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  • Writer's pictureKathie Scalf

Knowing Your Worth

I was recently talking with a friend who is going through some relationship issues; matters of which I tend to tread lightly.  As they divulged some of the details of their discord, I found myself repeatedly stating, “you know you’re WORTH more than this.”  The more I reiterated this short statement, the more they kept excusing and defending the other person’s behavior, and I suddenly realized that my friend did not in fact know they were worth more than what they were getting.  And worst of all, I saw in them the same behavior I myself have routinely exhibited.  One of the most underrated skillsets as a human being is being able to find - and subsequently KNOW - your worth.  Whether it’s in regards to relationships, job salaries, or simply personal standards, how does one “set their going rate?”

The worth of an item is only determined by the value assigned to it.  I’ve never really thought about why items cost what they cost, but as I’m writing this article I began considering why it is that 2 purses can have the exact same functionality, style, size, and features, but will cost $9.99 at Walmart and $3,799 at Gucci; more importantly, why is one so much more highly coveted?  That is because someone, whether it’s the designer, the media, or the consumer, have decided that the word ‘Gucci’ carries more value than ‘Walmart.’  Knowing that it truly is that simple, that you only must believe with your mind that something is valuable to make it so, why don’t we do the same thing to ourselves?  

People will put themselves through incredible agonies because they don’t see the value they add to the world.  I’m speaking from experience on this matter as someone who struggles a great deal with imposter syndrome every single day.  I never really knew what that phrase meant; I assumed it meant you were someone who constantly tried to “fake it til you make it” and were a con or something.  It’s not that at all, and in the simplest definition, ‘imposter syndrome’ means you never feel like you deserve good things when you get them, that you’re a fraud for receiving them, or you’re not worthy.  A lot of my issues stem from growing up in the way I did and how that impacted the core person I am today; for that reason I don’t think I’ll ever fully conquer those demons. 

While I grew up thankfully with two amazing, loving parents who did the best they could and worked hard to ensure I never wanted for a thing, financially I had less assets than my friends.  I lived in a trailer; the first 6 years of my life in a trailer park, the rest on 3 acres of land in the country until I moved out to my own apartment.  My parents held down multiple blue collar jobs to keep us going, but there were times I definitely remember payday hitting on Friday and having $20 left on Monday that would last the rest of the week.  I feel like I’ve lived my life in survival mode, from paycheck-to-paycheck, navigating catastrophes as they arise and never fully feeling like I’m able to get ahead.  I struggle with seeing the progress I’ve made, whether it’s in my career or health or whatever because I don’t know how to feel comfortable with or worthy of the wins; it’s a mindset of scarcity, that the promotion, the weight loss, the move was a fluke and shouldn’t have happened to me so I don’t need to get too comfortable enjoying it because it won’t last.  

There are times I look around the room when I’m eating in nice restaurants or walking around my neighborhood and think, “this isn’t my life.  I’m that girl in the trailer and I’m going to wake up and none of this is real.”  Or when I’m doing a private presentation to a group of high end clients in one of their multi-million dollar homes and they’re all listening to what I have to say, I feel like a fraud, like they’re all staring at me and they know I don’t belong there.  This same inner voice is what has led me to accept less in relationships, to pursue people who were less attractive, less successful, had smaller goals and ambitions than I wanted, simply because I felt someone of a higher caliber would see right through me and not want me, so why try?  It’s the same voice that silenced me into accepting first offers on salaries without negotiation, because I never believed I was smart enough or added enough value to the company to deserve more.  

Navigating the last few years on my own has helped me begin to see my own worth and enforce it.  On a personal level most recently by valuing my health as my most precious asset and treating it as such.  I’m worthy of nourishing foods and clean ingredients versus boxed cheap crap full of toxins and chemicals.  I’m worthy of fresh air and exercising my body and enjoying every inch of freedom and mobility it affords me.  After back-to-back life altering heartbreaks, I’ve stayed single since 2018, refusing to allow another human being that much control over my life again and knowing I’m worth more than being lied to, lied about, and deserve someone who will treat me at LEAST as good as I treat myself because it’s not asking too much.  I’ve put the work into building my career, learning as much as I can and becoming as much of an asset to the workforce as possible so when I climb those rungs on the ladder I have ammo for salary negotiations.  I know now that my work ethic is stronger than most, that I always rise to meet a challenge and that I deserve every penny I earn because I worked hard for it.  

People can subconsciously see the value you’ve assigned to yourself.  It’s the way you speak, the way you carry yourself, the things you accept; all those things are how you “set your going rate.”  People will treat you with the same respect you treat yourself, so you must believe you’re a very rare, high-dollar item.  Think of yourself as that one-of-a-kind Gucci bag and not the Walmart purse that’s been produced for mass consumption at the lowest dollar.  Make a physical list of all your wins, the things you’ve done that were no small feat and review them regularly.  It truly is as simple as believing you deserve these things to make other people start to see it too.  



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