Pony Express 5k

Pony Express 5k
My first race ever!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Developing Personal Worth

Today I had the opportunity to teach a class on Developing Personal Worth for the ladies at my church.  When asked, I felt very unqualified, but accepted anyway.  I was surprised by the number of women who approached me after and said they had similar struggles.  When you are in your own personal hole, you feel so alone and assume that everyone else has it together.  

After, I was asked to write up a summary that could be given to those unable to attend. an extension of that, I'm blogging my notes on the class.  Maybe it will help someone else.  I am LDS and some terms and literature I reference may be unfamiliar.  I linked them to our church's website so you can read the scriptures and understand the terminology.

Developing Personal Worth
We are constantly assaulted by images defining our worth.  Worth based on our size, fitness, hair style, trendy clothing, the height of our heels and the flash of our bling.    

The latest fashion magazine updates us every month on what we need to do to feel good about ourselves.  And each month we are left feeling empty as we continue to be unable to meet these ever changing standards of style and perfection.  The lack of satisfaction tells us we did something wrong and we must try again, we didn’t get the right cut of jeans or our hair style needs to be updated.   

What lies have you told yourself in the pursuit of these ideals?  That you aren’t thin enough?  Pretty enough?  Why do we continue to look for validation from a source that can never satisfy?  

 As we look for worth in ourselves, we need to have a standard that isn’t fleeting.  What if we look for validation in our relationships with our family, our Savior and ourselves?  
      There came a point in my life that I was at a crossroads.  My life through no conscious choice of my own was going to change.  I could not continue to float on my current path.  I could ignore the signs and spiral down or take control, find sure footing and have a life that I was proud to live.
      Now several years past that defining moment, I have reflected and identified 9 key points to developing a sense of worth in my life. 
1.   Know who you are.  This is critical.  It is the point on which all others are built.  Without a sure knowledge of your divine origins, the author of all lies can find cracks in our lives and gain hold.  Moses 1:4&6 teaches us that God knows us personally.  D&C 18:10 assures us we have worth in his eyes.  D&C 76:23-24 confirms that we are daughters of our Heavenly Father.  And Helaman 5:12 counsels us to build our foundation on Christ who is our Redeemer.
2.  Live with purpose.  Have you ever floated through a day and wondered where it went?  Hours go by as we play on Facebook, mindlessly watch a show or halfway get chores done.  We are all granted 24 hours in a day.  With goals and a plan to achieve them, we can feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day.
3.  Be grateful.  In the LDS General Conference, President Dieter F Uchtdorf recounted the story of the Willy Wonka and the Golden Tickets.  Before the Golden Tickets, people loved their simple candy bars, but now were utterly disappointed when they unwrapped the bar to find no Golden Ticket.  They forgot to enjoy what they have and only saw what they didn’t.  As we practice an Attitude of Gratitude, we become more aware of blessings in our lives.
4.  Serve others.  As we serve others, our focus on our own troubles diminishes and we gain confidence in our abilities.  In Relief Society on Sunday, the lesson was about the parable of the talents.  The teacher asked us to share a talent we have.  Out of the whole group, only a couple women spoke up about something they do well.  Why?  Why are we so shy about our abilities?  Because someone else is better?  Because we are afraid to fail?  Why?  The Lord doesn’t need us to be the best, he just needs us to do it.  You don’t have to be a concert pianist to play children’s songs in Primary.  It is Satan who wants us to believe we are not good enough to serve another.  
5.  Love Freely.  Why do we hold back?  I think sometimes we fear pain and rejection from extending ourselves.  Love is a funny thing.  The more you give, the more you have.  When you withhold it, love diminishes.  Everyone has that one friend who always leaves you feeling better than she found you.  The one who genuinely compliments you and builds your confidence.  Be that friend.  Give your love to your spouse, your children, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors.  
6.  Improve yourself.  I think we should always be learning and growing.  With the internet it is so easy to find free education.  Whether it’s crocheting tutorials on youtube or a cooking blog there is an abundance of information available.  Some colleges even post videos of classes online free.  You may not get the certificate, but you can get the knowledge!  Try new things, have new experiences.  The more you gain the more you can give.
7.  Live clean.  Being clean inside and out instills a sense of well being and self worth.  It applies to every aspect of our lives:  Moral cleanliness, modesty, the Word of Wisdom, physical cleanliness, our homes.  When we sweep away the cobwebs and light the dark places in our lives, we can live with more confidence.  Maybe it sounds silly, but I feel better every day when I have clean laundry to wear and clean dishes to eat off.  The same is true for an emotional cleansing.  Living a pure and honest life leaves you free from fear and with personal value.
8.  Fill your lamp.  In the parable of the Ten Virgins, five were left outside the door because they were unprepared.  Are you prepared for the challenges of your life?  Are you ready to counsel your children in their times of need?  When we read and study our scriptures, listen to the words of our living Prophet and pray constantly, the Lord can recall those things to your minds that you need.  The lamp cannot be filled all at once.  It is drop by drop as we daily learn, increase our faith and build our knowledge that we fill our lamp and keep it lit for us and those around us.
9.  Look to examples.  We all have strong people in our lives that we admire.  There are heroes in the scriptures to pattern our lives after.  Study their lives and character and find strength knowing that someone has gone where you wish to go.  Each of my children is named for two people.  One from the scriptures and one in their family.  Two strong examples for them to pattern their lives after.  My Joshua has a special connection to his namesake.  One day while reading The New Era, Joshua 1:9 was referenced.  My Joshua was born on 1/9.  So he claimed it as his personal scripture and now uses this counsel to guide his life.  
Our Heavenly Father desires for us to be happy.  He wants us to know of our infinite worth.  Only then can we fulfill our purpose.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson

You are a child of God, what will you do now?