The Chipped Glass

“In feng shui it’s said that even a chipped glass in your home is something you should repair or replace immediately; otherwise you’re shirking your duty to maintain a beautiful, stress-free living environment. You’re also signaling to the universe that you feel unworthy of non-broken items and that you only deserve that which is flawed.” ~Steve Pavlina

I came across this quote in an article I read the other day, and needless to say, the message struck a chord with me.  Especially that last line.

In my continuing journey of self-actualization and raising my awareness I have had many epiphanies, many enlightening flashes that have awakened me, but none have been so unwelcome as the idea that I might have low self-worth. “Surely,” I told myself, “with my level of self-confidence, all that I’ve accomplished in my life, and the paradigm shifts in spirituality I’ve experienced in a few short years, surely I am not encumbered by something as basic as low self-worth… Right?”

It was a bit chilly outside, so I pulled on my trusty light windbreaker, a particular jacket that has been, for a while, the first choice I’ll reach for on such an occasion. And as I put it on, as I pulled my right hand through the sleeve, something happened that has happened dozens if not hundreds of times before – the torn inner lining pulled through along with my hand. And in that moment, I had to admit the truth – this was my version of a chipped glass.

Now this little moment may seem insignificant to many –and by itself, it is. Normally, I would have tucked the lining back inside the sleeve and went on about my day, casting aside any deeper thoughts about it. But this time, as is becoming common for me now, when I experience a significant, let’s say awakening moment in the present, it’s as if all the connected relevant moments from the past (and sometimes even the future) all download into me and I’ll feel them all at the same time.

I immediately flashed to an ex-girlfriend, borrowing this jacket over 10 years ago, pulling the torn sleeve lining through as she put it on, and pointing it out to me as she did. And I remembered my response – that it was old and had been like that for a long while, and that she should just tuck it back in and ignore it.

This is what hit me – hard. Back in the present, this jacket I was wearing was indeed ancient – and had been “chipped” for well over a decade, but my beliefs about myself were still telling me that when I needed to put on a jacket, this was the one I should wear.

Now, I have and use other jackets, but more often than not, this is the one I end up wearing. Stained on the inside and torn, this unattractive, baggy, ill-fitting, wrinkled piece of shit was somehow still something I would actively choose to clothe myself with.

And as I stood there, having this time-collapsing moment, loyally enveloped in this physical representation of my ridiculously obvious low self-worth, that’s when the next wave of conscious awareness hit – and this was the real tsunami: this jacket was only one infinitesimal example of the expressions and iterations of low self-worth that were literally surrounding me on all sides.

Almost all the clothes I wore most frequently were in a similar state of disrepair or were equally unacceptable. Virtually all of my furniture was secondhand, in addition to being ugly, old, stained, scratched, uncomfortable, or torn. My bed had been cheaply constructed, so I had swapped out a leg with a makeshift replacement – a  couple pieces of 2 x 4 nailed together.

Next to nothing I owned was new, and the things that were… somehow didn’t get worn as frequently, if they got worn at all. It was almost as if I had an aversion to having or wearing nice things.

My mind began to crack open. Where else had I’ve been creating and re-creating this low self-worth in my life? My finances. Now maybe I was stretching the concept of the chipped glass, but by now, I was on a roll. From the time I had moved out on my own to New York City after graduating college, I had set myself in a pattern of financial self-diminishment that to this day still continues almost 20 years later:

“I want clothes newer than 5 or 10 years old!” Can’t afford it.

“I want to sit on a chair  or sleep in a bed that doesn’t hurt!” Add it to the list.

“I want to take more trips, go out more and shoot my own film!” Get in line.

And on and on and on the low self-worth expressions went:

Using overdraft protection to pay my rent? Self-diminishment.

Maxing out said overdraft protection every single month? Self-diminishment.

Buying groceries on credit? Self-diminishment.

And here I was today, scraping by, and continuing to do the only thing that could have perpetuated this state of affairs for so long:  I was lying to myself that all of this was all okay. It wasn’t.

As all of these realizations poured through me, and the years of collected chipped-glass iterations were accounted for, I had to face the daunting assessment, that yes, my life has indeed been an exquisite masterpiece of low self-worth expressionistic art.

Now, to some, self-realization of this magnitude could send a person either into a downward spiral of depression, or sprinting for dear life back to the shadows of self-delusion, to nestle in the comforting haze of mind and soul-numbing distractions. These are the food of self-diminishment, and in my time I have come to know them well. No doubt, so have you.

