Today, I’m going to be super vulnerable with you, and tell you how I sometimes don’t practice what I preach.
If you’ve ever been to a Cuddle Sanctuary event with me, you may have heard me talk about how to avoid taking a “No” personally.
“Thank them for taking care of themselves,” I say. “A ‘no” is a gift of authenticity.” “It’s simply a refusal of what you are offering in that moment, not a rejection of who you are.”
While it’s true that I have really internalized these messages, and move much more freely in the world these days, I still come up against my fear of rejection frequently. One of the many ways it surfaces, is through my work as a professional cuddler and event leader.
The Roller Coaster Ride
By golly have I discovered that running a business is not for the weak-hearted.
As a business owner whose identity is so enmeshed with my work, it often feels like I’m offering something as deeply personal as who I am as a service. Because of this, I’ve at times found myself on a roller coaster of perceived self-worth.
Whenever I put myself out in the world by offering my services, creating an event, writing something or making a video, there’s always a part of me that asks, “Is this wanted; am I wanted?”
In abundant times, it feels like the answer is yes. Wow, I think to myself, I’m really making an impact. Yes! What I’m doing resonates. There is a need for me and a place for me in this world after all.
Other times, when things take a momentary turn for the quiet, I have wondered – is it me? Do I have a skewed sense of competence? What am I messing up?
Through the ebb and flow of life, things can get really confusing pretty quickly.
The Wrong Kind of Measuring Stick
I had an aha moment at Cuddle Sanctuary the other day.
We’d had a full house, which is most any facilitator’s dream. And as I was closing up shop later that night, I found myself basking in the afterglow of the event, and feeling those good feelings of validation. I felt wanted, and that felt soooo good. And then I caught myself.
I realized that I was allowing myself to measure my worth by this arbitrary number of how many people were in attendance.
There are so many variables that affects attendance. Of course, there are the things I can control, like the content of the event, my facilitation, the way it is presented and marketed. Those are always things I’m working on improving. But there are many other variables that I can’t control. Like the time of year, all the other things that are going on in other people’s lives, the weather…
Doesn’t it seem ridiculous to pair my self-worth with something as fickle as the weather?!
A kind, wise voice in my head reminded me, “This service is no less important or needed now, than it was when fewer people showed up.”
That’s right. It’s true.
I got momentarily distracted from my belief that every event is perfect, and meant to unfold exactly in the way that they do. And goodness, have we had some perfect events of every size.
I made a commitment then and there, to remember that my worth is constant, no matter the outcome of any of my endeavors.
It’s a Constant Thing
It’s a little scary sharing this very human side of myself with you – this part of me that seeks validation and acceptance. It can sometimes feel in conflict with the wise leader that I aspire to be.
But this need is not weakness, it’s a fundamental part of how we are wired to thrive as human beings. Recognizing this, I no longer feel ashamed. I can see that this, too, doesn’t change my worth.
We’re not a commodity on the stock market. Our value doesn’t change with the trends.
At the core, our value as human beings is too deep, too vast, to be measured by any of our limited scales. The number of likes we get on social media, how much money we make, or who says yes or no to our requests for connection… none of that can come close to accurately representing how infinitely important we are.
It doesn’t matter how “successful” my business is, how I am wanted in the moment (or by who). No matter how many weaknesses I may struggle against, I am still worthy. I am still lovable. What I have to offer is still important.
Security Brings Magic
When I inherently buy into my own value and feel secure in my worth, I’ve noticed that I tend to make magic happen. I spend less energy doubting myself, and more energy creating and connecting.
At a cuddle event, when I trust in my innate lovability, I become more pro-active. I stop waiting to be approached, as if it’s proof that I am worth something. Instead, I reach out. I make offers and requests. And I am unfazed when I get a “No”.
So when you are at your next cuddle event, or as you are navigating your needs and wants in the outside world, check in with yourself. Are you basing your value on someone else’s “yes” or “no”? What would you do differently if you inherently believed in your capacity, lovability, and in what you have to offer?
I imagine a world where we can all put ourselves out there and boldly ask, “Will you hug me?”, “Would you like to hold hands?” or “Can we be friends?” with no fear of what the answer will be.