Posted by: onefromspirit | March 5, 2010

self-worth

Self worth is my struggle lately. It’s probably been an issue always but I’ve dealt with it quite effectively by being a workaholic and intelligent. It was even hard for me to write intelligent. I’ve had people call me scary smart but I have never said that except to quote other people. I think that the only reason I’ve succeeded in anything is because I’ve worked very hard and sacrificed my time and energy.

Okay so let’s think about that for a minute. If I truly believe that my energy creates my reality than gosh no wonder my reality is not exactly where I want to be. So I masquerade as a competent professional while many times on the inside I just want to curl up and disappear or at least take a long nap.

I’ve been doing what I do for over twenty years and am good at it. I have worked for many people who would have fired me in an instant if I wasn’t good at it and for many years I rode that flying carpet of their opinion of me. It never crashed much to my amazement; there were some bumps in the road a couple of times. Those bumps typically came when a major tragedy would occur in my life because I made sure that I was responsible for so much that I couldn’t afford to have a bad time of it – not for more than perhaps half a day.

Every position I’ve had for the past 30 years I would take on more and more tasks until I was always doing the work of multiple people. In one job I worked for a municipality and three people retired or were promoted to other positions and I absorbed their work…three people…no extra money…no pat on the back…I think that I’m starting to see that my issues have issues.

All of this is coming to my attention now because I moved three thousand miles away to a city where except for my husband and daughter who moved with me, I didn’t know anyone and in my infinite wisdom(can you just feel the sarcasm) I decided to start my own firm instead of working for one. So let me repeat that, I moved three thousand miles away from everyone I knew and decided to start a business that depends on referrals from other people, mostly other clients.

And guess what, for the most part it’s been successful. I’ve gained clients every year at a reasonable rate. Most stay around and seem satisfied, some enough to refer other clients to me. The part that has fallen completely flat – the numbers. I don’t charge enough because of these self-worth issues so I haven’t been able to pay myself at all for about three years. I’ve eaten through savings. My husband needs a new car and well how can we do that when I have the “business” that I am nursing along. It just has to stop. I need to decide I am a competent, even occasionally brilliant person and I deserve to be well compensated. I am not on sale, clearance, the mark down table, none of that. That even though I do sometimes make mistakes I still have worth.

I really have a hang up about mistakes. I must have decided in my infancy that I was never supposed to error. Only recently I have a started to realize that yes I will make mistakes and to plan ways to catch them so that they won’t do any great harm. I think that in the past the main mistakes that I’ve made were so I could get out of situations that I was in where I didn’t know how to leave; whether it was a job or a relationship.

All of this was set off because I’ve been very diligent lately about billing and I’ve even started using engagement letters again. How engagement letters became anything but compulsory to me I don’t remember but they disappeared from my routine for the last couple of years. I know when I first started my company I used them and then I didn’t.

Anyway I sent a late notice bill to someone who I did two returns for and in a very nice way demanded payment. I even said that monthly payments were fine and we’re taking about less than $500. The work was completed in 2008 and I should have been paid a long time ago. In her defense she had suffered a tragedy. Her husband had taken his own life and she was left to go on. And she has definitely gone on; she’s now married to someone new and has a baby.

She decided to take me up on my offer and sent me an installment along with a card with a three page note basically telling me what an awful person I was taking advantage of her in her weakened state. Okay so my first reaction was complete surprise.

You see I picked up this work from her about a week before it was due and normally would have filed an extension. She didn’t want that because she wanted it put behind her so that she could move on with her life so I exhausted my self getting it done with all of the other balls that were already in the air. I remember even staying up one night until about three in the morning working on it so that she could get the closure that she desired. I finished it a day or so before the deadline and left word for her to call me. And I waited and waited. She called me the day that it was due. She was working. Maybe I could bring it to her. I did and then I took it to the post office for her. Because hey, isn’t she my one and only client in the whole world, right.

So now this same self-important women is calling me out because I charged her too much. My second reaction was fury. She states in her note she used me because she thought I would be less expensive than a large firm. Well guess what; that is true. They would have charged her at least three times what I charged and I’m pretty sure her work would have been on extension.

And there is a part of me that wants to put all of this into a letter and sent it to her and say look you ignorant woman please get a clue. I have a family to feed and we also have needs. The other part of me just wants to update her payment in my accounting software, print out a new bill, send it to her and move on because I don’t think she’ll understand anything that I would write anyway. I wish I didn’t need the money and could just walk away. It’s very unpleasant for me. I just realized that when I wrote about my family’s needs and wanting to get paid that it really should be I did the work, please pay me. I shouldn’t have to explain or rationalize what the money is for anymore than anyone we pay in the normal course of our lives does. I did something of value for you, please compensate me. Thank you.

I am worthy of that compensation. I bring much value to the universe and can feel the abundance that is flowing to me. Let me be open to the receipt and ownership of that abundance with peace and grace.

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