As you guys know, my self-worth has been tested many times throughout this tumultuous journey to self-love, but this was different. Instead of facing that undeniable insecurity or admirable pride within myself through some romantic endeavor with a guy, my self-worth was put to question when it came to work. More specifically, "my rate."
I knew that once I left the corporate life behind and ventured out into the business world as a freelancer, I was going to have to put on my big girl pants and promote the shit out of myself. That meant putting myself out there, doing work that I was passionate about and some that I wasn't so passionate about to make ends meet, not taking anyone's BS, being my biggest and hardest cheerleader, and--most importantly and the most awkward--making sure I was getting paid what I felt I deserved.
I was already irked at the idea of talking about money, because I'm Middle Eastern, and we don't really discuss finances. Add the fact that I was new to this, a woman (because women are constantly made to feel like we're always "asking for too much" with anything and we should take whatever we can get) and someone who tends to lower the bar out of fear of rejection, and I was in for a doozy!
The good thing, though, is that my approach to business is very different than my approach to relationships (take note of that, Bruna). I know what I can create and produce. I know that what I have to offer in the business world is rare and I know how hard I work, so yes, I can justify why I may ask for more than others. However, I was still caught off-guard during a business meeting when a guy asked me, "So what's your rate? What are you worth?"
Well, buddy, that's a loaded question.
I never like to be willy-nilly with these things, so I did my research to see the standard prices for the types of services I offered, and then, through conversations with previous employers, colleagues and friends who know my work ethic, came up with fair and various price points for my range of services.
And guess what? I'm not cheap!
It took so much out of me to not only deliver my rate with confidence, but to stand by it when people would try to lower my price.
"No, this is my rate. If that's not within your budget, then I can't help you."
Ah, that's so scary! But that's what I'd do, because if you want my work, you're going to have to pay for my quality. After all, it's business. And I need to eat.
What was refreshing was conducting business with people who not only agreed to my rates, but would coach me and express that they'd pay even more for my services.
"You're great at what you do. You're a great person. Don't settle for anything less than X."
It's kinda crazy to think about how your personal insecurities that may seem to only affect your personal affairs, actually leak into all aspects of your life.
As I mentioned earlier, it was easy to justify my needs and "worth" when it came to business, because I knew the quality of the work I was putting out. So why should that be any different when it comes to dating?
It may not be cut and dry like a writing sample, but I know what I have to offer in a relationship. I know that not a lot of people love like me. I know that I will always give over 100 percent. So when I sit down and I think about that, and I analyze the situation with a business mindset, then it's hard not to place a high value on myself.
What began as a journey to creating an entirely new career path for myself turned out to align with the path I was always on--realizing that I'm worth more than I give myself credit for, accepting my actual value, and owning it.
I don't allow potential clients to lower my worth, so why would I ever let a potential lover do the same?