The proud legacy of working harrrrrdd


My grandma left me quite a few everyday items after she passed. She passed three months after I got my children in 2001. There she is in the picture next to me. Things like a little box of buttons, which possess Harry Potter-like magic because you will always find the exact right button you are searching.

Along with that box, I inherited some serious button-sewing skills. I have a box that has seashells glued on it from her. In the box, I hold the list of people I regularly send Reiki to. I even have a plant from her collection of flowers, which I have not been able to kill. It has moved with me from Finland to The Netherlands, and it always looks a bit neglected, but when I remember to give her water, she bounces right back.

All her life she had struggled financially, trying to figure out how to make ends meet. She was a single mom of three boys living in an era, where there was a stigma attached to that. That time, her professional options were to work as a maid or seamstress. She did both, and then she worked on the construction site.

She was tiny, proud woman. She had impeccable taste, and she could walk into any room, and her appearance could not speak anything about her financial situation. Quite contrary in fact, she was always the best-dressed person in the room.

Every month she would buy the latest fashion magazines and buy the patterns for the latest fashion items and sow herself and her clients dresses, suits, shirts etc. I remember seeing her in a winter coat, that when you looked closely, you could see the buttonholes stitched by hand, the beautiful silk inside the coat. Details like you can never find in manufactured clothes.

Sewing was her mastery. She was asked to sew the wedding gowns for the brides and tailor suits for the grooms. She would sew late through the night after getting her boys to bed. She was dutiful, hard worker and resilient.

My grandma was born in the 1913 to the parents, who had a prosperous farm, so her beginnings weren't humble. She chose a good man to marry, and as that man left for war, a different man returned. It was a tumultuous relationship which never got to a peaceful resolution. Too much had happened.

I see her work ethic passed through generations in my family, my father defying time and space with all the things he wants to get done, my sister, myself and now I even see some of that also in my children. My mother is cut from the same cloth, and even I married the man with that same programming.

We all have that inherited resilience where we refuse to let go of the thing that we have decided to accomplish. And we take pride in it. The harder it gets, the more significant and more accomplished we feel. The more pain it creates, the better we feel when we finish. Oh, how much glory I feel in my body as I write this. It gives me such a rush. To be able to associate me with these qualities that have such honour and pride in them. They make me feel like a good and deserving person.

It has been years I have tried to let go this part of my programming, but as I write about it, I can still feel it the exact way I had experienced it in my life over the decades. We have managed to pass that on to our children as well.

We are preparing for a move and the other day I sold two large armchairs. The buyer got concerned how he could get them in the truck. I looked at him like, what do you mean, we both have two healthy hands, let's get them on the car. And he looked at me like I am crazy, asking me if I was a strong woman? I couldn't figure out what he was on about because they were just two armchairs. It only dawned on me later, that this too is a cultural thing. I was raised in an environment, where asking help was often viewed as a weakness. A Finnish woman's motto is - "No thank you, no need to help. I got this." We tend to take pride in managing to do everything by ourselves. That is also why it is so easy for us to go into masculine energy and STAY there.

How do you relate to this? What if after the day has gone, you have done your best, there would still be something left in you? What if the value you based on yourself would not come from how hard you work? Here is a thought, what if you were already valuable before you did anything? What if just the sheer fact that you are born as a human being on this planet had all the value packed in it from the get-go? What if the pain you experience wasn't the measure of your success?

See this is what I see happening with women entrepreneurs. The more survival we can attach to our stories, the more heroic they get. The more validation we get from others, the more worthy we feel. Our inherited value system is a primary source of our entrepreneurial experience. Somewhere in your lineage, you were taught to relate to work and success that way. It is unequivocally linked to your success today. It may seem very unlikely, but this is also the birth-place of your self-worth issues.

The symptoms of that low self-worth are for example:

  • You work for free or you overcompensate by having your prices too high
  • Lack of boundaries with your clients or a lot of work-related personal messes.
  • Fear of criticism and angry or entitled reactions to feedback
  • Focusing on what is wrong with you - rather than what your strengths are.
  • Comparing yourself with others. 
  • Fear of failure and not being good enough.

For entrepreneurs, who suffer from these issues (most of us have been there, done that and gotten the T-shirt too) healing from this is a long, but doable journey. I am here to do just that together with you.
So let's have a chat to get you moving in the right direction.

Much love,
Mari


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