But thankfully I have come to know that fear is only a messenger in my life. With daily practices like EFT tapping (more about this in subsequent posts) and meditation, fear is rendered toothless and neutered, and the inherent, relevant message can be revealed (as in, “Hey! You’re making a choice that is self-diminishing to you! Knock that shit off!”).

When one has been actively choosing to raise their sensitivity and conscious awareness to move forward in life, as I have, self-realizations like the chipped glass become not something to run away from, but something to embrace with loving gratitude. They are being revealed to us not to punish us, but to allow us to address this incongruent issue in our life so that we may finally, permanently release it, re-integrate the energy we’ve been wasting on it, and move forward, unburdened by the weight of carrying that fear around.

This understanding is a profound gift. A rich blessing. Twenty years of poisoning myself with lies, blinding myself to the obvious truth, and now I could see. How could I be anything but thankful for this?

Now, this does not instantaneously reverse the momentum that has been in motion. But like Edward Norton at the end of Fight Club, realizing the gun had been in his own hand the whole time, I realized that A) my foot was on the gas, driving in the wrong financial direction, and B) I suddenly have feeling in my toes again, and I could consciously choose to take my foot off the pedal, which I am.

I will be writing in weeks to come about some of the ways I am currently changing things for myself, some of which will be physical means (like trading Forex), but suffice it to say, that these (or any physical means) are just tools – permission slips. And the most perfect tool (financial or otherwise) in the hands of someone who is locked in a state of low self-worth, fear, and scarcity will only create more of these things in their life. It can be no other way. Without healing oneself first, the tool is useless at best.

There is no compromise in being your true self. Compromise is the chipped class. Compromise is self-diminishment. It is accepting something for yourself that you know in your heart is absolutely unacceptable. Accepting such things is the act of self-diminishment, the brush stroke of paint on your very own canvas of low self-worth. There are much better colors to paint with.

I’m not speaking about flexibility here, that is crucial. We must continue to be flexible to changes and explore the line between flexibility and compromise in order to co-create together and to allow something far greater then even we could have imagined for ourselves to come to be. While the line between the two can get blurred at times, it is most important that we do not compromise to ourselves. If we only stick to that, the rest will fall into place.

On another note, to be clear, this post is not a call for consumerism, nor is it an invitation to entitlement. There are more than enough of those out there already. As Will Smith puts it, “Most people buy shit they can’t forward to impress people they don’t like.” There is a profound difference between being caught up in an insatiable need to externally validate oneself through buying things, and knowing in one’s heart that you’re settling for less than what you know you deserve, what would reflect your intrinsic high-value and high self-esteem.

Things need not define you at all – in fact, one can detach from them and from identity entirely if it’s relevant to you (another topic I’m exploring that I’ll get into in a later post), but we cannot change until we are honest with ourselves about where we are now, including the identity we have espoused up until this point. We have to be really honest. And that requires courage.

If we can’t, or won’t do this, then what the hell are we doing here anyway? We were not born into this life to accumulate fears, run away from them our whole lives, and then die. The universe is not so poorly designed, and could not function properly if this were so. Imagine if birds, or trees, or planets, or the cells in your body did this! It’s laughable to imagine how quickly everything would completely fall apart if this were how things really worked.

Aside from we humans, nothing else in our reality is lying to themselves, about their own value, afraid to be who they really are. Maybe we should take a fucking clue from them. Or, we could keep deciding that we know better than nature, believing somehow that we are separate from it, or worse, above it all – because that’s been working out so well for us so far hasn’t it?

Each of us is a valued part of creation – or we simply would not be here. Creation doesn’t make mistakes. To think that we – of all of creations – are the only ones that are are unworthy of being who we were meant to be –  is just arrogant. So we cannot be a mistake.

Once we embrace this idea, become aware of and detach from the emotion of our fears, and allow them to be the messengers guiding us towards alignment with our natural self, all that remains is what we are excited to do, passionate to do as individuals. We become congruent in thought, word, and deed. We find ourselves lighter, freer, somehow far more capable of surging forward in our own lives, on our own terms, in ways we could not before.

We must wake up. We must choose to face what we feel we cannot, do what we are most afraid to do, be what our fears tell us we are not worthy to be.

And before we know it, we just might find ourselves in possession of a lovely new set of stemware.