Monday, September 18, 2017

Hustling for Worthiness

I was watching an online interview by Marie Forleo with beloved sociologist and shame researcher Brené Brown when a phrase she used stopped me cold.
"Hustling for worthiness."
It's nothing new for Brown. She often speaks of "hustling" in a pejorative sense – referencing the ways in which we humiliate ourselves or disrespect ourselves or lie to ourselves.
And I get it. I agree with her. I nod enthusiastically.
But this time, it landed somewhere other than my brain.
This time, it landed smack in the middle of my heart.
Hustling for worthiness.
Oh my god, that's what I've been doing my entire life.
I am hustling for worthiness when I say 'yes' to things that my entire body is screaming 'no' to.
I hustle for worthiness when I worry more about wearing the right outfit than how I am going to pay for that outfit.
I hustle for worthiness when I listen to a friend's woes – ad nauseam – but keep mum about my own problems.
When I overlook someone's unkindness.
When I pretend my life is glossier than it is.
When I polish my exterior because I fear my interior doesn't measure up.
We talk a lot on this site about recognizing that we are "enough". In fact, Still Standing 1 just wrote about it.
And I've come a long way from the woman who wasn't even aware that she never felt "enough". But words hold power. And by being able to attach a label – hustling for worthiness – to that vague yucky feeling when we disrespect ourselves in service of pleasing another, we're far more likely to be able to at least notice what we're doing. And when we notice it, we can begin to change it.
I'm not sure anything pierces our armour like betrayal. No matter how fast we've been dancing to prove to the world that we deserve to be loved, betrayal brings us to our knees.
But that's the best place to rest and notice what we've been doing to ourselves.
We've always deserved to be loved. We don't have to hustle for worthiness.
We never did.
Or, as Brené Brown puts it, "Our worth and our belonging are not negotiated with other people. We carry those inside of our hearts."


  1. This is the first time for me to ever give advise regarding betrayal.
    Three days ago I was out in public and people were around me and I started getting into anger mode. I couldn't scream or hit rocks or anything. So I just pinched my self for a few seconds till the anger went away. I now have a blue bruise on my arm. My advise is take care of yourself. If I exercised that day or did some walking or just some pillow throwing safe at home with some heavy music on maybe I wouldn't have hurt My self. We have to take good care of ourselves. Make sure you workout before your kids come home (If you have kids). Sit with yourself and feel. Elle said this many times but I guess on that day I just forgot.

    1. Emma,
      Sounds as if you learned something important the other day. And thank-you for passing that lesson on to the rest of us. When we put ourselves last on the list, we pay a price.

  2. OMG this today! I love how Brene gives us simple, distilled and understandable labels for things. And noticing. When we notice, when we can label what we are doing (to ourselves) then we can maybe do something differently next time. I've been hustling for worthiness for a long time, I'm rumbling with that so much in my own life right now ("is choosing my own happiness right now even OK?" rather than putting everyone else at the center of the story and doing what "fixes" this situation for everyone else. But does it fix it for me?). So instead of pretending that I am on top of all of my shit, I'm allowing myself to not know what the hell I am doing. I'm trying not to beat myself up for feeling like I did nothing but talk about myself at dinner with my friend the other night. Because its probably fine and I probably didn't.
    I'm so much better at not hustling, than I was, but there's still room to grow. And honestly,I am loving the process, I'm loving the discovery, I love the feeling that I am learning new things and that there is no destination, no end to the learning I can do as long as I live and breathe. So excited to get my nose in Brene's new book.

  3. Yep I paid the price on Saturday! I'm finally getting myself back on my feet but it's been a crazy weekend that topped off the longest emotional week I've had in a long time! Was rough but I feel better today!

  4. I work in a high end women's retail store where we are judged by our sales per hour, how many appointments we make to bring in traffic to the store, how many emails and phone calls we make to customer letting them know about the promotions being advertised and I realized the other day that I don't want this anymore. Granted this job was a lifesaver for me and gave me my self esteem back and my worthiness. I became stronger because of this job and what I felt like I was accomplishing. Before DDay I had been suffering from perimenopausal depression for about 3 years. I finally had gotten help when my granddaughter was born 3 years ago. I felt great for a year until I worked at this restaurant and it almost destroyed my life and my family. It took me a year to feel any of the pain from it other then anger. I was taking care of my husband and daughter through their mental illness and didn't have time for me. When my mental wellness broke again a year ago and I thought that I was never going to come out of this despair I found walking and journaling, this blog and this job to be the key to helping me. I had found that helping other women feel good about themselves gave me joy and I found gratitude in going in every day and doing the best I could. This feeling is going away now that I feel like I'm just a number and instead of falling into despair again I feel empowered to go after something better.

