Your Charmed Life

Do You Use the Guest Towels? 

by Elizabeth A. Grant


of the greatest obstacles I see with clients is that people have trouble
valuing themselves highly. Somewhere along the line, they took on a belief that
they aren’t worth much.

friend of mine is an artist, and she’s really struggling with this. She feels
discomfort charging people for what she loves doing anyway. I told her, “My
hairstylist, doctor and realtor love what they do. But I expect to pay them,
just like I would expect to pay you for one of the beautiful glass pieces you
create.” The fact is people feel “icky” getting something for nothing.

know a man who is a wedding photographer. He decided when he launched his
career that he would be “the” photographer for high-end weddings in his area.
He averages $80,000 per wedding – more than four times what most people pay for
their entire wedding! Now, does he have to deliver, so to speak, to charge that
much? Well, yes, he has to be a very good photographer. But is he 20 times
better than people charging $4,000? No way. People are willing to pay him
$80,000 because he told them he is worth

few years ago, three friends were supposed to come and stay with me for the
weekend. In preparing for the visit, I realized I only had one set of guest
towels. So I went out and bought two more sets. Something came up at the last
minute, and they weren’t able to make it. The following Monday, I was telling
my friend about it. I said, “I guess I’ll just return the towels since I don’t
need them anymore.” She said, “What do you usually dry yourself with?”

said, “The old towels.”

asked me to describe the towels to her. “Well, they don’t match my new bathroom
colors, and a lot of them have stains from coloring my hair,” I said. “And a
few of them have rips and snags from trips through the washing machine gone bad.”

said, “And if you had a new set, what would you be doing with these towels?” I
thought about this for a second and said, “Cut them up and use them as rags, I

a pause she said, “So, basically, what you’re saying is you dry yourself with

realizing what I’d been doing, we burst into laughter. Oh my goodness, she was
right. I valued others’ comfort much more than my own. It was such a perfect metaphor
for what I thought of myself! That night, I went home and took all the old
towels out of my closet and put them where the belonged … in the rag basket!

strange thing happens when we value ourselves highly. People first gauge our
value by what we tell them it is. Then, we show them who we are. Then, they
form a judgment as to whether or not we are worth that amount of money, effort
or attention. When we undervalue ourselves, it’s not a case of people thinking,
“Wow! I really got a bargain!” (I mean that both in terms of money and of
emotional effort.) It’s human nature to treat things better that have a higher

highly do you value yourself? Do you keep a neat and clean home, or quickly
clean before guests come over? In relationships, do you tolerate unloving and
substandard behavior from people? Do you value yourself enough to eat healthy
foods, and take care of your body? Do you value yourself enough to charge what
you’re worth?

of course, I just have to ask: Do you value yourself
enough to use the guest towels?

Elizabeth A. Grant is a
writer, editor and life coach. She specializes in helping people make their
dreams a reality. She can be reached at

 Photo credit: estgirl99

2lunas.jpgI am waiting to hear about the woman who had an affair with Tiger Woods and who is trying to keep that information to herself. This is the one of the many who, instead of thinking, “Where’s my fancy lawyer? Where’s my million dollars?” is instead thinking, “I did what I did with my eyes open, but I don’t want his wife to be hurt one more time. And I don’t want my mother to find out.” If you exist somewhere out there, you may not be perfect (that makes about 6 billion of us), but I applaud you. You are, in these days of tell-all TV and the lack of distinction between fame and notoriety, one of the few people left who knows how to be discreet. 

Here’s what I say in the essay “Acquire Discretion”: “Discretion is the art of restraint. 

creating a charmed life cover.jpg

People who have it do fewer foolish things. When they do behave foolishly, they don’t plaster the news on a billboard…When you are discreet, you protect yourself. You conserve your power. You become ‘less a satellite and more a sun’.” If you want to read the rest, it’s chapter 11 in Creating a Charmed Life. But you get the point. You do the best you can. When you fall short, you’re brutally honest about it with one or two select people—your priest, your therapist, your AA sponsor, your closest friend—and then you shut up about it and get on with your life, even if it means walking away from a million dollars. When you do this, you have other working capital in the form of enough integrity to regroup, start over, and make wiser decisions going forward.
Photo of “Discretion” by 2lunas; photo of Creating a Charmed Life, courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers
Victoria Moran is a motivational speaker, the author of ten books, and a certified life coach and holistic health counselor. If you are interested in working one-on-one with Victoria, she is now accepting holistic health and spiritual direction clients, both in person in New York City and by phone around the country. If you would like a complementary discovery session, email and put “sample session” in the subject line. And follow Victoria on Twitter:

“A good style should show no signs of effort.  What is written should seem a happy accident.” ~W. Somerset Maugham, Summing Up, 1938

I applied for The Writers Room, a writing space in NYC. It is iconic. The waiting list probably goes until after the end of the Mayan calendar.

colon:semi-colon.jpg“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  ~ Toni Morrison

I’ll work on my book proposal today. Tomorrow I’ll let you know how I did.

Do you have something to write, something to say? I highly recommend it.