Thoughts on stress and self-worth

I've noticed something very interesting recently. After becoming pregnant, I went from full time school to part time school, cutting my hours in half. I raised my rates in my business and started taking fewer clients. We're financially stable, have a great house, and I'm happier than I could ever remember.

In other words, things are really, really good.

And yet, for whatever reason, there's still a buzz of low-grade stress in my system.

Last night, talking with my husband, he mentioned that perhaps I was feeling stressed because I felt I wasn't working hard enough to enjoy the things I'm enjoying right now.

Boom. He hit the nail on the head.

I remember when I was 13 years old. I put together my 4 year plan to get into Yale. And I did.

As a junior in college, I put together a plan to get into the top PhD program for Italian Literature. And I did.

And then working at Google, I got promotion after promotion after promotion. Until I literally couldn't walk anymore.

In my mind, I felt like I deserved these successes, not because I was inherently worthy. But because I worked hard.


Why is this? Why, as women, do we feel the need to constantly be working in order to receive our birthright as humans: a healthy, happy life filled with great relationships and meaningful work?

Perhaps it is "Protestant work ethic." Perhaps it is societal conditioning. A lot of it has to do with self worth, and continuously opening to receive.

The more work I do on self-worth, the more I see how self-worth and especially guilt are holding myself and other women back. And even when we heal specific layers, and think we're "done," something else emerges. And we still find ourselves cycling deeper and deeper and deeper.

So now it is my turn to cycle deeper some more.

As a soon-to-be parent, I'm thinking about how I can teach my son that he's worthy to receive, just because he's human.

Because as teachers, we teach what we need to learn.