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Asking to be valued by others: a Gift Economy pitfall

Today I’m going to share a personal, somewhat embarrassing, truth.

I thought I was using Gift Economy pricing, and the model of offering things as part of the gift economy, to spread love and enough-ness in the world.

I think for a while, that’s what it was doing.

But then something began to happen; or rather, something was already happening in my business, and I got it all tangled up with the gift economy pricing.

I did not make as much money last year as I expected to make.

What I made is in the four figures, and I am being completely honest with you here because I find that the less money shame I hold onto, the less that shame can cause me to hang onto damaging beliefs or sabotaging business practices.

I wanted gift economy giving and receiving to change the way I behaved around my money, and to change the ways I was able to do my work for others.

But because I slipped right back into fear and scarcity every time another month went by and I was still scraping to get my bills paid, I began to equate “what others can lovingly give me” with “this is how much I deserve to be loved”.

I’m sure you can see how damaging that could be. And it was.

I let it happen, and then I realized it was happening and my pride — and my fear — did not want to do anything about it (because then it would be obvious I’d done something wrong), so instead I kept waiting for it start working.

And, therefore, it did not give me what I wanted.

Because what I really wanted was to be told I was loved.

That I was worthy.

That I was enough.

That my hard work was worth a financial exchange that would enable me to live my life with my basic needs met, and some of my wants and desires as well.

Asking someone else to love you first is not the way to understand your own worth.

It can’t hurt, maybe, but it does cover up the real issue: whether or not you really know, deep down, that money does not equal love.

Do you know this? Do you really truly know this?

I think I do now.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Nick Armstrong January 16, 2015, 7:03 pm

    This is a hard lesson to learn; I spent 3 years learning it – but you’ve got the gall to ask for what you’re worth and it’ll take some time to get there (or not, depending on how quickly you can start reselling yourself).

    I’m excited to see what you come up with and hope that 2015 is an explosive growth year :-D

    • Rhiannon January 16, 2015, 7:08 pm

      Me too, Nick! Anything compared to last year will be explosive, really. ;)

      Thank you for the encouragement. It means a lot!

  • Mary January 18, 2015, 11:09 am

    This is so true and thank you. I needed to be reminded of this. :) Beautiful article and so grateful you shared.

    • Rhiannon January 18, 2015, 1:17 pm

      And I am grateful for you being here right now. <3

  • LynnH January 18, 2015, 2:09 pm

    I make a living as a creative. In our society, earners like me make very little per hour.

    There are folks offering wonderful services which would be of immense value to me and my business. Surely they “deserve” (hate that word) to be paid what they are asking. And though I would deeply appreciate the benefits of their offerings, I must miss out on their work. It isn’t an option.

    How can their lack of income from me and others like me be indicative of their lesser worth? In this case, it’s about my own economy that they do not earn from me. It’s nothing to do with their abstract worth or their value to me and my biz. In fact, i’d say some powerhouses could help my biz more than their typical clients (who can choose from vastly more options).

    So the small must not hire the big. Or the midsized.

    No answers.

    • Rhiannon January 18, 2015, 2:26 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Lynn. <3

      Perhaps I didn’t make it clear in my post, but when I say I did not get what I wanted, it wasn’t that I didn’t get money. That was a side-effect. The issue for me was in my own heart and my own attitudes toward money. When I can be less desperate and more full of love, I can get the money I need in ways that are good for me and good for my people, whoever those people are. It has nothing to do (for me) with whatever money someone has to offer; it’s completely about what the offer of money means to me.

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