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7 Awarenesses To Transform Unworthiness

Shake it out, see it for what it is.


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Peter Middleton

3 years ago | 11 min read

It’s easy to feel unworthy in the modern world; we’re all told to do more, keep it together, strive for greatness that is outside of us.

Life can be challenging, mostly if you’re leaning into an edge. Some unfamiliar, unknown territory into which your heart is pushing you forward.

A rich area for growth, and it happens to every single one of us. Often there can be an overwhelming, numbing, sense of unworthiness. A feeling of not being ready, a need to hide, or a violent response to push away anything that remotely resembles the unknown.

You can transform this feeling of unworthiness into worthiness, with the awareness of your human story. Shake out your story, like turning a colossal bag upside down and letting the pieces of your life fall onto the table to examine.

Once you own your story, you’ll begin to find that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, and everything is working as it is supposed to.

Here are seven areas to build awareness in:

Shame

Shame is one of the most pernicious things to feeling worthy. It’s so silent, confusing. The origins of the word shame mean ‘to cover’. It forms an overall feeling of incapability rather than a direct understanding of the fear of disconnection.

It seeps into resistance behaviour, the ego steers you towards the familiar routines for safety and security, and the markers that steer it off course are full of shame.

Like the water’s course down a river, consciousness finds a flow around obstacles too solid to wash away; rocks, trees, debris, even the course of the river bed, are all markers of a life lived. With respect, water doesn’t wash away all things in an instant; it erodes over time; it changes its course and continues to flow.

Shame is similar. It needs respect. You cannot overcome it in a flash of realisation. The journey of life is a concentric circle. Each time you return to a familiar feeling, you can look at it from another angle, from an extended awareness. Yet, it persists until you can cultivate enough space to respond differently.

Too many people heap shame upon shame. Thinking they should be passed this, they’ve done this work already, and they don’t need to do it anymore, or that they are simply too old, or too wise, to be visited by this issue. The last one is pride.

You are as human as I am, and these conscious awarenesses visit us over our lifetime to be observed, respected, and transmuted.

Like the unformed clay to be made into a pot, we’re each affected by the scores, grooves, cuts, and the speed of the turnings of the wheel. It’s what makes us unique and beautiful. Your story lies in this, not in your perfection.

The most important thing to recognise is when you are distracted, resistant, or restless. What common habits do you have in these moments? How does shame feel in your body?

My shame shows up when I want to drop a task that I’m doing and check social media, or I need to go and do something else immediately. I feel it thick on my forehead. I still have it consistently when I write these articles. I have learned to cultivate a sense of taking one step forward at a time, building a house slowly. Suddenly it’s done, and I submit. Then I let it go.

Once you’re proficient at this, you can begin to recognise what the shame voices are saying. What’s your core wound with shame? Mine is abandonment.

It surfaces in almost everything I do. Rather than getting angry at my shame, I choose to love it up, understand what it is trying to teach me and where it comes from. It was a legitimate survival technique at one point and will serve me in this way in a dangerous situation again. The key is not to get rid of shame. It’s to recognise shame as an essential key to growth and a genuine part of our toolkit as a human being.

Lastly, share a shame. Make sure the space is safe and share your shame with someone who can empathise. Check out these tips to empathy. This is the way to transmute shame. We all make mistakes. It’d be a pretty dull and stagnant existence on this Earth if we didn’t. Nature pushes progress above all else. Fail forward, do it compassionately, curiously, kindly, and lovingly.

Grief

Grief is an epic subject. In this relation, I want to talk about how it can stagnate you if you don’t listen to it. When you don’t respect grief, it can so quickly turn into resentment and pain.

It seems one essence of grief is to wash, cleanse, interpret, encourage new conceptual thinking around your life.

When the last of my grandparents passed this year, I was broken open by grief. I surrendered the masculine aspect to the waves that washed on my shore, and I allowed grief to nurture me closer to wholeness.

