High-achieving women are often high-achieving because they are trying to prove to themselves that they have inherent value in the world. They identify themselves by the things they achieve and the titles they have, whether they are relationship titles like “wife,” “partner,” “mother” or career/degree titles like “manager,” “doctor,” “PhD.”
The problem with tying one’s worth in the world to a title is that titles aren’t permanent. We see this often in women who have assigned their worth to being a mother. What happens when that woman’s children grow up? Where does she obtain her value when she no longer has her children’s lives to manage? What if she is a doctor or a professor but decides to leave her profession? If she has decided her value is in the title Dr., what happens when she gives that up to do something else? Is she demoting herself?
The answers to these questions are both simple and complex. The simple answer is that humans are never worthy because of something they DO; they are worthy simply because they are human beings on the planet. Human beings are inherently worthy because they exist. Period.
But for those of us who struggle with our self-worth, acceptance of this fact is difficult. I have seen women struggle mightily with it. They offer me evidence for why they can’t belie