It is almost embarrassing to admit that I have not always known my true value. Forever and a day, I have struggled with recognizing the importance of me, my talents, and my accomplishments. For way too long I was broken and could not see the strong, powerful, woman that was underneath all of my perceived flaws.
As I reflect on this topic, I am convinced that there are two types of women out there:
- the ones who know their value
- and the ones who have poor self-worth.
I am a special kind of woman who is in the third type: The women who have been both during their lifetime.
Behind my Colgate smile used to hide a broken woman. Allow me to share a bit with you today that defies the woman I used to be and allows me to walk fully in the power I desire to empower you to walk in daily.
When I did not value myself, I allowed my head to be filled with limiting beliefs. I enabled people to take advantage of me. I let my circumstances dim my light. I allowed people to break me. I enabled people to almost make me go crazy. I let others’ perspective of me define who I was.
I allowed random people and thoughts to kill my dreams. I invited jerks to take me for granted. I permitted others to tell me what I deserved–and what I didn’t. I let others make me feel inferior. I allowed myself to cry for three days straight for someone else’s BS. I accepted hand-me-downs because I believed that was all I was worth.
I let others make me believe that I would never be anything. I allowed people to make me believe that it was my fault. I permitted everybody to take my powers and then felt bad for not having any say in anything. The worst is that I invited others to dictate my happiness. To think that I actually gave consent to all of this makes me angry.
When you don’t know your worth, you settle. You settle for the street taco when you could have had the five-course menu. I see this all the time. We settle for bad relationships, jobs we can’t stand, and even eyebrows that meet in the middle. If you find yourself in an undesired circumstance, don’t be afraid to change it. Remember, you need to always be in control, and that includes being in control of your feelings. Never think that you cannot do better than what you have or what you think you deserve. If your value is not being recognized, it is NOT you who is the problem. Never blame yourself for someone else not recognizing your value.
This is the exact situation that I found myself in when I did not know my worth. I had settled for a job that treated me like a robot. I had settled for a life dependent on government assistance. I had settled for toxic relationships. I had settled for other people controlling me. I had settled for never having any money to my name. I had settled for having my clothes donated to me. I had settled for a ramen noodle life. I had settled for way less than I would like to admit. I had settled because I was afraid to make a change. I had settled because I was afraid that no one would value a woman with two kids. I had settled because I was afraid that no one would ever find me beautiful. I had settled because I was afraid of what people would say. I had settled because I was afraid to be a statistic. I had settled because I was afraid that I would not make it. I had settled because I was afraid that things would be worse if I dared to believe I was worth more or could do more.
The day that I had enough of my average life and worthless mindset is when the person that I trusted, valued and respected showed me their true colors. It’s possible that there were signs all along and that I was just blind to them, but that once I saw them it was like flashes going off at a celebrity sighting. That day I was left with nothing… and I mean nothing, NADA. This person took everything from me. From my peace to the last of what was in the refrigerator. That day, I swore that I would never, ever, let absolutely anything take my POWER. NADA.
It is disheartening that we sometimes have to hit bottom before we can make a change. That lesson changed so many things for me. Not only in my life but most importantly in my mindset. I no longer was a people pleaser but a Zoraida pleaser. At that moment, I started my transition from ensuring everyone else wore smiles to understanding what it felt like to wear them myself. I exchanged my tears of fear for praises of triumph as I shifted my life and started walking in the power you see me walk in today.
Sis, it wasn’t easy. This transition took me doing some things and feeling some ways that were out of character and didn’t automatically feel like they belonged to me. But like those fabulous heels you wear when you want to feel amazing, I kept them on and walked with them until it would hurt more to remove them than to continue walking in them. When you have lived so long not knowing your worth, a compliment feels like a set up for a favor. When you have lived so long believing you are free salsa, it’s hard when someone reminds you that you’re top-notch guacamole! (I don’t know who gets credit for that, but kudos to them for understanding value!) Sis, it will take time and it will be painful, but you are worth it.
Here are four keys to conquering all doubts so you can realize how valuable you truly are. Remember, sis, there are not two of you. They broke the mold when they made you. You are of immense worth. There is a waiting list to speak to you. You are more exclusive than the Hermes Baby Birkin.
- Believe in yourself. I mean, truly and honestly believe in yourself and your capabilities. Do not be afraid to be your number one FAN!! Remind yourself how amazing, wonderful, beautiful, smart, talented, gifted, charismatic, and just so darn awesome you are. Believe in yourself, because many will not. (And when you encounter those who don’t, remember that they don’t matter when you believe, trust, and have faith in yourself.) Put them on the waiting list for the 367th day of the year and move forward. Don’t sweat it, sis.
- Have a positive perspective. Always be optimistic about absolutely everything. With all of your endeavors think of positive outcomes. Do not allow fear or doubt to take any part of your journey. Never question if you will sell anything, or if you will pass the test, or if you will get the job interview. Have your mind made up that everything is going to go your way because you deserve it. Recognize when you are being plagued with fear and insecurities and replace all those thoughts with positive energy.
- Hustle, plain and simple. The world is not going to slow down for you. Get used to hustling, doing, achieving, and conquering. Put in the work, time, and dedication needed. This will set you apart. Not many people are willing to sacrifice now for a better tomorrow. Be different. Do not be afraid to put in the work necessary. Your drive and perseverance will open up so many doors.
- Control your story. Recognize that you are the main character and owner of your journey. With this comes POWER, immense POWER. You have the power to choose who is part of your story. You have the power to say NO. You have the power to direct the storyline. You have the power to change. You have the authority and audacity to be HAPPY. You have the power to be the writer, director, actress, and audience for your life and do it all the way YOU want to do it.
Bringing myself out of the darkness and into a light of power has me looking at the world from an entirely different perspective. The powers of a strong, resilient, and capable woman can never be taken away, ever. Today, I walk with my extensions blowing in the wind, tall, confident, and ready to take the stage like Beyonce at Coachella. I walk in a light of success, excelling, and thriving in everything that I do.
Post this graphic to your Instagram and use #EmpoweredFem so my team and I can cheer you on in your journey toward fully understanding and knowing your true value! You’ve got this, Sis!