Our stresses, anxieties, pains, and problems arise because we do not see the world, others, or even ourselves as worthy of love. Prem Prakash
The other day I was working with a coaching client, she was telling me about the amazing things that had been happening in her life and that a major dream she has had for many years had recently come true. As I was listening to her the word “deserving” came to mind! As I continued to listen deeply, with my whole body, I could see that the good things that were happening to her were on the threshold of too much to hold and that without looking at her own feelings of not deserving, it was likely she would sabotage herself at some point. So, I asked her what the word deserving meant to her? She was puzzled by this, and I wasn’t sure myself. As with most coaching sessions I do with people I try not to come from already knowing, but to look from a place of collaborative inquiry and not having a ready answer from my past experiences.
Together we began to explore the energy behind the word deserving from her perspective. I asked her, what’s the difference between deserving and being worthy? They seem very similar she surmised! The dictionary definition of deserving is, “being qualified for or having a claim to reward, assistance, or positive outcome because of one's actions, qualities, or situation.” Whereas, being worthy is defined as “havingworth, value, or merit; fit or safe for having.”What we discovered was that the way we use “deserving” had more to do with entitlement, whereas “worthiness” comes from a deep place of honouring our essential goodness. We don’t have to do anything to be worthy, we are already worthy, it's our natural state, our birthright.
When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible. Brene Brown
Many people either feel undeserving or the other side of not being in touch with our essential goodness, having a sense of entitlement. These feelings stem from a belief in lack, which leaves us chasing after what we want, rather than opening ourselves to fully and effortlessly receive the abundance that surrounds us. Of course, gratitude and intention are important, but they can also hide and prevent something even more amazing and wonderful from occurring. When we look at deserving and entitlement as a measure of our personal worthiness, it’s easy to understand how we could get to the point of feeling not enough, undeserving or unworthy. The opposite, feeling that we have a right to, or are privileged, is another way of dealing with an egoic feeling of lack.
I suspect that if we dug deeper into our own sense of having and not having we will see that there are wounded places, places that we’ve dissociated from our essential goodness, or you could say from our original goodness. Which of course brings up the question of original sin! This is the cultural idea that we were born with a built-in urge to do bad things, an innate badness. This idea, proposed by St. Augustine, is a very effective way of controlling people and can serve as a justification for committing all kinds of atrocities, like genocide and having people be slaves to catholicism and its doctrines. It is also one of many ways in which we give away our power to authority, which robs us of our innate genius.
You alone are the judge of your worth and your goal is to discover infinite worth in yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks. Deepak Chopra
For many people, what is happening today in the US, is a claiming of autonomy, the freedom from external control or influence. On an individual level, this can be very healthy, but if the individual lacks a sense of self-worth, it can be skewed by unexamined beliefs and assumptions of separation, entitlement, and alienation. This can lead to anarchy, othering, and war. So it becomes important to recognize our deeper interconnection with each other, nature, and all of life. In this way “My autonomy” can be transformed into “Our interconnectedness," a deeper understanding of our universal birthright and recognition of the oneness of all creation.
If we do not do our shadow work, the work of freeing and loving the unaccepted parts of ourselves that have been frozen by past trauma and dissociation, we will suffocate in the breathless air of blame, discontent, and fear. Because to know our own essential goodness and worthiness it to recognize it in everyone else. Our “othering” is a fear response grounded in the belief of disconnection and separation. So ultimately, to fully embrace our individual freedom, autonomy, and essential goodness, we must recognize it in everyone...
You're worthy because you are born and because you are here. Your being here, your being alive makes worthiness your birthright. You alone are enough. Oprah Winfrey
We invite you to meditate and reflect on these words as an inquiry, to question your own unexamined beliefs and assumptions, and to go into the fear that lies at the bottom of the lake of anger, despair, and sadness. There you might just experience how much we and the world are deeply and intimately connected, in one whole and inseparable system.
With infinite love and gratitude for your partnership in calling forth a world that works for all of life…
Michael & the Well of Light Team
Your problem is you're... too busy holding onto your unworthiness. Ram Dass