THE BLOG
10/04/2010 06:22 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

What Are You Basing Your Worth On?

I was at dinner last night, and gave the waiter my card to pay for us. He came back with that look. We all know that look... half feeling sorry for you, half looking at you shamefully. It had been declined. I sat there and waited for all of my feelings of worthlessness, devastation, depression, failure, fear, and hopeless to just come up from my stomach like a wave and devour me. I waited. No wave. Waited longer, sure that all of these feelings of self-hatred, self-doubt, embarrassment, and shame were like water on a stove, slowly coming to a boil, and then going to explode all at once.... hmm. Nothing. No feelings to make me feel bad about myself. Hm. Where were they? Maybe they were hiding. Because surely if my card is declined, it must mean that I am a failure, and pretty worthless, mustn't it? It means that I have to be embarrassed and ashamed, doesn't it? So where were these feelings and thoughts which for all the years of my life have lived so inside of my body and my mind that they could usually come up as easily and naturally as breath?

After a few minutes of nothing coming up, I observed that I was feeling very calm, grounded and centered. I somehow knew, inherently, that a card being declined cannot, and does not, take away from a person's true value and worth. I knew that I would do whatever I needed to do to remedy the situation of my card and my finances. I knew that I am a capable woman and will do what I need to change the situation I'm in. That's it. Easy. On to the next. I realized that I had, somewhere recently along the way, made a switch in my beliefs. I have just chosen to know that my worth as a person has nothing to do with anything external, or my material worth, wealth, or possessions. It has nothing to do with what other people may say or think of me. It has only to do with my knowing, that no matter what, I am doing all that I can to live my purpose. And I'm doing that. So the external factors are only things that come up for me to deal with. And I have the certainty that when things come up, I can deal with them, take care of what I need to take care of, and move forward. So can you - instead of spiraling into stress, fear, and anxiety, just take a breath and say to yourself - "I can take care of this. I can deal with this. Maybe right now I don't even know how exactly I'm going to take care of it, but I know I will. I will figure it out."

It's a rough time right now, everywhere. But Los Angeles is always particularly rough, where it seems like the people you know, the clothes you wear, the job you have, the place you live, and the car you drive declare and describe your value. This is just not true. Look inside to find your true value. Sure, it is nice to have nice things. But they don't define you. Whether or not you feel good about yourself is not dependent on having "things." Look inside yourself and ask yourself if you are dedicated to living your purpose, and if you are doing what it takes to live your purpose. Ask yourself if you are doing all you can to treat others well and treat yourself well. Look for confidence and approval in your own heart and mind only, remembering that whatever factors may come up around you, or that whatever anyone else thinks or says about you makes no difference.