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The following is an excerpt from the book Let Your Goddess Grow!:
7 Spiritual Lessons on Female Power and Positive Thinking
by Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D.
Published by The Goddess Network Press; May 2005; $19.95US/$24.95CAN; 0-9766012-0-6
Copyright © 2005 Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D.

What Is Self-Worth?

Self-worth has its entire foundation in self-love, which is really how you feel about being an individual spark of the Divine. If you cannot generate a love of your God-self, you’ll never be able to feel worthy, and no amount of blaming past circumstances, people, or policy will fix it. Patching up our psyches -- in the form of liposuction, exercise, blaming our parents or the weather -- is only a way we choose to avoid self-love. Substitutes for self-love, such as poor relationships, overwork, overweight, and a host of other daytime talk-show ailments, are more ways we avoid loving ourselves. We get hung up on the external circumstances. But our soul journey always includes obstacles to rediscovering our own self-worth in order to make us appreciate our God-self with greater passion.

Without self-love, you have not placed any value upon your worth as an individual spark of divine power. You haven’t recognized that your power is already within you. Your true self is your spirit-power, unlimited and uncontained. When you know this, you’ll be filled with your own sense of potential and will rise every day with a feeling of self-worth and purpose.

Every woman or girl needs to be told she is absolutely gorgeous, from the inside out. We need to welcome our periods, celebrate our hips and breasts, dance our emotions without any guilt or embarrassment, and be encouraged to rely upon our own decision-making power. All messages we receive in our families as children, whether or not they are integrated in a spiritual support system, contribute to our feelings of self-worth as adults. They often come from automatic programs we have running in our heads, with far-reaching effects. It’s complicated because our society highly values physical beauty. As children, we rely upon those around us for instruction on how to build self-confidence in our physical image first, because it’s tangible.

When families don’t celebrate the female gender through rites of passage, girls in their formative years cannot step into valuable, self-defining, community-serving leadership roles. They need to know that their place in the world is validated by a higher power. And when powerful female imagery is not valued in society, women can’t achieve their potential. Without these two basic elements in society’s support system, females will settle for things they don’t want. They develop a dependency on outside approval that permeates relationships from marriage to the workplace.

Why don’t women feel worthy? Sometimes the pains of inadequacy are lesions left over from old family values. I talk to many women who feel they still give away their power to outdated ideas or people; they are still imprisoned by the need for approval from male authority figures, even when common sense tells them to rely upon their own intuition and wisdom. If women’s home cultures included men who had the ultimate say-so, they still carry well-concealed pangs of self-doubt about their capabilities and what they deserve.

Although we hate to admit it, the stain of many creation myths gave us a head start on self-doubt and apologizing for who we are. Nothing is more absurd than holy doctrines that have sold the masses on the concept of woman being far less divine than man by way of her “responsibility” for the sufferings of humanity. Because of this, many women still believe they should rightfully be dominated by wiser men. But all humans were created in the image of both their creators, the ultimate power source.

Statements carefully designed to devalue women and cited by our elders or taught in churches, schools, synagogues, or homes did influence our self-worth as women, if they were translated into family values and behaviors that required us to acquiesce to survive. If Dad was not to be questioned, and Mom went along with the program, we learned silence at an early age. We denied our creativity or had short-sighted visions of what we could accomplish. It was unspoken acceptance of our own inadequacy as women. If our mothers were incapable of defining themselves as independent thinkers and doers who could champion positive contributions that females made to the world, girls were left to navigate through years of subliminal messages of non-deserving, carried well into adulthood.

Copyright © 2005 Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D.

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