Know Your Worth
Hello, friends. This is Eva (Evasius OfSeattle). Purple has given me the honor of inviting me to share some of my experiences and perspectives on her blog. I haven’t done anything like this before, and I don’t know how this sharing path will unfold. Deadlines have never helped me write, which means I will post something approximately whenever I am led to. *smiles*
Last year, my partner Evo joined the Rain City Superhero Movement and I was brought into the fold. I poked around everyone’s Facebook pages and surfed the web, picking up what the RCSM is all about. I was introduced to Purple Reign’s page and her movement against domestic abuse, and I find her campaign very moving. I wanted to get involved, but I didn’t feel like I had as much to contribute because I have never been hit by a man. Then one day I was scrolling through wall posts on Purple’s Facebook page, and saw this picture:
Purple wrote, “Domestic Violence is more than just physical abuse.”
I stared at it, blinking and dismayed, taking in the sheer strangeness of the image. And then I had tears in my eyes as I realized I have been hit by a man. I’ve just never classified it as domestic “violence”… but it messed me up just as much.
I sat with this for a couple of weeks. After taking it all in, I shared some of my story with Purple. We started talking about the deeper issues. You see it on the news repeatedly; most of these women say the same thing. After they finally scrape together the courage to leave, the fog starts to lift. They look back on their relationship and say, “I don’t know how I ever ended up in that situation. I never thought I’d let a man hit me.” Even strong, confident, intelligent women who weren’t abused in their formative years get whittled down to nothing. Why does this happen? Why do we stay so long after ANY kind of abuse happens?
The common thread in answering the “how did I end up here” question came down to this: We allowed these things to happen because we did not know our worth.
Emotional and psychological abuse is insidious. Purple has cited that, in some ways, non-violent abuse can be harder to escape and cause more long term damage. When someone crosses a hard line of physical contact, it is clear that this is not ordinary behavior. Once a woman “sees the light” and leaves she can look back, isolate what was abusive, and not allow that to happen again. It can be harder to recognize stuff that skulks around in the grey area. If we don’t know and understand our value, the lasting damage from non-physical abuse is a sinister villain constantly lurking in the shadows.
Women barely know how to treat themselves. How can we know what we have the right to expect of our partners?
We all have our confidence issues, self-doubts and insecurities. I’ve never met a woman - no matter how beautiful, rich or successful - who does not struggle with her self-esteem. It is par for the course of the American woman, and it is only getting worse as media presence continues to grow, pressuring us to compare ourselves with others. I remember an interview I read in the 90’s with supermodel Cindy Crawford, where she said, “Even I don’t wake up in the morning looking like Cindy Crawford.”
Playing on people’s insecurities is probably the biggest money-maker the American economy operates around. We know that we are being presented with unrealistic imagery, yet we can’t seem to shake it entirely. Steve Furtick says, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
As a result of this conditioning, our internal dialogue is more venomous than anyone else’s criticism. An emotionally abusive relationship just reinforces the cycle of devaluing ourselves. We don’t realize it is wrong because our partner’s words are hardly original to us.
Knowing and believing in one’s worth is a constant journey of discovery and healing. This journey is different for different people. For me, the most self-loving action has been simple, yet difficult: I eschew media almost entirely. I do not watch television. I am selective about the movies I go to, and will and have walked out if what I am watching starts affecting me negatively. I don’t touch almost any magazine. I actively choose not to get sucked into the instant mood-breaking headlines and pictures I’m accosted with in the grocery checkout line. This choice has been difficult at times. We are drawn to enticing, “can’t-look-away” train wrecks. This is a conscious decision that I must make, over and over again. It’s weird to most people, which can be slightly isolating at times. Not knowing what “The Kardashians” is until someone explains it to me makes me a bit socially awkward at times. But here’s the thing:
I FEEL BETTER.
Even with this, I still struggle. My internal dialogue can be absolutely horrid at times. This journey is uphill, against the wind, and against the flow. But I will never stop fighting for myself. Although I have nowhere near mastered flawless application of this knowledge, I at least have developed a stronger grasp on my self-worth.
We are all worthy. We all have value. Even those of us who haven’t been in an abusive relationship need to learn how to love and have grace for ourselves. The word “grace” means “unearned favor”. We are - by nature - valuable. Self-love needs to be our reality, not our reward. Loving ourselves is an active choice, a daily choice. Ultimately, self-love is its OWN reward.
Turning off the television may be too extreme for you. You may take a different path to your betterment and self-discovery. That is why I am sharing this. Perhaps making myself vulnerable by sharing some hard-earned personal insight can be part of your self-nurturing experience, which is reward enough for anything that ever happened, that gave me something to say.