Every time you show up inauthentically, or as your representative, or as the person you think will make other people happy, you tell yourself you’re unworthy as your true self. 

-Jamie Kern Lima (Worthy)

picture of sign saying you are worthy of love

Like many of my recent posts, this one is repurposed from my weekly newsletter. The theme of that newsletter was “transparency, authenticity, and openness…and worthiness,” and this post is a tidied up portion of it.

Side note: If you like this post and would like to receive this kind of content via email, you can subscribe to my weekly newsletter here.

Theme: Transparency, authenticity, and openness…and worthiness

I had a connection call with a sister last week – who quickly became a client! – and she told me that one of the things that led her to want to work with me was my transparency.

I spent some time reflecting on this, and the result is this week’s theme.

During my Wayfinder life coach training, I learned a lot of acronyms that seem to exist solely within Martha Beck’s posse of followers. Perhaps the most frequently used one is TAO, which stands for:

Transparency, authenticity, and openness.

[Alternatively, we’d say “transparent, authentic, and open”.]

And, it’s no coincidence that TAO looks like an all-caps version of Tao…as in the Tao Te Ching (which happens to be one of Martha’s favorite books). “Tao” is often translated as “the way” or “the path” – which I’d argue is an apt (albeit partial) description of TAO.

Anyway, when we engage with others authentically, when we’re transparent about both our intentions and the way we operate, and when we’re open to life as it presents itself to us, people know we’re the real deal. Trust ensues, a willingness to reciprocate this vulnerability increases, and our relationships grow richer as a result.

When we’re TAO, we’re showing others – and ourselves! – who we truly are. We aren’t hiding behind a mask.

A few days ago, I started reading Worthy [not an affiliate link], by Jamie Kern Lima. As I did, it occurred to me that perhaps I’m so transparent, authentic, and open because I feel worthy. But then again, maybe I feel worthy because I allow myself to be so transparent, authentic, and open.

I feel worthy to be seen for who I truly am.

My self-worth is no longer dependent on what I have or haven’t achieved (thankfully!) or whether others validate either me or my choices.

This wasn’t always the case. A few weeks ago, I shared that I nearly died by suicide in 1996. If there ever was a period of my life where I felt unworthy, it was then. I am so grateful that’s no longer my story, but it took a very long time to get to where I’m at now.

And, it took Wayfinding.

When I say Wayfinding, I’m not only referring to coaching (although that’s been a part of my journey). I’m referring to living in integrity with my true nature, and so much of living in integrity with my true nature – of being on “the path” (Tao) – has involved being TAO. 

It’s these things that have ultimately paved the way for me to feel wildly alive, purpose-driven, and *drumroll* worthy.

I’ve been writing about integrity a lot lately and for good reason: it’s the single most important thing I’ve done to radically change my life.

The more I began living in integrity with my true nature, the more transparent, authentic, and open I became. And the more transparent, authentic, and open I became, the more my self-worth blossomed.

Being TAO and getting to the point where I know that I’m worthy has truly transformed my life in ways both large and small.

Here’s a small (and yet not small) example.

Recently, I found myself doing something I never in a million years dreamt I’d do. I started sharing with Bob (my partner of 5 1/2 years) a wee bit about my finances. It began with me telling him how I’d managed to stick to a very conservative-for-me food budget.

Now as someone who prioritizes organics and high-quality food sourced from small businesses that are helping to heal Mama Earth, I’ve always struggled to curtail my food spending. I’m the person who will spend twice – maybe three times – as much on local raw honey packaged in glass rather than buy Whole Food’s (or an even cheaper) store brand packaged in plastic. [In my defense, I do my best to support sustainable agriculture and those who support the survival of pollinators.]

Bob, on the other hand, tends to be very frugal when it comes to groceries. He loves cutting coupons and finding the best deals. And, he doesn’t really care much about organics or Fair Trade or food colorings or artificial flavors or whether his eggs come from certified pasture-raised hens raised on regenerative farms. Because we’re so vastly different when it comes to food, we buy our own groceries and prepare our own meals.

Anyway, Bob would often return from an Aldi haul telling me how he’d spent $50 on groceries for the week for him and his two kids. I, on the other hand, would keep to myself that my Whole Foods bill ran $250…for just me.

So that’s the back story.

About Bob…

I could have skipped the backstory and started here, but backstories are fun, don’t you think?! You see, Bob’s in finance and does the investing and budgeting thing well. Bob is fantastic with money, despite (or maybe because of) the fact that he faced financial insecurity in his early years.

As the saying goes, “Be like Bob.”

About me…

I, on the other hand, have always been terrible when it comes to managing my money, so much so that I could write a book about it! It’s generated a massive amount of stress in my life over the years, but I think that Bob’s tendency to stress about my finances has trumped even mine.

Anyway, during the first 5+ years of our relationship I’d shut down all attempts he’d make to address the proverbial elephant in the room; namely that I was consistently living beyond my means.

And then came the shift.

But then something crazy happened. I was sitting next to Bob on the couch and opened up my budgeting app (YNAB, in case you’re curious), and he caught a glance of my business credit card balance. He asked about it, I confirmed it, and that was it.

His potential judgment (which I assume was there but which he kindly kept to himself) didn’t sway my self-worth. Nor did I feel embarrassed by my five-figure balance for perhaps the first time ever! It was just a number, and I was proud of the steps I was taking to pay it off.

This combined with my decision to share with him about my food budgeting signified a huge shift towards me bringing more TAO into our relationship.

It was also a far cry than the shame I used to feel about how poorly I’d historically managed my finances or the amount of debt I’d acquired.

The key thing here is that this huge-for-me shift wasn’t dependent on the external. So if something were to happen where I’d fall off track – if I were to go into more debt – my confidence (which isn’t the same thing as self-worth) would surely take a beating!

But because my self-worth isn’t tied to my self-confidence, as long as I stay the path of TAO I know I’ll be okay. My worthiness is no longer tied to a number on a credit card statement.

Anyway, I can’t recommend Worthy [not an affiliate link] and being TAO enough.

[Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m still able to fully honor my values when I buy food even at my drastically reduced spending levels! I just have to plan more.]

That is all.