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Excerpted from Everyday Enlightenment by Dan Millman. Copyright © 1999 by Dan Millman. Excerpted by permission of Time Warner Publishers and Time Warner Bookmark.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Lottery winners and others who suddenly receive large sums of money (or fame) sometimes encounter (self-created) troubles if they see their good (but unearned) fortune as undeserved."

Dan Millman, Everyday Enlightenment, Part 5

In the Mirror of Everyday Life

Perhaps the most realistic way to determine what you believe you deserve is to observe your life as it is right now. The state of your relationships, work, finances, education, and lifestyle reflects your perceived worth--how good you can currently stand it. Of course, not every person living in poverty lacks money solely because of low self-worth. There are conditions, such as where you were born or grew up, over which you had little or no control. But as you grew, you chose your response to your situation--a response that reflected, and helped shape, your sense of worth.

Money and Self-Worth

Your perceived worth is another kind of belief that impacts how deserving you feel of abundance. Other factors being equal, money scarcity is often related to low self-worth and resultant self-sabotage. For example, lottery winners and others who suddenly receive large sums of money (or fame) sometimes encounter (self-created) troubles if they see their good (but unearned) fortune as undeserved, as illustrated by the following story told to me some years ago by a rabbi:

A little tailor lived in a dingy tenement in a small town in the Midwest, earning a meager existence. But each year he pursued a dream and bought one ticket in the Irish sweepstakes. For fifteen years his life continued in this manner, until one day he found two men standing in his doorway and smiling. They stepped inside and informed him that he'd just won the sweepstakes--$1,250,000, in those days a fortune.

The tailor could hardly believe his ears. He was a rich man! He would no longer have to spend long hours altering clothing, hemming dresses, making pants cuffs. Now he could really live! He locked his shop, threw away the key, and bought himself a wardrobe fit for a king. The same day he purchased a limousine and hired a driver and reserved suites at the best hotels in New York City. Soon he was seen with a variety of attractive young women.

He partied every night, spending his money as if it would last forever. But it didn't; soon he had lost not only all his money, but his health as well. Exhausted, ill, and alone, he returned to his little shop and started his life over. Everything returned to normal; out of habit he even bought one lottery ticket a year from his meager savings.

Two years later, the two gentlemen reappeared at his door. "This has never happened in the history of the sweepstakes, sir, but you have won again!" The tailor stood on shaky legs and said, "Oh, no! Do you mean I have to go through all that again?" As the tailor's story exemplifies, how we handle money (or power or fame) often reflects our sense of self-worth.

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