is no longer interested in offering free work because she has done the work on her own self worth and sees her value (#clientwin!) That being said, she is comfortable with a value exchange – so taking unpaid photos for a yoga studio is okay by her, if she receives classes in return. See how there is a real exchange of value here? It doesn’t HAVE to be financial – it could be an exchange in services, in time or in cross-promotion.

On the flip side, if you ARE caving regularly to ‘freebies’ and ‘mates-rates’ – ask yourself why you are doing it. Chances are it is less to do with helping the other person, and more to do with recognising your own value.

Where are you undermining your own self worth? Is it in the work you do for a living? The people you spend time with? The way you spend your OWN time (on what you think you SHOULD do versus what you WANT to do?)

How can you start to see what you are really worth?

Repeat after me:

I am worthy

I am deserving

I will no longer undervalue the incredible person I am

Because guess what? You’re worth it.

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Last week a stranger called me fat…

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It’s true. It went something like “So now that you’re fat you are trying to convince everyone else and yourself that you are healthy…”

The picture he was responding to is the one I have shared above. A before/after of a different kind.

I have become privy to sharing these kinds of images on my social media channels – an attempt to break down the stereotypes we have around what ‘healthy’ looks like. That even though my ‘before’ image looks the picture of health (with my toned body, thigh gap and abs), I was actually extremely unwell. And that while in the after photo I am more curvy (even more so than I am right now given this was taken 2 months into a Europe dream trip where I ate whatever I wanted) – I was far healthier in the second photo – mind, body and soul. Even though I don’t have the abs, and heaven forbid my breasts are bigger.

When I posted this photo I didn’t expect much, because I wasn’t doing it for any kind of ‘exposure’ or external validation. I was sharing it for my clients – the ones suffering anorexia and bulimia, the ones who have attempted suicide and self-harm driven to helplessness because of an obsession with the way that they look. I was posting it for young girls growing up in an era like never before – where ‘fitspo’ and eating disorder encouragement Instagram accounts are easily accessible at the click of a button. Where ‘skinny teas’ are even a thing (why?!) I was posting it for anyone who has ever looked at themselves in the mirror and burst into tears. For anyone who ever fad dieted in an attempt to feel better about themselves, only having the opposite effect, and feeling far worse. I was sharing it for my sister, for my mother, for my family and friends – all of us who have ever felt ashamed by the beautiful bodies we have been given.

So you can imagine my surprise when the post went semi-viral. I had to re-charge my phone 7 times that day, until I eventually gave up and switched it off. More than 5 thousand people liked the post (and for someone who gets excited at 100 likes, you can imagine the overwhelm). I doubled my followers overnight. My message requests went through the roof. Messages like:

I am 18 from Paris, and I want to tell you how inspiring you are. I am struggling with a binge eating disorder. I feel alone. And sad. Seeing your account made me a little less alone and thank you for that. 

Thank you for this post. I am trying to love myself but it is so hard some days. I see a post like your and we have very similar bodies, but one difference – you smile more. I need to learn to love mine and then mine will be beautiful like yours. Thank you for the inspiration. 

Today I am in the first situation – obsessed with my body, my weight, the gym…my goal is to like myself and never feel this culpability again. And when I discovered you, it makes me strong because I know that I will arrive, I have hope, because it is possible. 

Literally hundreds of comments and messages like the above. Beautiful women who are sick of fighting life-long battles with their bodies. Crying out for understanding and love.

So when someone jumps on my post and calls me fat, it infuriates me.

And not for the reasons you might think.

I have done the work on myself enough to know that these comments are empty words – in fact, at first when I saw them, I would smile. You know you’re doing something right when you start pissing people off.

But then I sat with it. And got mad. How DARE these people feel it okay to body shame with absolutely NO idea of my circumstances. It made me angry for my clients, for my followers, and for all the women who had reached out to me offering love and support, crying out for help. These people were not to know if I was battling an eating disorder. If I was self-harming or heaven-forbid had attempted suicide. Do they not understand the power of a phrase like that, especially on a post aimed to inspire and uplift?

It also shocked me the number of men feeling it completely in their right to comment on my breasts. The sexualisation of my body has been something I have been extremely self-conscious of. I am bigger busted naturally, and constantly hide my figure behind baggy clothes, covering my face with my long hair. Truth be told, part of me has never wanted to be ‘seen’. I have been conscious of my body my entire life for this EXACT reason – sexualisation of my body because I have big breasts.

When I made a comment about this on my Instagram stories, again my inbox was flooded with women who feel the same. Incredibly self-conscious of their beautiful feminine shape, because they don’t want to be a ‘target’ for unwanted male attention. It really struck me how big an issue this is. And how I no longer want to hide behind the baggy clothes.

I LOVE my body and I have worked fucking hard to love it. Every single inch of it. But that doesn’t give ANYBODY the right to abuse it, shame it or sexualise it. Ironically (or maybe not) ALL of the shaming was from men. And that upsets me because I love men – my dad, my fiancé, my brother, my best friends. Is this a generalisation I am making or a real issue? And either way, what can we do to stop it?

Truth be told – I have no idea. But I am grateful for my post, and the comments it received, because it opened my eyes to issues far larger than before/after pictures or ‘fitspo’.

And mark my words I will make it my mission to promote body love every single damn day. For me, for you, for our future daughters (and sons). No more baggy clothes for me.

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