“If you really put a small value on yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.”

–Author Unknown


As a young girl, I silenced myself, believing that if I expressed my needs I would be a burden to those who cared for me.  I–like many others I know who were not properly nurtured due to a family member’s illness or other traumatic circumstance–carried that false belief into adulthood. Rather than speak up, I would deny my needs altogether, as if they did not matter. 

Believing “I am a burden” played out in many ways, where I consistently allowed others to silence me.  In one of my earlier careers as a public relations executive, my boss kicked me under the table when as I was about to speak.  He wanted to run the meeting without any input from me.  I was so shamed by that incident that it took me a long time to talk again in business settings with groups of people.  I learned to excel by going the extra mile in delivering results, often by focusing one-on-one with key professionals.  

Ironically, that same boss slowly grew to admire me.  On my final day working for him, he took me out to lunch. “It is true silent rivers run deep,” he said thoughtfully, while acknowledging me as “a woman of substance.”  I knew when I stepped out of that  restaurant door I had to shine in my own light, and reclaim the part of me that allowed others to squelch my unique contributions.  I started my own successful PR business, where speaking publicly to many people was necessary.   Later, I created a workshop business, leading groups of people through life transitions.  Teaching others, and sharing knowledge, are passions of mine.

However, because false beliefs from early childhood often linger deep within our subconscious, they still play out in our lives in later years.  We often have the opportunity to “catch them” when we notice times we are highly triggered by an event.  My trigger is when someone stonewalls me with silence as a way to try to make me “wrong” and punish me, or passively withholds feedback.  

In these situations, to eliminate thinking “I am a burden” for expressing a need to be seen or heard, I quietly center in myself and reclaim my own sense of worth.  Then, I focus on the new belief which I know is true about me as an adult woman:  I am a lovable, competent asset.   And I do not have to be competent at everything (like those who are teaching me new technical skills have witnessed) to be valuable.

When I saw myself as a burden, I lived life as a victim, and let others’ needs matter more than my own.  As I increasingly embraced myself as an asset, my inner sense of power grew and the world responded accordingly.  Higher quality people who were responsive, attentive and respectful arrived and opportunities to share knowledge in my heart-centered style expanded. 

 “What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.” –Henry David Thoreau

(The red poppy is often used as symbol of remembrance.  It is also associated with pleasure, beauty, magic and eternal life.  I thank my friend, Beth Scanzani, for sharing her photograph with us, for in today’s blog, I see the poppy representing renewal.  I hope it encourages my readers to recall their innate value, and live in the world as an expression of that uniqueness).


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  • Kimmie says:

    This is so true. The tough parts are identifying the pain and being able to come up with a solution that works. This usually takes years of reflection and learning. Too bad more people don’t make the effort to do it.

    • Gail says:


      I agree reflection helps AND we all have the power in the present to reframe our thoughts and change our words, which helps accelerate change. Calling ourselves “an asset” is so empowering, and immediately helps us stay in knowing our value versus go back to any negative past conditioning that may have us thinking less of ourselves.

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