Not feeling guilty about being paid for your work
A little over ten years ago, I started making beaded jewelry for fun. Pretty soon, I had tons of necklaces and not enough time to wear them, plus it’s kind of an expensive hobby, so I was running out of money! I decided to start selling some of my jewelry that I made. I always bought premium supplies–real gemstones, real sterling silver, quality glass beads, and more. Plus, I got a lot of compliments and gave necklaces as gifts, so I knew that people liked the things I made, and I knew they had some value. I was making pretty things for people who wanted them, so that’s a fair deal, right? The thing is, I always felt weird and guilty about it. I felt like I was selfish to ask people to buy my jewelry. I felt greedy asking for higher prices even though my jewelry-making mentor kept telling me I didn’t charge enough for my time.
Now this was kind of silly! Artists and authors sell their work all the time without feeling guilty! But I felt strange about it. This was just another symptom of low self-esteem. I didn’t feel comfortable acknowledging my own value, my talents, or the value of my skills and time. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten better about reminding myself I don’t need to feel guilty for asking for a fair price for my time! It takes time to plan and assemble a unique necklace, but I was so afraid to charge for my time that I was basically making less than minimum wage. It’s taken me years to get over that awkward feeling of greed when I am not being greedy and I’m only being fair to myself.
Last year, after some friends encouraged me, I sat down and started writing eBooks about my experiences in abusive relationships. Of course, it took me a long time, as did editing, formatting, making covers, and all of those other details. But again, I felt guilty. Was it wrong for me to charge people to purchase my story? My lessons I’ve learned? I looked at Amazon and saw plenty of other people selling similar stories for higher prices, so I knew that others didn’t seem to be hung up feeling guilty.
From reading online, I’ve learned that I’m not the only low self-esteem person who has these feelings of inadequacy or being afraid to value myself and the things I do. But, I know that these feelings aren’t completely valid. Of course I don’t want to sell junk, but I was putting time and effort into items that I felt were helpful or pretty. It’s completely reasonable to charge for my time! CEOs get millions for their work. Everyone with a job gets paid for their time. Some artists sell their original paintings for high dollars. There’s nothing wrong with my selling the things I make.
I think many “normal” confident people wouldn’t even think twice about respecting their own work. Just as with assertive people who negotiate higher salaries at work, it is a good thing to offer good results and charge a fair wage for them. I’m really trying to keep that in mind these days. 🙂 Just as with the other areas of my life, I’m learning my own value!