Know Your Worth– Then Add Tax

Colorblock sweaterdress + over the knee boots
Outfit Details: Colorblock Sweaterdress, c/o • Heart SunglassesOver The Knee BootsSimilar Quilted Crossbody

#Hairflip lol

“Know your worth– then add tax.” This is something I’ve seen on Pinterest boards, Instagram motivational quotes, Tumblr. (OK, I haven’t seen it on Tumblr because I don’t go on Tumbr, but I imagine it must be there.) It’s an important idea… understanding your value and refusing to accept anything less than you deserve.

Knowing your value… in blogging.

I’ve heard it a lot among my blogger pals. As an industry, blogging has been changing over the last few years. What started out as a “silly” hobby that no one took seriously has evolved into a billion dollar industry that has revolutionized the world of marketing. With that, we bloggers often find ourselves constantly having to defend ourselves– our jobs, our time, being paid. Can you imagine having to prove to your boss that you deserve to be paid every day? Can you imagine being offered a job in exchange for a free dress, tube of toothpaste or pair of boots? (Take it a step further: can you imagine trying to tell your landlord you will be paying your rent in protein bars? No joke, there is a VERY well known protein bar company that emails me every week asking for posts in exchange for (1) box of free protein bars lol.) Know your worth. Then add tax.

Sure, it’s nice to get a free dress. But it’s not really free, if I’m expected to post, guess what, I have to claim the (retail) value of the dress as income on my taxes and pay taxes on it. Free dresses are nice. But, at the end of the day– I have to pay my rent and all my bills.

Of course there are times I partner with brands without receiving payment. I do this when it’s a brand I absolutely love and would post anyway. I do it for brands I have good relationships with when I want to promote them a little. I do it when I want to and can. But at the end of the day, it’s important to view those transactions through the right lens: I deserve to be compensated. My work has value and worth and so do I. If I choose to throw in freebies for brands I believe in, that’s amazing and I am in the right to do so. (I do it when I can!) But that should be the exception, not the rule.

I struggle with this sometimes. There have been times a brand asks me for a rate and I hem and haw over it, worried that the rate I sent is too high and they won’t think I’m worth it. WHY? You guys, my readers, trust me. You care about my recommendations, you value my opinion. I’m worth it.

You don’t have to be a blogger to feel this. Women do this all the time at work. Remember my blog post about “Don’t Apologize, Drop the ‘Just‘”? I talked about it then– how we as women so often are apologetic in the workplace, making excuses for our thoughts, opinions, corrections, etc. THAT deep down is all about self value. Knowing your worth, understanding what you bring to the table, and not apologizing for it.

Knowing your value… in relationships

This also isn’t just a workplace issue. If we’re being honest, it’s a feeling we take home too. How many relationships have we been in which we’ve settled for less than we deserve? One-sided friendships, unbalanced romantic relationships… Especially as you get older, it’s tempting to think that your options are limited and that you have to just settle.

You don’t. First of all, it’s way better to be alone than to be with someone who undervalues you. Second of all, it simply isn’t true. There’s actually a name for it, it’s called a “Scarcity Mentality”. When you live life under a Scarcity Mentality, you’re subconsciously afraid that there’s nothing better out there and that this is your last chance. When it doesn’t work out, you’re inevitably broken hearted over it. (OF COURSE!! If there was really only one chance for you find love, of course you’re going to be devastated!) When you live under a Scarcity Mentality, you often find yourself settling for less than you deserve, rationalizing being treated badly, and accepting being undervalued.

You teach people how to treat you. Other people pick up on the value that you have set for yourself, and they mirror it back to you. If you undervalue yourself, chances are someone else will too. It’s important to set clear boundaries for people and to make sure that your words and actions align with the value you’ve placed on yourself.

People of character will fight to be in your life. You don’t have to settle for scraps or worry about rocking the boat… if someone is worth your energy, they’ll move heaven and earth to make it happen. If they’re not willing to put in the time or effort to give you the things you deserve, move on. If someone values and respects you, they will prove that by their actions and will fight for you.

So, what’s the opposite?

The opposite of this is called the “Abundance Mentality.” If you’re living in an Abundance Mentality you know there are better things out there and much greener pastures ahead. Scarcity Mentality is rooted in fear and the Abundance Mentality is rooted in confidence.

When we are living in an Abundance Mentality, it is easier to let go of what is not for us. We know that it’s just a matter of time before the next one comes around; a better job, a more lucrative blog partnership, a different guy, a healthier friendship. We don’t have to settle because the options are limitless.

We have to retrain our minds that we are worth it and that the best is yet to come. But how?

How do we escape the Scarcity Mentality and live in an Abundance Mentality?

I think a big part of escaping this trap of value and fear is to look at the Bible and what God says about us. Understanding that He himself as designed us and that His plans are bigger and better than our plans. (Psalm 139:13-14) God has created us in His image and because of who He is, we have value and worth. Our worth is not determined by our Instagram following, our bank account, our reflection in the mirror, or what’s in our closet. It is determined by His sacrifice for us– the blood of His only Son.

At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves– do we really believe everything the Bible says about God and how He feels about us? Do we really deep down believe that He is taking care of us? (Matthew 6:26-30) Do we believe that He has plans for us and that they’re better than the ones we make for ourselves? (Jeremiah 29:11) Do we trust that He loves us and works out everything for our good? (Romans 8:28)

If we’re living in a Scarcity Mentality, deep down, we are not trusting that God has our best interest at heart or that He has plans for us. We are acting as if we do not believe His Word and that we are in control of our own destinies. Which is a pretty scary way to live, by the way!

Yes, to a certain point, we are absolutely responsible for our destinies. It is our responsibility to live our lives in line with God’s Word. We are responsible for our choices and our actions. But if we are living in His truth and walking with Jesus as we should be, we don’t need to fear. Fear is absolutely not a part of the equation, because underneath we it all, we trust that our God is good all the time and that He is taking care of us. When we have confidence that He is going to make sure that our physical, spiritual, and emotional needs are all met, fear is no longer something we live with.

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I hope that today we are all challenged to reexamine our priorities, our self-worth and the boundaries we’ve set both in our personal and professional lives. I pray that we all have the strength to walk away from the things that aren’t for us and that we have the courage to stand up for what’s ours and what we deserve.

Thank you so much for letting me share my heart with you. I am so blessed to be able to do so. Loving you guys so, so much, as always. Know your worth. Then add tax.

XO Steph

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