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."