One of the biggest things that can hold you back in life and love is not knowing your worth.
Your worth is constant. It doesn’t rise and fall based on what other people think of you. It doesn’t rise and fall based on your successes and failures. It is inherent in who you are, and it is the equal of anyone’s.
But for so many of us, our feelings of worth DO rise and fall.
They rise and fall based on social approval.
Specifically, male approval.
For example, if a woman gives you a compliment, you’re like, “That’s nice.” But when a man gives you a compliment, that really means something!
It Just Feels SO Good
Of all the kinds of approval you can get—approval on the job, approval on social media, approval from your friends—nothing feels quite as good as male approval.
When a man looks at you in that special way, and flirts with you, and acts incredibly attracted to you, you feel on top of the world.
You feel like your entire essence is being affirmed. The spotlight is shining on you and lighting you up from tip to toe.
When a man looks at you and very much likes what he sees, you believe in yourself even if you’re normally full of doubts. You feel like you can do anything. It’s like eating a slice of cake and downing a Red Bull. It’s amaaaazing.
No wonder you want it!
Every woman wants a man to look at her in THAT way.
You want his masculine affirmation of your feminine essence. You want to forget everything except the delight that dances in his eyes when he looks at you.
The Dark Side of His Approval
That’s why we find out what men like, so we can give it to them.
We learn what men find attractive, so we can make ourselves into the kind of woman who’s looked at in that way by men.
We admire women who are showered with male attention and approval. We want what they have.
But what we don’t realize is that this is also a fatal flaw.
When our sense of worth depends on how men see us, we are vulnerable to manipulation.
It’s very easy for a man to give you attention and compliments, and then see how you react when he withdraws. He can see how hard you’re working to please him. He can see how much you want him to like you.
Men treat women differently when they can see that these women desire their approval. They respect these women less. They don’t treat them with as much care and thoughtfulness.
That’s why I believe one of the best things you can do for yourself is to know your worth.
Know your worth independent of social approval.
Know your worth even if no one approves of who you are and what you do.
That way, if a man offers you attention and admiration in exchange for you giving some of your power away, you’ll know it’s a poor offer.
A relationship where you aren’t treated with respect and kindness and dignity isn’t worth it, no matter how good his attention makes you feel.
Here are 3 ways you can stay grounded in your worth as you search for love.
1. Know Your Worth as a Woman
If you’re like anything like me, you were raised in a cultural narrative that told you that the purpose of a woman was to be in relationship with men.
Your worth was linked with your desirability. If a man hadn’t chosen you to be his partner for life yet, you hadn’t fulfilled your purpose.
Society is ever-so-slowly changing, but there are still many of us who carry that belief even though we know, consciously, that we’re worthy regardless of whether we’re partnered or not.
So the first way to ground yourself in your worth is to get clear on your answer to this incredibly important question:
What is the purpose of a woman?”
You were born into a female body for this lifetime. What does that mean?
I have a lot of conversations about that topic these days, as the parent of a daughter. We talk about how boys and girls are different. We talk about what it means to be a girl.
Our conversations sound very different from the conversations I might have had 20 years ago or 30 years ago.
When I was a teenager, my family culture taught me that my purpose was to “get married and have babies.” Yes, I was supposed to go to college, but only because college was the perfect place to meet a high-quality husband, and it would give me a career to fall back on in that short window of time between graduating and starting a family.
When I went to college, though, my teachers and mentors taught me that life was big. There was so much you could do. It didn’t matter whether you were a female student or a male student. Opportunities were open to everyone.
I learned to ask bigger questions, like whether women had unique gifts to share with the world, because of the way we view the world and the way we make moral decisions.
You’ve had your own journey of understanding what it means to be a woman. How you’ve chosen to answer to that question—what is the purpose of a woman?—will shape your life in lasting ways.
2. Know You Have a Mission
The second question you should be asking yourself is:
What were you put here on this earth to do?”
What’s your destiny? Why were you born in this place at this time? Why do you have the talents and gifts and experiences you have?
As a parent, I teach my daughter that we all come down to earth with a mission. There’s something we want to accomplish during our time on earth, some lesson we want to learn or some positive impact we want to make. But there’s a catch: we’ve forgotten what it is.
We have to become detectives in our own life, following the clues to figure out why we’re here and what we’re meant to do.
When you can trust that you are here in this life for a reason, even if you don’t know what that reason is, you’re not as susceptible to following the tide of popular opinion.
You’ve got an agreement with your own soul, and it takes precedence over what other people think you should do.
3. Know Your Life’s Worth
The final question to ask yourself is:
What’s the story you’re telling yourself about your life?”
If you believe that the purpose of a woman is to get married and have babies, then you will tell the story of your life differently than if you believe that your purpose is to follow the calling of your soul.
Be careful when it comes to other people’s stories about your life. Some folks will try to tell you that single women are a failure because no man wants them, and they’ll grow old alone in a tiny apartment with hundreds of cats.
That’s such a silly story. It displays a caricatured view of what women are for. The idea that women are just waiting to be picked by men, and that they’re worthless if they haven’t been chosen, is pretty medieval.
For me, a good way to tell the story of yourself is to tell the story of how you’ve remained true to you.
Yes, you’ve been in relationships that haven’t worked out, but thank goodness! Because those relationships couldn’t ultimately support your wellbeing and growth as a person.
Now you’ve got all this life experience, and you know how to love and be loved, and you’re discerning in the people who you allow into your life.
Your life is a success, because you keep making choices that move you forward, and your existence makes the world a better place.
However you tell the story of you, I hope you see it as a hero’s journey. One where you’ve faced obstacles and overcome them…
Where you’ve gone off the beaten path and stumbled but ultimately learned…
Where you lost social approval but found your own truth.
And I hope your story ultimately includes a partner in crime, 🙂 a man who holds your hand and walks side by side with you into the light.
If you would like to learn more about how to attract love in a way that keeps you grounded and centered in your own truth, then I’d love to share with you my book The Pleasure Principle.
I created it because I was sick and tired of attraction advice centered on what men want. Where was the advice centered on what women want? Don’t we deserve to experience love that pleases us, rather than focusing on pleasing men?