Around 8 years ago, I quit my career as a financial analyst just a few weeks shy of giving birth to my second child. At the time, it seemed like the most sensible thing to do. We couldn’t afford daycare for both kids and with my older child starting preschool later that year, it just made more sense for me to be at home with the baby while also being able to see to our older child’s needs.

Being a CPA and a CGMA, this was hard for me as I missed having mental stimulation and honestly, there is only so much that one can discuss in mother’s groups: has your child started sleeping through the night? What do you feed a fussy eater? Potty training. Most of the time, you live, breathe, sleep and exist just talking about your children, their struggles, their milestones. Please don’t get me wrong, it is great talking about our kids but somewhere, I felt lost.

I was known as “such and such’s” mother, no longer feeling that I had an identity of my own. The first 4 years were completely dedicated to taking care of my son – from breast milk jaundice, suspected asthma, weight gaining problems, incessant ear infections, gag reflex, surgery to speech therapy, naming just a few of the challenges he faced. Through it all, I was silently battling postpartum depression.

At this point, I wish to mention that I come from a culture where one’s value and worth is determined by what they do – career, education, money they earn etc, thus being a stay at home mom is considered worthless. While battling depression, I was taunted by people I expected to stand by me unconditionally. Nothing I did was “good enough”, there was criticism on every level from the clothes I wore to how I managed my house, how I raised my children, the food I cooked – you get the picture. I started to doubt myself and I slowly began to feel that nothing I did was right and I really had no worth or value.

After being declined treatment by a doctor, I took matters into my own hands and turned to fitness as a way to pour my negative emotions into something that wouldn’t get hurt by my mood swings. Over a period of two years, I successfully lost 60lbs and I chose to join a fitness MLM to help others with my experience. But I had a hidden agenda. I wanted to show those people who put me down that I wasn’t worthless, that I could have a “career” working from home, a career that changed lives.

I slaved away at this “business”, offered free one-on-one training, worked long hours, weekends but I didn’t see the kind of financial success I was hoping for. A part of me believed that it was because of the lack of availability of the MLM’s products in other countries from where women contacted me seeking my help. And after a year of this, I chose to walk away from this business and start my own fitness gig to serve the women who couldn’t purchase the products sold by the MLM.

I dove in head first, worked so hard, I was relentless in the pursuit of success in this business but again, all with the ulterior motive of proving how “worthy” I was to those people who taunted me. I wanted to show them that I am not the useless person they made me out to be and that their criticism of me was baseless. Two years later, I didn’t see financial success though I helped closed to 1,500 women across the globe lead a healthier lifestyle through my free offers, very few invested in my paid courses.

I had no choice but to close this business down as well because I wasn’t breaking even. I was left shattered and I slipped into depression again. I just couldn’t figure out why I didn’t succeed despite the immense effort I put into my work, the passion I poured into it and the dedication I gave to it. Doesn’t hard work equal success? What was the missing link?

It took months of a roller coaster of emotions to understand where I went wrong. And I found the missing link in Katrina Ruth’s course “High Level Manifestation” which I received as a gift from her. The missing link was the simple fact that my goals were not aligned with my core values. I was working against my core values and that is what prevented me from seeing success.

Let me explain. My ultimate core value is self-respect. No matter what, this is a non-negotiable value for me. I will not compromise my self-respect, my self value and self worth for anything nor for anyone. I will not do anything that doesn’t make me feel respected. Respecting myself is the basis, the ground zero of everything I do.

In chasing my business dreams, my primary goal was not financial success but my primary goal was to prove my worth and value to people who wouldn’t even recognise the value of the Kohinoor diamond. My goals were in conflict with my core values – there was no way I would have succeeded, no matter how hard I worked. Any self-respecting individual doesn’t need to prove their worth to anyone because they value themselves enough not to feel the need to.

This was a huge “aha” moment for me and I took the time to unlearn what my culture taught me from childhood (I am still learning as I need to remind myself constantly that it is not what I do that makes me worthy but it is who I am without the banner of what I do that is my identity, my worth and my value). I am learning to embrace and internalise the fact that I don’t have to do or be anything to feel worthy – I am worthy because I exist and I exist because of I am worthy of existing. Here, as I am, I am valuable, I matter and I don’t need to prove it to anyone. I wouldn’t be here today if I wasn’t worthy of being in this world. Period.