In her beautiful book called ‘Belonging’, Toko-pa Turner says:

“Grief is a broken bond of belonging.”

Most evident when you lose someone from the physical world, yet, grief isn’t always spoken of in terms of a life transition. When you are maturing your perspective in life, you must grieve your old self. A rich and nuanced area. A subtle turning of critiquing and evolving your paradigm until you reach inner peace in the new self.

Seems to me to go through many transitions like this in their lives whilst others do not. I have always been a transitory person; there have been many occasions where I needed to transition passed a self that I had created to survive, to achieve what I wanted to achieve.

Inevitably, there’ll be times in this grief process where you feel unworthy, stagnant, drowning in despair.

How many of us have felt like we’re treading water? We hold our head slightly above the surface. Usually bound around twisted seaweed of opposing values. That’s not easy to unlock.

Sink beneath the waves and sit under there. Become comfortable with the truths that lie at the bottom of that conscious water.

The first step is always awareness. Life will provide you with all the answers you need. As human beings, I’ve long thought that our destiny in our best forms is to be cultivators, nurturers, inquirers, and gatekeepers.

If you cast the net out to find the knowledge, you’ll find it then begins to converge on a singular point that feels right.

Fall apart in a safe space

Western culture celebrates keeping it together. Let’s honour that a second, it’s good for some things, not so good for others. It got us to the point of the most prosperous and safe human community in the history of humanity. The most advanced technology that allows us to connect, find community, and share knowledge instantly.

However, somehow, we’re the most miserable, restless, and lost generation ever. Why is this? Who are we longing to be that we can’t manage to find in this narrative?

Falling apart in a safe space is a big part of this. Have you ever noticed how refreshed, vibrant, and beautiful a loved one is right after they’ve released something from crying? The big sigh of relief and an innocent shared laugh.

It’s our rite to fall apart because in falling apart we get to see the shadows that shape us, in which our power lies. Your story is full of emotion, hardship, despair, helplessness. It’s how you navigate these things that give you the unique footprint that you walk upon this Earth.

Favourite smells, the sense of the moist soil under your feet, the food you find disgusting, the shared habits and routines. Going out to the bar, cinema, or going to sit at the beach with a pack of chips, interpreting the world.

The feeling after a big cry is relief and insight. Something always rises through the cracks of despair. To be held in that space is sacred, beautiful, humanity.

Once you can be comfortable falling apart in a safe space, you can begin to know that you’re not alone, you’re sharing this life, sharing breath with another, walking a parallel path. Worthy of love which includes all the hardships. A whole love.

“There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.”
~ Leonard Cohen ~

Belonging

A search for belonging is a deep groove for everyone. If you don’t feel that you need people, please refer to the shame section, because everyone needs someone. I am weary of the people who say they don’t need anyone because I was one of them once upon a time.

I call them hungry ghosts because that’s how I see them. Unable to recognise their beauty and magic, unable to connect with others, they walk around taking what they need from others unconsciously. If anyone challenges them, they play the blame game.

It’s not their fault. It comes from their conditioning, yet, it is their responsibility. I know what is acceptable and not with these people, and I set boundaries compassionately.

Let’s face it. Western culture is built like this in its individualistic and ‘keep it together’ narratives.

Belonging is a call from ancestry; to be a part of a story that transcends time and physicality. To feel like something bigger than your immediate struggle, the pains and aches that come from the density of the human body. This feeling derives from healthy shame, knowing that you are finite and needing help to survive and thrive.

Without recognising belonging you won’t recognise worthiness, because knowing that you are worthy of help allows you to ask for help. Hurt people, hurt people — a fundamental and why I mentioned shame at the beginning of this section. When we don’t believe in our worth, we don’t ask for help, and we flail, kick, scream, shout, and flounder in a desperate attempt to get what we need. Until exhaustion sets in and we’re forced to surrender to rest.

