Your Reality Is a Reflection of What You Believe You Deserve


“You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.” ~Yogi Bhajan

Over the last ten years I have learned time and time again that our reality is a reflection of what we believe we deserve, often on an unconscious level.

I discovered this about a decade ago while living in Belize—a diving vacation hotspot on one end and gang-infested, poverty-ridden land on the other.

Back then I was avoiding the 9-5 life. You may say I was running from something, such as routine and following the status quo, but I was also looking to find my worth by escaping my everyday life.

I now see that my self-worth was pretty close to zero, and the concept of self-love hadn’t had a chance to make its way on my radar.

Despite the fact that I had the financial savings, my fear and inner lack of deservingness led me to a cockroach-infested wooden four by four. I can’t call it a cabin since there was neither a kitchen nor a bathroom, but luckily there was an outhouse outside.

Essentially, I had manifested my own jail cell, which represented what I thought I deserved.

I had seen other gorgeous living spaces that, in reality, were cheap, but when I saw them I thought, “I don’t deserve to be in a place like this.”

So I settled for a cockroach-infested box that scared the heck out of me. Ultimately, it was too much to bear, and I went off to the next country, once again in a living space that smelled horrendous. I stuck it out as long as I could until I was so low that I had no choice but to leave once again.

At the time I wasn’t able to see that what I had chosen was a reflection of my low self-worth. I felt like dirt and lived in it.

For years to come, that fear and lack of deservingness followed me in less than ideal living situations.

As I started to look at self-love, and practice affirmations, yoga, and meditations in nature, it was like a light went on, mostly unconsciously, until the day came when I consciously realized: I deserve better.

That was all it took. The moment I made that connection, I released my fear of my small paycheck and took action to improve my reality. I knew I had to take the first step and then the universe would follow and take care of me.

That belief and faith helped me look for better opportunities, which I finally believed I deserved, and put myself out there to pursue them.

I discovered that I had to do my part, and then I had to surrender and trust that whatever was in the highest good would manifest.

As my inner self-worth grew and I took conscious action to improve my circumstance, I finally got my own apartment and a better job.

The magic in this was that I had quit the old job where I was undervalued even before I heard back from any of the other places I had reached out to.

I took the risk and made the first step to let go of the old job that was wearing me down, and trusted that all my hard work would manifest a new opportunity.

That was exactly what happened.

What amazes me is that our practice of deeper self-love is continually evolving and growing.

It’s not like one day you wake up and everything is perfect. In reality, it’s common to wake up some days questioning your value, feeling down, and finding yourself in less than ideal situations.

This is why awareness is the magic key.

Once you are aware of this, you can change it. Once you can see that you are sabotaging yourself, you can choose to deepen your spiritual practices. This will energize you and increase your faith, helping you take action, which always leads to a more fulfilling reality.

Through the years I have continued to let go of work opportunities that no longer helped me grow or that negated my value. It’s scary every time you let go of something that feels safe (even if it is draining) but without fail I have found that when you release something that no longer serves your highest potential, you open yourself up to something better.

And yet the shadow of self-worth still comes up. Sometimes I’ll catch myself looking at something and thinking, “That’s too nice for me.”

But the difference between now and way back in the past when I lived with cockroaches is my awareness.

The moment I recognize my old habit pattern of self-worth emerging, I am able to tame the beast and realize that I am worthy, and it is okay to want and enjoy nice things.

Awareness is the first step in releasing the old habitual patterns of lack so that you can start living and breathing the feelings of a full life.

This doesn’t mean “full” of physical things, since true abundance comes from within. It’s also having proper living conditions that feel safe and peaceful, having healthy food to eat, and the ability to enjoy some of life’s pleasures.

So if you find yourself in a less than healthy and ideal situation, take a moment and ask yourself:

  1. Does this relate at all to your feelings of self-worth and self-love?
  2. Is there any way that you are responsible for creating the reality that you are living?

Take some time reflecting on these two questions, and then sit in silence for about five minutes as you follow the rhythm of your breath and focus your attention on your heart center.

Be aware of what arises. Notice without judgment, and then for the next five minutes repeat “I am worthy” or “I love myself.”

This is like creating your own mantra that you breathe in and out. It is effective at changing your self-talk so that you feed your mind positive thoughts about yourself instead of negative ones.

What you feed your mind grows and becomes your reality.

Then ask yourself:

How do you want to be living? And, how can you inject your own self-love into this equation?

Once you know your worth, once you truly care about yourself on a deep soulful level, you will want to take care of yourself and give yourself the best. Through self-love and self-worth you will find the courage to take action to live a better life.

And if you are having difficulty with this process, please remember it is a process, and rarely does this change happen overnight. But it does happen.

You can create a better life. Start by being aware of how you treat yourself. You can pray, meditate, practice affirmations, and ask your inner guidance for help.

All of these actions will increase your faith and energy, which will lead to increased positive actions to enhance your life. Start being kinder in how you talk to yourself, how much time you give yourself, and how often you treat yourself to something lovely. (This can be as simple as a warm cup of cocoa.)

Love yourself first and the world will love you back.

Photo by Aevar

About Tova Payne

Tova Payne is an author & personal coach. Her newest book, Eat Think & Live Rich: A Guide to Health and Happiness, is now available on Amazon. She runs a virtual coaching practice helping people turn their dreams to reality. For a FREE guide to starting and finishing your dream projects and weekly inspiration, sign up with Tova at Connect with Tova on Facebook.