    A couple of weeks ago I got an email from the OW. It was 2 years to the day that my husband tried to end his life. Well in this email she took a shot at my age among other things. I'm going on 55 and she is 37. She called me an old hag and that I should start dressing my age. I don't know how she know's what I look like now but I can guess where she got it from and it wasn't my facebook page because I have pictures of me hiking on there with my husband. But that email gave me pain at first and then it made me laugh when I realized that she was jealous of me. Since working at that restaurant and going through dday I have lost some weight. I was never fat per say but had some extra weight on me I couldn't get rid of. Between working there and DDay I have lost probably 10-15 pounds and have kept it off. I look healthy and happy and 10 years younger then I am. This woman looks older then me, she's heavy and she looks like a total mess. Mentally and physically. I was so grateful that wasn't me looking like that. It must be hard for her to look at herself in the mirror everyday. Starting over in a new state and trying to make new friends hasn't been easy but it's a hell of a lot easier then beating myself up for something I had no control over and I think too that was key in helping understand what happened. One thing I know now is that I will never allow anyone or any situation have the effect on me like my husbands affair has, it's just not worth it. I'm sure there will be other things that will happen in my life that will be bad but I will find a better way of dealing with it. I feel picking the battles I want deal with is far better for my mental health and physical being then worrying about what the OW and anyone has else has to say about me.

  5. Oh this is me to a frickin T. Everything that I do in life has been for others. I am not complaining. That is just who I am... I have 2 sets of twins. My oldest boys were just shy of 2, when my 2nd set boy/girl were born. So FOUR under TWO. IT. WAS. HARD. My husband worked a specific line of work that required vigilance etc so I literally was the only one to get up in the middle of the night to nurse etc.. I also went back to work full time, working opposite shifts etc. Now I was not a perfect wife. BUT it was obvious that I put my family before myself in everything that I did. My husband was/is a fantastic father. Husband not so much. It didn't matter if I was hugely prego or dead tired after the long day, I made sure that he was taken care of. He made me feel guilty if I wanted to sleep instead of waiting for him to get home from work at 11 pm (when I knew babies would be waking up to feed in less than 2 hours).. Fast forward 10 years.. times are difficult, had to deal with job losses a couple of years ago, had to deal with H's depression that he refuses to seek help on, etc etc.. About this time last yr I get a private message from the OW saying she wants my husband to leave her alone, that they had a "friendship" but he wanted more etc and she respects my marriage yada yada... It was on the kids first day of school.. I confronted him, flew into a rage, accused him etc. HE LIED and said he barely knew her, she must be crazy... I chose to believe him then in december I decided I had enough of wondering and messaged the OW back to provide proof. and she sent me screenshots of their conversations... HEARTBREAKING.. My world was rocked to its very core... He didn't physically cheat (sex) but he went to return something to the store and stopped at her house, tried to kiss her and she pushed him away and that started the end of their "relationship".. He apparently had confided in her etc, he tried make plans to meet up with her, which she apparently stood him up etc... Why does it feel like if she had pursued him, that I feel like I could comprehend this happening? HE PURSUED HER. vigilantly.. It was right before Christmas..I kicked him out for the weekend but let him come back and sleep on the couch.. He begged for forgiveness... I let him come back to our bed on chrstmas eve becuase I didn't want kids to find him on the couch... We didn't become intimate until end of feb.. I still struggle with that.. I feel stuck.. We were moving forward towards forgiveness then I found naked pics he was googling.. I don't get it.. I gave him all of me, asking basically nothing in return and this is what I get? How do I forgive him?? I ALWAYS told myself that once a cheater always a cheater. And yet here I still am. I really believe that I only stayed for the kids, at least in the beginning.. I feel like I am here out of obligation mostly. I am good at faking happy when I am not.. Not saying that I am not ever happy.. I am.. It just hits me out of nowhere still.. I see their convos in my head. VIVIDLY.. He was actually messaging HER while we were on our anniversary date..WTF... We have been married 13 years.. Now I feel like our wedding date is tainted. UGH.. :( I think its getting to the point that he isn't being quite as understanding... I feel like I am behaving normal in consideration of everything.. But at times I am afraid he thinks well I didn't actually screw her.. But I am scared to death its only because SHE ended it.. not him... its the never knowing is what is slowly killing me...

    1. Twins twice
      Omg! I can so relate to him being 'the pursuer'! His cow made sure that I knew about that but here's the thing about that truth. He admitted that he was pursuing her in the beginning of the affair but that changed for him once the novelty of the rush of the affair had passed for him. Bless his heart he was sick of her before she blew up my world with their truth, but was still able to take her on a business trip for one more night of passionate sex! I remember asking him during the discussion about that trip and my question was you can have sex with someone you don't love? His answer was yes and that just blew my mind! It made me question that he could be the same way with me. However, his actions since then have led me to believe that he loves me he is just not able to put the emotions he feels in words. We are a work in progress!

