Because your worthiness is not a commodity that can be bought or sold.As long as we attach any of our human value to what we produce and create, we will always be selling ourselves short. This is the extraction of capitalism deeply embedded in our culture. This is also the doorway in to disrupt the harm it causes.
The shift is relational, and de-centering profit.
It is founded in our commitment to invest in ourselves, our happiness, our well-being, our wild ideas, our creative process, our unique perspectives, our wholeness and healing, and owning our value from the ground up. Grassroots nurturing and care. When we put the relationship with ourselves first, we can then invite others to invest in our potential as well, and not just buy our stuff. Can you feel the subtle difference?
When we truly see the inherent value in ourselves, it also allows us to see the same innate value in others. This is core to dismantling systems.
The things we make are the fruits of our labor, but they are not the tree. Extraction wants the fruit at any cost, even if it kills the tree itself. It says the tree that bears no fruit is not as equally valuable, and will seek to strip its bark and sell off its wood for profit. It also tells a story that devalues any part of the ecosystem that is not a tree.
If we believe in ourselves as artists, change-makers, co-creators, collaborators, connectors, sorcerers, and infinite wells of wisdom and creativity, everything we make has value whether it earns money or not... because we are all the forest, and the forest is the most precious and vital organism.
What if we built creative work that tended the entire interdependent ecosystem?
A few ways this would look... (and good questions to ponder along the way):
- Accessibility, instead of exclusivity - (is there a way for everyone to participate, learn, grow? who is not in the room, at your table, and why?)
- Sharing resources, instead of scarcity "not-enough" mindset - (what do I have in abundance to give? how do I help nurture the collective soil? Also, I am enough here and now.)
- Building values-driven cohorts over homogenized "like-minded" communities - (does my community look just like me? does it attract people of all kinds of social and economic backgrounds and different abilities? where are the gaps in my own field of vision?)
- Truly living your values, instead of performing woke-ness (<--- this is a big one y'all. Beliefs, values and awareness have zero impact. It's our actions towards change that make a difference. Make peace with this common mistake and take action, one small step at a time.)
- Your creative work helps to break down barriers in some way. It does not primarily serve to uphold, replicate, or benefit those with the most privilege - (how can I be in service to those most marginalized?)
Keep seeking to do no harm with what you create. Reach out to others for support while learning. Earning money is not inherently harmful unless it is at the expense or marginalization of others. Getting paid well for your incredible creativity simply allows you to do more good with all of your resources! It also helps you make informed decisions about the kinds of transactions that best serve your values and work.
AND remember... we are so much more than what we do, produce, grow and create. You are worthy because you exist.