“that modern culture is suffering an epidemic of alienation, yet so many of us feel alone in our unbelonging, as if everyone else was inside of the thing that we alone are outside of. And keeping silent about our experience of estrangement is, in large part, what allows it to perpetuate.”
~ Toko-Pa Turner ~

Kinship

Kinship is a support system of loving and caring people. It helps you feel worthy because you can show up in your flaws as well as your triumphs. Being received in acceptance and compassion, celebration, and discernment.

Belonging to kin, ancestral or chosen in friendship, allows you to know that even if you fall, there’ll be someone there wanting to give you a hand to pull you up.

“People that inspire you to open, and who never shun you for doing so.”
~ Toko-Pa Turner ~

You can also connect to the kinship with your self at this moment. All the different selves you have been in the past that contribute to your view of the world, and all the selves that you might yet become.

Visualise your elder-self, what do they have to say to you at this moment of your life?

Befriend uncertainty

Paradoxically, a lot of people stay in the space of uncertainty to avoid uncertainty. Protecting themselves from a situation where they don’t know the factors. Why things so often come to a head in a relationship, because two people might put up with the stress of a situation when they’re unsure of what it would be like to step into a new space.

They forget that it’s possible to co-create the new space. It’s easier to surrender, get creative, and take a single step forward together. Often, Listening, understanding, and waiting patiently for the answer to emerge is the best course of action.

Surrendering requires you to befriend uncertainty. There’s a subtle feeling to being a friend to uncertainty. It’s hard to describe. It’s almost like you can sit with all the factors in your awareness. Stresses, strains, people involved, their essence, character, and history, your essence, character, and history, natural forces that are pushing on the situation.

The most important factors for me are:

  • What is the situation trying to speak to me?
  • What is trying to emerge from the situation?
  • What would love do that my fear would not speak to me?

The question to ask ourselves is:

Are we opening up to Creation,
Or are we hiding in Limitation?
~ Mitra Politi ~

Integrate your new wisdom

Integration is one of my favourite subjects. Casting the knowledge net wide, you’ll find the wisdom you need, it’s integration that allows that net to be drawn back into your waiting hands.

The universe tends to do this for you even if you resist it, especially if you’ve taken the call to enlighten yourself and shut the gate to the old world.

However, there are ways to make this process work for you.

I think integration is much like the moment you freak out because you realise what you’ve signed up for! Once a concept is in your awareness, you can’t unlearn it, so integration is the process of the mind and body aligning on the new concept; making sense of it.

It’s bringing together your historical story, your sensations, your environment and making them fit with the new concept. This might not always work. It might require a shift.

You might decide to shift your perspective on the past, change your diet, move house, start a new business. Any act of creation is celebratory.

I think that integration is a caring, loving act for yourself. I use the Imago dialogue to navigate the parts of myself that have friction to the new concept. I journal, meditate, take cold showers, practice karate and qigong, and go running. Sometimes I jump in the cold ocean.

A-ha moments are fascinating. They are a part of the integration process where the left hemisphere seems to catch up and tie all things together in a neat bow since it’s more direct than the right hemisphere that tends to process in metaphorical.

It’s best if you integrate your new wisdom. Otherwise, it’s a confusion, something that continues to disturb or disgust you. We make sense of the world, that is our job.

Integrating thoughts

I think that this is the most in-depth, profound, and essential conversation that anyone could have about their life.

Do I feel worthy? In a way, yes, and also not entirely. I am wholly worthy of being a human being at this stage of my life. I haven’t got everything figured out, and that’s O.K.

I have a lifetime to find acceptance in the things that I have experienced. I have many more uncertainties to face, including the biggest uncertainty of all, my death. Leaving this realm altogether.

Be a life long, curious, authentic student. Build awareness of these areas of growth and enjoy the ride.

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Peter Middleton

Peter is a creative coach working to unblock people's authentic creative essence and expression. Using transformational life coaching, meditation and embodiment techniques. He is passionate about mental health, trauma informed practice, spirituality and how to create sustainable cultures that empower in equity.


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