When I was 8 years old, I remember my mom complaining that my dad was watching a program (probably sports) that no one else enjoyed. My dad looked at her and said, “It’s my TV. I paid for it, and I’ll watch whatever I want.”
I saw the look of hurt in my mom’s eyes and I remember thinking, “I will always make my own money. No one will ever say that to me.” And I have always made money, and no one has ever said anything like that to me.
When I was in my early 30’s (the ripe old age that my dad was when he made the statement about who owned the TV) I was in the position of making money when my husband didn’t. I gained understanding of how my father could say things to my mom on the basis of who “made the money.”
Quite simply, it is stressful and challenging to be the sole provider for a family, and there is a certain amount of understandable frustration that goes with it – that is, until you consider the fact that you always have a choice about how you feel.
And being completely responsible for the financial well-being of your family can either feel stressful or it can feel fantastic. (Which do you think I’ve chosen to feel?)
Unfortunately, early in our relationship, I found myself perpetuating the errors of my father and I judged my husband for not making money and said demeaning things to him.
Fortunately, I knew that this was not the way I wanted to treat my husband, nor the way I wanted to be in the world. I sought counseling, and I’ll never forget my counselor saying, “You love Doug. You have a great relationship. But you want to leave him because he’s not a provider?”
At that moment I realized that Doug has always supported me in every way except financially. And what I’ve learned since then is that the thing you want most from your partner - or anyone in your life (although this is a tall order for a mate, let alone a stranger) – is that they that see you and value you for exactly who you are.
The support I want from my husband is his unfailing belief in me. And that’s how I learned what everyone deserves to hear in any relationship: “You are worthy. You are enough whether you make money or not. I love and believe in you no matter what.”
Doug’s faith in me helped me resign from my hospital job last year. That job satisfied many of my needs – to be of service, to make income to support my family – but was no longer my passion. No matter how great the health and dental benefits are, they’re not as compelling as the benefits that come from actualizing my creative dreams.
Doug and I don’t have a lot of savings now (we used to have quite a bit – over $20K – but they were invested in my business over the last 2 years), but we also have no consumer debt. We drive 16-year old cars and we practically own our home.
Last year we formed a Plan B that we’d rent our house and live in Guatemala if we couldn’t bring in enough income to support us. But every month we make our “nut” and it doesn’t look like we’ll be moving south of the border any time soon.
Was it scary to dash the “security” of a good hospital job for the dream of designing my days exactly how I see fit? It was scary as Hell. But did you notice that I can’t even write “security” without quotes?
In our current economy, I don’t think any job is secure. Economy aside, life is rarely as secure as we think it is—and often what security we do have we acquire at the cost of something more important.
Here’s what is secure: my knowledge that no one – certainly not some hospital administrator - knows better than I do how to provide for me. That’s something I decided when I was eight, and my conviction has only gotten stronger every day since then.
Here’s what else is secure: Doug’s unwavering faith in me. I’ve learned to return that faith in him. Of course, we don’t have guarantees that we’ll be successful in our creative endeavors (um, who does?), but we believe in each other no matter what.
What do you think it means to be worthy of love and respect?
Stacey is a purpose and success coach who helps you give birth to your BIG dreams. To find your purpose and passion, check out her FREE eBook, The Purpose and Passion Guidebook.
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