    2. Twins twice,

      All I can say is honestly none of it will ever make sense to me. What my husband was capable of doing and did and for 10 years is beyond me. I do know he told himself whatever he had to in order to make himself be able to get through each day of all of his lies and poor behavior. I am 2 1/2 years out and there are hard moments. I have and we have worked through a lot. When I think of any of it I get sick still. My husband was having two affairs at the same time. Both sporadic. Both were sexual but he claimed to not care about either. He broke it off with both 15 months before dday. They pursued him. In the end I realized for me none of the actual details mattered since it was all horrible whether they slept together, had emotional affairs... it all hurts. And sure I told myself at least my husband did not love them, want to be with them, had two affairs at the same time so how much could they mean to him, broke up with them way before dday.

      My advice is to work through this. Focus on yourself and what you need. Get a therapist, and if your husband won't go at least go for yourself. We set up one time a week to talk about the affairs and our relationship. This way it was a time when the kids were not home, we did not focus on it all the time (even I did not want to focus on it daily), we were both prepared when we did talk, on the other days we still spent time together but it was good since it did not just focus on the affairs etc. Daily I would write in a journal. This was helpful. Some days I wrote a lot other days it would be words or questions. Before our weekly talk I would look back at my notes for the week and see patterns. This helped me focus on what I wanted to talk about. We have been through many phases and too much to write here since dday. Early on it was all about me getting better but then was when my husband started to focus on him. I thought he must be fine he decided to do this and broke it off with these women. But I was wrong. It was a long path for him. And I have told him more than once that even if he never cheats I expect more and I want the highest quality marriage I can have. I am not settling. He has come so far and his goal is to live an authentic and transparent life. So far so good. He says he has never been happier. He can go to sleep each night knowing he has nothing to hide. He says he took our marriage to the brink of destruction but there is something satisfying about us working together. We are closer than ever. Not perfect at all we both have moments but it has been worth the work.

    3. Twins Twice,
      If there is ONE THING you get from my response here it's this: You're asking the wrong questions. His cheating (emotional pursuing physical) isn't about you at all. I know it sounds crazy but he didn't pursue this woman because you did or did not provide enough sex, or enough variety, or give him enough time to sleep, or any of the zillion of other things you're wondering. He cheated because he's broken inside. He cheated because he thought he could. He cheated because it was easier to distract himself with another shiny object than it was to seek treatment for his depression.
      And there's the rub. A lot of guys (most??) use cheating as a form of self-medication. It's a way to avoid the messy feelings of life -- the fear, the loneliness, the sense of mortality, the disappointment, the "is this all there is", the sadness. Far easier to focus on someone who, we think, will make us feel better, will make us feel exciting and new and interesting.
      And that's what he needs to understand in order to ensure he doesn't go down this road again. He needs to get to the root of just what the hell he was thinking (or not!) when he risked everything that mattered to him for some girl who could take him or leave him. She didn't matter. What she represented (escape from monotony/depression) did.
      So...if I were you, I would insist that he seek treatment for his depression and therapy to address the affair. I'd let him do that on his own.
      And I would urge you to read this site or any of the books about affairs that will help you understand that, as crazy as it sounds, you and the kids are just collateral damage. He didn't cheat to hurt you. He cheated because he's hurting. THIS IN NO WAY EXCUSES WHAT HE DID. I'm not at all saying you have to be all understanding and "poor baby" about what he did. He cheated on you. That's horrible.
      But it is to help you stop looking at yourself for the reason why he cheated. It wasn't about you.

    4. Twins Twice - Your story breaks my heart because I felt the same way. What I did all this and it didn't matter? Elle is right, he needs to own his shit and be accountable. He sounds like a type of bully getting angry at you? Are you kidding me? He doesn't get to be angry at you which just makes you doubt and feel worse. You did nothing wrong to deserve this. This is his problem alone. When you received the text and found out for sure your husband was still trying to see her I know it felt like another D day. Twins Twice - you don't need to go back to the way it was, your not going that way. No wonder you are stuck and still in a state of confusion because you were lied to multiple times and then get no real answers to your question of "why". Your brain is in a trauma state. No kidding. Are you faking it out of fear? Fear of being alone? Fear of financial circumstances? Fear of losing him? Fear of abandonment? These were all my fears. What is HE doing to deserve a second chance with you? You are worth it and more. My daughter has twins and I watched them for an afternoon and was totally exhausted just from an afternoon with two 9 months old boys. You need some help with those kids. You need a few hours once a week to be by yourself. Find yourself again. Do something for yourself. Nobody has a job where he has to be THAT vigilant 24/7. He had enough time for the OW. Don't take that BS from him. Even if you have to leave the house for a walk, just walk out the door when he is at home and say - I"m going for a walk be back in 30 minutes. There sounds like there is so much he hasn't communicated to you about himself which is why you are stuck. Love and hugs to you.

    5. Thank you ladies for all your comments. I appreciate more than you will ever know. <3



Related Posts with Thumbnails