I have a confession to make. One that doesn’t come easily. or make much sense to many people. One that has taken my entire life time to face. I have low self-esteem! It sounds impossible right ? I have a world record ? That takes courage, that takes stepping out of the shadow into that space where people can see you and judge and mock. I was lucky, I had a strong desire, one that was strong enough to overcome my fear.

How do I know this is true ? I battle to hold onto who I am when there are strong voices around me. I struggle with finding the right thing to say or do when surrounded by judgement and criticism – I freeze! Even writing about it I can feel it, a strangle hold on my throat, a feeling as if some-one has punched me in the gut and with it comes terror. The terror of being wrong. The terror of being worthless. The terror of being invisible!

It is such a relief to have a name to this thing that has weighed me down because now I can own it and change it.

My name is Verna van Schaik! I am the Deepest Woman in the World and I have no self-esteem! I do not believe in myself!

There! I said it again! My shameful secret is out! Only now I feel free, not shamed! I spent a decade of my life in diving proving to myself (and so the world) that I was enough! I created proof beyond doubt that I, me, myself, I was as good as anyone else – after all who can argue with the deepest dive. Then I set out to take that feeling of freedom and limitless possibility and put it into my work world.

Scroll forward another decade and I found myself stuck in that awful place of misery. No longer believing or liking myself because I nothing I did was valued, appreciated or right. I found myself continuously trying to find the right thing to do, trying to please a boss who couldn’t be pleased, a boss who didn’t see me and certainly didn’t value my contribution.

And then I listened to a story about self-esteem and that story simply said – your value has nothing to do with WHAT YOU DO! A baby comes into this world and can’t do or say anything yet anyone who has ever held a baby knows it has value! So when did we learn that to be worthy and accepted we had to DO stuff ?

What if the value you have wasn’t and isn’t dependant on what you do ? When you read that, who was the person you saw in front of you that made you believe something else ? A parent ? A teacher ? A significant other ? All of them ?

What if they were wrong ? What if they were just following the pattern that their parents and teachers had lived ? What if they never got to choose and what if…what if you can make a choice right now to no longer let anyone else determine your worth because the mere fact that you were born gave you value ?

What if value isn’t something you earn it is something you express through your uniqueness ?

I am starting this journey! I am making that choice to not let anyone ever determine my worth or value! I am making the choice to choose to be in places where I can freely express my value! Because your self-esteem, your value isn’t a negotiation! It is a fact! It is a choice you get to make! You get to take it back!

Three steps are supporting me on this.

1) I am practicing just accepting who I am! The sky is blue – I accept that! I can’t change it! I make mistakes! I accept that! I am learning, I accept that! I have a non-model body – I can’t change it (I have tried fighting it), so I accept that. I am practicing feeling what it feels like to simple accept and then, when I am in that energy and space, to really look at myself and just start accepting.

2) I am practicing appreciating myself. I appreciate the silence and joy of a spectacular sunset. I appreciate the fact that I refuse to give up. I appreciate the fact that I see the world differently because without that way of thinking I would not be in this place right now

3) I am learning awe! I am in awe of a simple orchid flower, watching it go from a green bump, to a green bubble to a spectacular flower. I am in awe of myself – of my ability to create and my ability to understand and translate what I see and think and experience. I am in awe of the people I meet who share their stories, of their courage and persistence and power to create.

My name is Verna van Schaik! I used to believe that I had no worth, no value, not unless I could prove it! My name is Verna van Schaik and I have limitless worth and value, non of which requires me to do or say anything that anyone  else agrees with or accepts.

I accept myself ! I appreciate myself! I am in awe of me!

I dare you to start being in awe of yourself!

I dare you to refuse to let anyone else measure your worth and find you lacking!

I are you take back your power, to take back your self-esteem and worth and value.

Because once you have that you can create anything!!! With ease and flow and joy!