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  • Daring3256

    timing blows my mind each and every time….as i see this quote, then this article comes up. Great!

  • Deanna Lang

    Great post, Tova. I can totally relate!

  • Cammie J. Springer Bjaranson

    I am right there learning to love myself again or maybe truly for the first time. Thank You.

  • Minal Bopaiah

    This is a wildly inappropriate headline and misinterpretation of karma. Just because your thoughts and actions influence your reality, it doesn’t mean that the corollary is true — that your reality is a pure reflection of your thoughts and actions. See this for more:

    As the Buddha said, the monsoons fall on everyone’s head — whether you
    think highly of yourself or not.

  • Jose

    Thank you so much for this great post! it’s somehow the story of my life. I was born in a low medium class family in Brazil. I was never competitive but always thought that I could have more than my neighbourhood could offer. I studied in a public university and at the age of 23 I left the country to study/work abroad. I came to Europe without knowing one single person. That was 10 years ago. The best years of my life! I met some of my best friends, travelled to amazing countries and, just a few months ago, completed a PhD at the University of Cambridge. I know that by then I should be happy and celebrating but I fell into deep depression just a couple of weeks after my graduation. Deep inside I knew the reason for that: I compared myself with my relatives and friends who stayed in Brazil and came to the conclusion that I wasn’t different from them. And since I was just like them, why did I have more? It took me a couple of months to realise that I did want that life and that’s why I was able to live it. My Brazilian friends and family wanted something different and took another path. In other words, we had different lives because we wanted different things. Now I am good and getting better each day. I still have some doubts but keep on reminding myself that the best way to achieve something is to want it with all your might. If it’s ok for you and doesn’t hurt anybody, you will get it… that’s for sure 🙂

  • Sally Brown

    One of the best posts ever!!

  • Talya Price

    This is amazing post. Lately I have been dealing with self-worth, especially when it comes to relationships and my career. There are sometimes when I think that I am not worthy of a relationship because I have made too many mistakes and I try to hard and I am too forward, and I don’t fit in. And with terms of my career, I sometimes believe that I am not worthy because of my age and the fact that I didn’t study theater in high school and university. And the industry will say that I am a “late starter”. Sometimes I feel like I wasted so much time, when the average actress starts her career when she is 18.

  • Tova

    Thank You sally. I’m humbled by your words. Thank You 🙂

  • Tova Payne

    Thanks for sharing your story and wisdom Jose. Yes! Right on!!

  • Tova Payne

    Thank you for sharing here Talya. I feel everything you’re saying is something so many of us can relate to and feel. We’re either too young or too old or too this or too that. And I think about how Louise Hay started her publishing company wayyyyy later in life! It’s never too late. I feel finding a role model of somebody who has done things later than typical is what helps remind us – Oh Yeah!! Its NOT too late. You can do this. Now is the time, why not ? 😉

  • Tova Payne

    Thank You 🙂

  • Tova Payne

    Thanks Deanna

  • Tova Payne

    Ah thanks for sharing that…Yes, divine timing, things do tend to show up all at the same time 😉

  • Susan

    Beautiful post Tova! I couldn’t agree more with your message 🙂

  • Tova Payne

    Thanks Susan 🙂

  • Amy

    My mantra is that Im a good person and I deserve to be happy.

  • onewithnature

    This post could not have come into my life at a better time. I’m handling a few issues and pretty much hit rock bottom. Slowly but surely things are turning around. Your post lit a bigger and brighter fire under me! Thank you for the encouragement and enlightenment!

  • Thank you for sharing. Ending self-sabotage was such a journey for me! (Here is a post I wrote about it: ). It’s amazing how many of us perceive ourselves as unworthy, and how difficult it can be to break free from that.

    I’m glad you were able to overcome this, and I hope that many more will read your words and break free from their own prisons.

  • daedalus

    amazing post , really cleared my mind up and helped refocus some things that I’ve been going through. thank you for sharing, dont mind the critics, people like you should share their mind freely.

  • Kathryn from BrilliantLivingHQ

    Thank you for this post Tova, I loved hearing about your journey and the stages you’ve been through, it was very inspiring.

    I agree that being aware is the first crucial step and that leads to action. We have to believe we deserve the life we desire. and that we have the ability to make changes in our lives. Yes, this process of recognising this can lead to some uncomfortable realisations about what we think is holding us back and what we believe about ourselves and our circumstances. However recognising these beliefs and taking ownership of our power to make changes has the potential to liberate and transform us. I recently wrote a post exploring this notion of taking control of your life, for anyone interested it can be found here:

  • People who right such articles may not probably know how much what they write exactly matches the situation and experiences of so many people. All the posts i have read so far in this site has been the kind of advice I needed at the moment, like today I needed to know how I can change my own reality and i stumbled upon this post. I’m so grateful this site exists and so many amazing authors are contributing great posts to it such as this one!

  • Paul Fletcher

    Fantastic article! Self worth and self love are definitely something I have struggled with over the years. They limit your potential, and are destructive in many senses. Meditation and mindfulness are a powerful antidote to these negative forces

  • MidnightRaver

    I was going to post something negative. I thought better of it.

  • Kelly Brown

    I agree with this wholeheartedly and do not let naysayers in.