World Renowned Psychologist, philanthropist, and family advocate Cheryl Saban, Ph.D tome
What is Your Self-Worth? , a Woman’s Guide to Validation (Hay House) reveals a simple yet comprehensive program for overcoming emotional and environmental barriers women are faced with every day resulting in happiness and fulfillment, presented in a way that engages both the mind and heart. We had the utmost honor of Dr. Saban share with us her thoughts on overcoming her obstacles and empowering women... Enjoy
Cheryl Saban, Ph.D: My life trajectory included plenty of episodes that contributed to my feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. I was raped at the age of 18 – an experience that affected me for many years. I subsequently went on to have two marriages that both failed. I was twice divorced by the time I was thirty-four, and struggled for a time as a single mother who couldn't’t afford health care insurance. I basically thought I was ‘damaged’ goods.
At one of my lowest points, when I had to practically drag myself to a free health clinic to get medical treatment, I had an epiphany. I had been feeling so worthless, that I assumed the word ‘worthless’ was tattooed on my forehead. Amazingly, when I walked through the doors of the clinic, the doctors – both male and female, didn’t see me as worthless. They treated me with respect and compassion. I don’t know why this particular act of kindness was so impactful, but it really turned my light on; it was a wake-up call for me. I had been perpetuating my feelings of inadequacy by thinking and feeling that way. Luckily for me, I finally got the message that if I wanted to live a happy, fulfilling life, I would need to take more responsibility for making it happen. At that moment, my attitude shifted, and suddenly, everything changed. Though change obviously didn’t happen immediately, this was the incident that catalyzed my rediscovery of my worth and personal power.
La Petite Blog: There’s a pivotal moment in a young girl/woman’s life from entering college, joining the workforce, getting married or having children: why is it that women often feel transparent and depressed during or after these accomplishments and what role do men play in it?
Cheryl Saban, Ph.D: I think women everywhere still struggle with stereotypes and cultural mores that continue, perhaps subconsciously, to prescribe our behaviors. We’re expected to perform certain duties, to follow certain guidelines, and to behave a certain way. We’ve grown up within family guidelines and rituals that set the stage for our lives. And on top of that, society sends mixed messages.
When we’re assertive and aggressive, we’re not necessarily praised for it. In fact, such behavior by women is often viewed negatively. We straddle a line between tradition and modernity. Even though we’ve made significant gains in terms of freedoms and access in most westernized societies, we are still trying to function within a predominately male-oriented mindset. We’re nearly fifty % of the population, we do 66% of the labor, yet receive only 11% of the world’s income. That’s a significant disparity. It’s not easy to press against and change the status quo – but if it’s not serving us well, it behooves us to continue to question and eventually to change those perceived and established boundaries. Men in many cultures are learning to accept women as equal participants in society, but in some cultures, unfortunately, women and girls are still considered subservient to men.
La Petite Blog: You are known for your philanthropic endeavors: what is the most remarkable event that has changed your life?
Cheryl Saban, Ph.D: My husband and I feel incredibly blessed. We’re committed to using a portion of our financial resources to make a significant difference for those that are struggling to live healthy, fulfilling lives, and we have a particular soft spot for those who cannot fend for themselves. We care about the health, welfare, and education of children, and so, have become personally involved with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and the LA/Saban Free Clinic.
I actually was the beneficiary of kindness and medical treatment at the LA Free Clinic – more than twenty-five years ago, when I was a single, working mother who couldn't’t afford health insurance. I never forgot the compassion of the doctors – both male and female, at the Clinic. In fact, that experience was a seminal moment for me -- it caused me to shift my perspective about myself, and take more personal responsibility for my own happiness. In many ways, after that visit to the Free Clinic, my life changed forever.
La Petite Blog : A woman’s self-help book is not new territory.
How do you think your message will differ and what impact do you hope to see from it?
Cheryl Saban, Ph.D: Plenty of self-help books on the market offer plans to achieve happiness, success, and fulfillment, but only a few focus specifically on a woman’s sense of self; her esteem, her personal empowerment, and her worth. What is Your Self-Worth, a Woman’s Guide to Validation collaborates with the reader by providing specific opportunities for introspection and inspiring action. My goal is to help any woman who feels ‘worthless’, to feel ‘worth it’ instead. I’ve combined historical perspectives, psychological theories, my own personal experiences and added to that the wisdom of hundreds of women from all over the world to accomplish this task.
This is not a business venture for me. All of my author’s proceeds – including my advance from Hay House, are being donated to my Self Worth Foundation, and then allocated to non-profit women’s funds. The first grants have been micro-loans. I am hoping to see hundreds of women taking the next step up in their lives.
La Petite Blog: Your book is sectioned into three parts from defining one’s worth, taking responsibility and sharing the wisdom learned. What are the key fundamental values you hope your readers take from it?
Cheryl Saban, Ph.D: Basically, I have five key messages that I hope my readers receive.
- Find your voice. Everyone has a story to tell; practice telling yours! Speak up, and speak out.
- Learn financial responsibility. It breeds freedom and independence.
- Stop engaging in bad habits and dysfunctional behaviors – we all know what they are. They can keep you in an endless cycle of pain. Be willing to seek help.
- Love and validate yourself first – then you’ll be in a better position to attract it from the world around you.
- Pay it forward. Share what you know – teach and support other women and girls.
Cheryl Saban, Ph.D: I’m not sure the goal is to achieve exact “equality,” because
men and women will always be different, and we should be! Both genders are necessary to keep civilization alive, and we both bring unique skill sets to the world. I think we’re looking for “equity.” Women certainly need to reach a level of harmony and equity in this world, where we are respected and validated for our formidable contributions, and compensated for them. To do that, stubborn, male-dominated mindsets about a woman’s ability, validity and capability must change. When I interviewed Dr. Muhammed Yunus for this book, he told me that changing mindsets in his country was his most difficult challenge. In Bangladesh, the common attitude was thatwomen shouldn't be allowed to have financial independence or have access to banks, etc, and they certainly wouldn’t be given loans. But Dr. Yunus discovered that when he gave micro loans to women, not only did they pay them back, but they used thesemicro loans to upgrade the lives of their children, families and communities.
By giving micro-loans to women, the face of poverty in Bangladesh began to change. This had not been achieved by following the status quo, where only men were allowed to go to the bank and get a loan. Men and women are equals in that both genders are equally important in the mix of society.
La Petite Blog: Lastly, what is the one affirmation you wish all women lived by?
Cheryl Saban, Ph.D:I am capable, I am valid, I have unlimited potential, I
matter in life. I am worth it!
100% of the proceeds from this book will benefit women's funds
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