We run companies. We rule countries. We have advanced degrees, professional success and greater economic prosperity. Yet piggy-backed upon all we’ve gained lies a remnant message that taints the way we see ourselves in light of the world’s reflection.

It whispers that a woman’s value is her youth and beauty. And even if we try not to listen to this message in our heads, we’re reminded of it daily in advertisements and magazines.

Is this a fair assessment of our worth? No. But the big cog of social perception moves more slowly than individual advancement.

For centuries, a woman’s youth and beauty were the determinant of her worth. Standing in the formative years of this century, how long will it take us to erase the ignorance of the past? And how long will it take us to erase this message in our own minds?

When we listen to the world we forget our truth.

When the voices of social assessment scream more loudly than our inner knowledge, we can’t hear the truth of what our souls know to be true. Caged by outdated concepts that minimize our current reality many women still gauge their worth according to these standards.

We scrutinize our image in the mirror. We’ve been trained to find our faults. We wonder if we’re attractive and desirable. We buy into this historical analysis while standing firmly planted in the present. This version of a woman’s worth is how we limit ourselves in all ways… including our own self-love and being deserving of a partner’s love.

Yet there are women who refuse to be confined to being less. They’re the women who can mute the ignorance of centuries past and know their true worth in today’s world.

A woman’s worth is the totality of who she is. We are more than our bodies. We are more than our age or beauty. We are more than our sexual allure. A truly empowered woman knows how to love herself and love another, completely. Her heart has no limits. Her choices have no limits.

A woman’s worth is measured by a life fully expressed. The courage to be her own person and create her own vision of life — regardless of what society says.

In life, there is evolution; the evolution of new ideals and greater options. Each decade creates more choice, extending the realm of who we are and what we can be in the world.

An original life is one that walks against the crowd. The rules of society are broken — not in defiance, but in the need to create new rules that allow for greater expansion and growth.

We are free to create a new definition of our worth, one thought at a time. We are free to enter all professions and follow all of our dreams. We are free to see ourselves through a wider lens that captures the totality of our being. And we are free to love the person we want regardless of age, gender, race or economic standards. The freedom to love should know no boundaries. The barriers that limit love are crumbling in our expansion.

As women continue to see themselves as powerful, deserving and worthy, they enjoy a greater participation in all the world has to offer.

As long as we live our truth and express our lives fully, there’s no limit to our worth. We are servants only to our dreams… not to society’s expectations. To live in complete freedom is to live the life we choose. Without limitation, shame or justification. The freedom of choice — to be who we came here to be, pursue our dreams, and love whomever we choose to love. To know our value exists far beyond the parameters of social determinants. To see ourselves in the big picture of life and live the big version of whom we are, already.

Susan Winter for The Huffington Post

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