In the past few years value has been significant for me. I say this in the context of “my value.” How do I value myself and how do other people value me? What is my inner compass and what do I do when I value myself? How do others treat me? Good value has not always come easily to me since for as long as I can remember I was told how to look, learn, act, feel and be. I learned these lessons in church, from my parents, television, school, nuns, teachers, coaches and relatives. My value as painted by others wasn’t pretty except for my mother’s unfettered love, devotion and encouragement. Believe it or not having red hair in a small town elementary school was no easy task. My mother would always comfort me when I came home from school crying as the kids called me red-headed woodpecker, Annie, Red Headed Ridinghood and Pipi Longstocking. Once someone put gum in my long flowing red hair. Another time a boy spit in it–that was the worst.
For the past few years I have stood tall valuing myself and it didn’t always set well with others. I am, for the most part, a strong, confident and beautiful (inside) woman. It’s been challenging and many lessons have been learned. I know my value and I’ll never back down. Some people call me rebellious, non-compliant, a running horse that needs to be tamed, stubborn, foolish and other names. To me this simply means I value myself and they do not. This means I need a new tribe and surroundings. I believe failure is fertilizer and I learn from it all. The one important lesson I try to pass on to young girls or women is — love and value yourself first. I teach this to boys and men too yet considering how some societies are structured girls and women need to know their value now more than ever.
I’m grateful for my mother who instilled good self-esteem and love into me from a young age. I was painfully shy then and used to hide from other kids when I was at recess, in kinder-garden and first grade. Thank goodness for her because then the negative programming began…the teachers told my mother I was Learning Disabled, Dyslexic. It was pretty traumatic to my sense of self. I loved the religious lessons, drawing and singing in mass. Then my family moved away from the city to the country. I was a painfully shy redheaded Catholic girl thrown into an entirely different setting, a country school, new teachers, friends and then Remedial Reading. I had to leave normal class time to go to lessons for slow learners. In essence, all the other kids knew this. I was receiving mixed messages regarding my value and it messed me up for a long time.
In third grade I was in the third reading group, the slowest, and soon moved to the second which was one step up. I stayed in the second group until seventh grade. My teacher, Mrs. Daines, told me if I completed some homework assignments I would be moved to the first group, and the fastest. I did my homework as agreed and she reneged on the deal. My protective Mom went ballistic and had a heated argument with my teacher. Weirdly enough she was a relative by marriage. She did not comply immediately but later in the year I was rightfully promoted. Thank you Mom. Once my brother Bill pushed me to read, at age 16, I never stopped. Thank you brother. My first read was “Pet Cemetery” by Stephen King and I couldn’t sleep for a week.
I was somewhat dismayed at my last job, as case manager, where instead of love and encouragement I received constant reprimands, warnings, criticisms as to why I was not picking up all the job information within a week. When I was hired onto the position the understanding was I did not know anything about case management, their data system, Family Care, and so forth. The cards were on the table. My big boss told me she hired me because “I knew about old people.” My immediate supervisor was mean, rude, nasty, belligerent, arrogant, and never wanted to take out real time to train me. Instead she would look for my shortcomings, mistakes, and on and on. Once, in a private conversation, she had the nerve to insinuate I was learning disabled. She asked me “Is there anything we need to know about Marie? Most of the other people we have hired here knew everything by this point” (mind you this was at week two with absolutely no experience.) I’ve been around the block more than one time. That question was as illegal as they come. I, personally think, early into my time they wanted to let me go. So when she kept saying these horrible things, and making nasty comments not only did I snap back but her cruelty entered into my subconscious mind and it brought back bad memories. I could write an entire article on the goings on at that work place. It was not pleasant to say the least. I was not allowed to ask other people questions, breaks and lunches were null, and it was never stated out in the open just implied.
Working all kinds of overtime on your own hours, when you were paid wage, was implied as well. Okay I digress. Value; although the things both of my supervisors said to me were hurtful deep in my heart I knew my value. What added salt to the wound was years ago I worked for my big boss as a temporary worker in Administrative work. She always kept me working. I was good and I admired her tremendously. Three weeks, almost to the day, I was fired over the phone as “We’re going to have to severe this relationship.” She told me not to come back in she would send my belongings through the mail. I got through it. Seriously, at the end of the day I truly do know my value. This is why I am putting out positive things to the Universe to redesign my life. Not only financially, career wise, romance, home, spiritual, and other the more I value myself the more I draw others who truly value me. In the end the bosses who did not value me were not good for me.
In some ways I could say “Value” is a serious meditation of mine lately. Not only do I follow the “feel good” principles of Abraham Hicks in everything I do or say I ask myself then or later, am I valuing myself? If I am not I let it go. It has taken me forty five years on earth to truly master this and I am a work in progress. The more I value myself the happier I am. This applies to everything in my life friendships, work and business opportunities, outings, dates, commitments, and on and on. So if a stranger, career coach, professor, friend, or family member suggests I take work like blah blah blah and I do not see value in the work, or myself being valued I have to pass and not puff.