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Your Self-Worth Isn’t What You Earn, It Is In Who You Are

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Recently, I was listening to a conversation, wanting to cry for this other woman, thinking, “our value system is so distorted.” 

Friends were talking about how this man was so amazing because of the money he brings in. 

This isn’t bad, but it was bookended with how it’s so great because his partner doesn’t. So I leaned in, hoping this conversation wasn’t going to highlight the value of the one who “brings home the bacon” over the one who doesn’t. 

I sat there listening to how wonderful he is, how hard he works and how much he deserves a break because she’s dependent on him financially. It sort of went like, “if it wasn’t for him…”

Taking the path of curiosity, instead of the defence, because I could relate to how she must feel, I asked what she does. I wanted to hear her story that was being left out while they chatted about his greatness. What I found out was, what doesn’t she do?! 

She takes care of the house, the cleaning, the shopping, the cooking, the animals, paying the bills, planning and hosting their friends and family, booking appointments, laundry, the gardens, most of the yard work…I could go on, but you get the point. On top of all of that, she is a really good human being. 

And if she worked full time, like him, she would still have to do ALL those things.

Yes, this man is great, but so is she. And they are great together because of the partnership they have created. 

Here is why I wanted to talk about this. She feels like she has no value, and from the outside, other people see her like that by minimizing her for not “bringing home the bacon” or matching his income. She can hear it in the way people talk about him versus her. 

Why he is perceived to be more valuable than her? Why is she considered a dependent? 

The answer is that he’s not more valuable in that relationship and she’s not dependent on him. It is a partnership. But she just can’t get past it because even though he appreciates all that she does, externally, people always dismiss her. 

I have personal experience with this. 

When my husband got a great job offer that would take us from Ottawa to Saskatoon, I had to leave my 10 year career behind. At first I was so excited, thinking it would be great to have the time to figure out what my next steps would be.

I stayed behind when we first relocated. Having resigned and not going to work every day, we decided that it was best if I stayed to sell the house and get everything ready for the permanent relocation. 

Before resigning, I was making more money than my husband. I didn’t realize how much value I had placed on the money I was making. What was once exciting, turned to stress very quickly. My husband was now the main revenue earner and I was completely dependent on him financially. 

With Jason off on his new adventure, and me now a temporary stay at home wife, I didn’t feel like I was bringing anything to the relationship. My value system was so messed up. I couldn’t see the importance of what I was doing to support him and to get everything ready for our relocation.

Looking back, I don’t know how I did it all on my own. But back then, all I could focus on was how much I felt like I was dependent on him financially. Mentally and emotionally this started to affect my self worth. 

For over a decade I had put all my worth into this career I was building. If I wasn’t working hard, if I wasn’t climbing the ladder, if I wasn’t sacrificing to earn, I wasn’t worthy. 

I would listen to conversations, like the woman in the story above, about how wonderful Jason was, feeling like I was nothing now that I had no career. Feeling so small. 

I had to unlearn so much so that I could learn that my value, my worth, was never in my career, or how much money I earned. It is in who I am as a person. I was always valuable. I was always worthy. I couldn’t control what other people perceived, but I could continue to remind myself of this truth. 

I was, nor have I ever been dependent on Jason. We are a team. Me not working for a year helped him so much. To this day he will tell me that he could never have taken the leap he had if I had not done all that I did.

But in all transparency, he struggled during this year as well. It was stressful for him to be the main revenue earner. He didn’t want to disappoint me. He didn’t want to fail. He had put his worth in this new phase of his career as well. It changed the dynamic of our relationship and we had to navigate our way through that. 

This has been one of the most difficult lessons for us to learn as a couple. Realizing the value that we both bring and how it will differ at times, but also that it is all important. One “job” isn’t more important than the other. 

So listening to this conversation my friends were having, plus remembering my own experience with this, has really made me see how much we have to change our value system. Everything that someone does to live life (and everything that encompasses that) matters. Whether there is monetary value in it or not. It all makes a difference. It’s all necessary. It’s all worthy. It’s all valuable. 

I have so much more I want to share on this topic, but I’ll leave you with this for today. 


Not because of what you earn financially, but because you are YOU. 

All love,


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© 2014 Contagiously Positive
All rights reserved
Website by Monolith Digital