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Issue #40: Embrace Worthiness

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Hey Mike – let’s address worthiness.

Self-worth – being good enough – believing you are worthy of love, belonging, joy.

This might speak directly to you.

It might sneak in through a back door you’re not aware of.

I can tell you this: having personally worked closely with hundreds of men and had deep conversations with thousands more, regardless of what the issue is we’re facing or feeling, worthiness is often the culprit deep down beneath the surface.

And when we keep playing and living life on the surface, we have a surface-level life.

Yet, all of these men want lives of depth.

I suspect that’s why you’re here – maybe not a direct thought, but in some significant way – you want to experience more depth in your life.

Depth in yourself, in your experiences, in your relationships. Connection. Love. Adventure. Purpose. Fulfilment. Direction. Clarity.

If you want depth, you must visit your depths.

And so, in ELA, that’s what we do.

We support and guide men in going to and understanding their depths so they can move past what has them stuck in their past beliefs and patterns, and step into what’s possible for their present and future.

Often despite their current limited view of themselves of what’s possible for them.

Spending time there can seem daunting before you do it.

Exploring the stuff we keep tucked away in a dark closet can feel terrifying. Uneasy.

Rather not, thanks.

But what we keep in the dark will run our lives from those shadows.

And we’ll continue to feign ignorance.

Like we don’t know where the light switch is.

It holds all the power in the dark.

But when we shine a light on it, when we can see it, the power it holds dissipates. Things come into focus. We start to realise that it’s not as big and scary as we might have made it out to be. We see that we can handle this.

Sure, maybe not alone. But it shows us the way. It points us to where we need to work.

And we can get to work.

And get to work we must if we are to take control of our lives and our worthiness story and step into what’s available to us.

The voice of your insecurity

Doing The Work

On a group coaching call recently, one of the guys dropped a real doozy of a question on this exact topic:

“For the longest time I didn’t believe I was good enough, I didn’t believe I was worthy of love and belonging. It was the soundtrack to so much of my life. 

Now, through the work we’ve been doing, I get it intellectually. I am good enough. I deserve and am worthy of love. Yet, I don’t seem to believe it yet. 

How do I take it from an intellectual understanding to truly believing it?”

First of all, let’s acknowledge the immense progress indicated in even asking this question.

Also a note: for brevity, we are skipping through how he got to the point of being able to understand it intellectually. That is via the type of teaching and coaching we do.

Suffice it to say, we get the guys there – that’s step one.

Step two is wrapped up in his question.

This is a common piece – I can see that this thing here makes sense but I struggle to believe it or embody the actions relevant to it.

What you must first understand, Mike, is that a foundational belief system in the realm of “I don’t believe I am worthy of love and belonging” will not only infiltrate everything in your life, but the longer it goes on (like, decades) the longer it takes to turn it around.

Think of one of those giant supertankers and ships supertankers – there is a lot of momentum when one of those things is at speed. To turn it around 180° can’t be done in an instant.



Even if you see “Oh shit, I get it intellectually that we need to be going in the other direction. This direction is taking me towards an iceberg. But it’s taking time and energy to stop the momentum of this thing.”

It will.

Big beliefs about yourself that have decades of repetition and engrained behaviours will take time to turn around.

Be patient.

And be persistent.

Keep your eyes on the prize—whatever that is for you. For example, believing deep in your bones that you are worthy of love, belonging, joy, and a dope life.

And being the embodiment of that.

This was lesson – and analogy – number one for the guys on the call with me.

Then What?

This is the tricky part.

What often happens at this point is that we want to rid ourselves of that belief, of that part of ourselves.

This can’t happen. Not really.

The thing with growth, with healing (if you want to call it that), is that we often engage in it to become better, in rejection of the part of ourselves we don’t like. That is self-rejection.

Self-rejection won’t take you to a place of self-respect and self-worth.

Real growth, real evolution, starts with accepting the parts of yourself that you have found hard to love and loving the aspects of yourself that you have found hard to love.

Enter lesson – and analogy – number two.

Where I took this with the guys was the below.

For the longest time this belief system, this way of seeing yourself and moving through life has bene driving the bus.

The bus that is your life.

The aim is not to kick him off the bus. That would be entirely counter-productive to feeling like you belong, that you are loved.

Instead, the aim is to reassure that part of yourself that he doesn’t need to drive the bus.

Your task and goal is to take the wheel.

As a sovereign adult, it is your job to drive the bus.

But if there’s an insecure kid on the bus who really just needs to be loved – despite how shit their behaviours might be on occasion – a mature, responsible steward doesn’t kick that kid off the bus.

And they certainly don’t let them drive.

You give them a comfy seat at the back. You tell them “I’ve got this now – you needn’t white knuckle the steering wheel. I’m here now and I can steer the bus”.

Let that part of you feel loved and welcome. Let him have a seat on the bus, relax, be a kid, play, listen to some music. The driving is over. But you get to be here. You are welcome here.

But from now on, I drive the bus.

In this analogy, ‘taking the wheel and driving the bus’ means taking actions in your life that take you where you want to go. Embodying the actions of a man who believes he is worthy of love and belonging.

Even if you still can’t see the whole route. Even if you can’t entirely believe that this route will get you there.

To ‘drive the bus’ is to action high self-worth behaviours because they are the road upon which you get to the destination.

As you drive the bus more you become more competent at driving the bus.

You build evidence that the action of driving moves you forward. In doing so, you start to believe in the actions and journey as a whole.

The more you do this, the more you assure the little boy now sitting in the back, who believed otherwise, that you have got this shit.

He can trust.

He needn’t try and control things by taking the steering wheel and driving you off a fucking cliff.

More specifically, you can trust yourself.

Trust that you are enough, that you are worthy of love and belonging.

So, don’t try and throw that part of you off the bus. Remind him that he is welcome, just not to drive anymore.

Take the wheel. Take the actions of a bus driver – act as if you do believe you have worth.

Trust in the journey. Be patient and persistent.

Watch what happens over time.

There’s certainly more to it. There will always be specifics for an individual.

But my intention here with these analogies is to lay out and make sense of the path needed if the specifics are going to work.