Seriously. What are you worth? It’s an honest question. But do you have the courage to answer it honestly?
For a long time, I was unsure of my worthiness. It was not something I learned as I grew up, but more something I accepted. At the time, it seemed that my childhood would direct me towards feelings of just being there, like I was part of the scenery that people stopped to look at once in a while. I think I questioned my worth from a very early age, never believing that I was worthy of good things happening to me. Like I must have done something so horrible in a past life that I was not destined to have good things happen to me in this one. And I began to accept my life for what it was…an existence. A mere existence. Truth be told, I never felt special. I never felt like people were glad I was around or a part of their lives. I was a pawn between two parents who seemed to always want more for themselves than they did for me. Maybe that is why I have such a hard time accepting compliments and good attention to this day. Maybe part of me struggles with believing that I warrant that…that I am worth that.
To this day, I downplay every birthday, every success, every compliment. I am quick to recognize these things for you, but will hide if you try to do the same for me. I have even contemplated about removing my birthday from Facebook just so my timeline doesn’t fill up with wonderful wishes from people who care, both near and far. Who does that? People that still question their worth. There are times when allowing others to see more of me creates compliments that are impossible for me to process, knowing that they will be locked away to remind me how much I am worth. But I am getting better at understanding my role and believing that I am worth it.
But if I were to ask you, “What are you worth?”, how would you answer that question? Would you draw up a number to represent dollars? Would you even have an answer? While you are processing that first question, I will continue.
Do you have moments when you wonder what you are worth?
Sure. We all do. Especially when bad things happen to us. Even when good things would happen to me, I would look around, waiting for members of “Candid Camera” (Pre-Punk’d) to show up and tell me it was all a joke. When we are rejected, tossed aside, and forgotten, we question our worth. When we lose our job, get cut from a team, or replaced, we question our worth. When no one seems to notice or care, we question our worth. It would be impossible for us to not wonder, “Why am I not wanted?” “Did they even notice that I no longer worked there?” “Did it mean anything or was it all a lie?” You can’t tell me that those thoughts haven’t entered your head, one or twice. It is especially difficult when other people decide what happens to us…people walk away from love, friendship, and dedication all the time. People change and so does their feelings towards the people in their lives. Some times, it feels helpless to be at the mercy of someone else..someone else that holds your heart in their hands. Some are careless and toss on the ground what we graciously give them, and as we stand there watching them stomp on our hearts, we wonder what we did to deserve that, knowing that the question could never be answered. Others express no feeling whatsoever and come off as being very robotic as you are left wondering if you were just treated like every “Tom, Dick, and Harry” that came before and will come after you. We want to feel like we matter. That we are important. Bad things happen to all of us…no matter where we come from, what we do now, or how we got here.
This is what we need to remember:
I recently had lunch with a beautiful young woman who in some ways inspired this post and I told her to never question her worthiness. She knows what rejection and loss feels like as I saw it crawled down her face in the form of tears. Feeling helpless as I watched a broken heart unfold before me, I merely held her. When I reminded her to never question her worthiness, she shrugged her shoulders as if to say, “I already do”, but I understand completely. I also know people who have loved and lost people in their lives because people walked away, leaving feelings of “I am not good enough” and a field of questions of what went wrong that never seem to disappear. This has happened to all of us, and yet we are not any better when these moments come again. So what do we learn? We learn not trust other people, convinced that their words will soon mean nothing later on. And that is what happens.
We give our best to people around us, believing that we get the same in return. We put our walls down, allowing people in, and sharing a little bit of ourselves in return. Marriages once full of love and commitment are absolved due to “irreconcilable differences”; friendships never recover after harsh words are thrown like daggers; neighbors argue over who needs to mow a trip of grass. How can we trust anyone to follow through on what they say they will do? Conversations become absolute, including the meaning intended behind every word. The expectation behind those phrases are lightly held onto as they soon become false expectations. How do we know that disappointment isn’t just around the corner, waiting to remind us, once again, of our value?
We tread lightly, trying not to get too vested before one or the other hightailed it out-of-town. But what I don’t understand is why some promises are never broken and others are thrown into a pile somewhere, only to be forgotten and dismissed. Do some vows carry more weight than others? Who determines what words we should believe and which ones we should throw out? How do we learn to trust again, knowing we were hurt before? Can we learn to trust someone new? What happens if they become just like everyone else, and we again become discarded, just like trash on the side of the road?
What I have learned after years of questioning my worth:
No one…and I mean no one…decides my worth but me. You can knock me down, break my heart, and throw me away. But you will never decide my excellence. I have value and you can NEVER take that from me. Worthiness is not based on the actions of others, but based on what we believe about ourselves. And for those of you that ever made anyone question their worth, shame on you. Whether intentional or not, no one deserves to feel unwanted or dispensable. We have given you the very best of us, and have come to the conclusion that you can’t afford what we are worth.
What are YOU worth? No one really knows their worth until they decide for themselves. Just because someone doesn’t tell you how much meaningful you are, doesn’t mean you are important. We all carry merit and have significance for our being here. Do not let others dictate your worthiness. If they don’t hold onto you, then they weren’t worth keeping. And if you were wondering, your worth is immeasurable beyond words. Absolutely priceless. Believe it and never forget that.
Michelle A. Homme 2014 ©