I find myself wondering lately how I ever didn’t know that I had basic value. How did I settle for so much less than I deserved for so long? I didn’t have the worst childhood, I mean, I had my share of issues, but I had parents who loved me and took care of me and provided me a great life. So how did I get it so screwed up?
I think that I always felt like less. Like everyone was better than me. Like everyone knew stuff that I didn’t. That everyone had some sort of lock on life that I just didn’t have a key for.
What I know now is that no one really grew up that way. Not one adult I have ever talked to felt like they had it made, all figured out in childhood or adolescence. Every single adult I have ever talked to have their own tale of hardship, loss, lack of worth. Every. Single. One.
What is more mysterious to me is why I told myself a tale that made me ignorant and everyone else in the know? Why did I think this? Most of my friends were just as lost as I was, so why did I choose to believe the propaganda? Why did I take my own experience and devalue it?
Fuck, if I know.
I can see it so clearly now, all the places where I could have stood up for myself, could have not settled, could have had my own back instead of kowtowing to someone else’s version of reality. But I didn’t. Not once. I buckled and caved initially eventually finding my way clear of whatever bad deal I was trying to garner for myself.
At middle age, I find myself wondering a great deal about why I did the things I did...why I took what I did and why I was happy being less. I know that I must have been because I kept choosing it over and over and over again.
Hell, I am likely still doing it in a few ways that I know, and in many that I will only come to see years from now...if I am lucky.
I see a lot of people out there with a self worth that is exaggerated and I get that response - an overcompensation for a flagging sense of self worth that can only be buried under bravado and self aggrandizing words. I get it. Really. Anything to not feel so horrible about how you feel about yourself...
I wonder if we can change this. I wonder if we can find a way to be more authentic and real with each other while trusting that that is the only true thing we have to offer in this world. Our broken, worthless selves that are really not worthless at all. Anything that I have in my internal possession today came through being vulnerable and getting the snot kicked out of me. The worth rages through the fire. I am not sure where I would be without the fire...I needed the fire, the shitstorms, the rising tides, the hurricane winds of change...I needed all of the hard stuff to force me to love, like and find value in myself even when the people I most desperately wanted to find me valuable, didn’t.
I am continually amazed at how much this pervasive lack of worth still eats at me despite years of action and resolve to see myself differently and do my life differently. I still succumb to the idea that I am not enough as I am. I lack worth innately even when I do not believe that any other person on the planet does...we all have value. So how and why do I still behave like I don’t?
It is a hard question to which I have no good answer. And I think that is ok, I think that the healing happens when I just keep asking myself the question, over and over again. Seeing my lack of valuing myself more than I value others show up repeatedly in my life. My only job is to address it over and over again until I am no longer here. I evolve into someone else whose worth is a little less temporary.
Perhaps that is what we are born with, innate worth and then we spend our lifetimes doubting something that we were given upon arrival in this world. Seems like such a waste to me this morning and yet, I am not really sure how to do it differently.
I only know to keep working at it, trying to do it differently and remembering that all beings are worthy of love, kindness, compassion and joy. Each day that I work to spread that to the beings about me, is a good day. One where I increase my own belief in my own merit of having innate value and worth by ensuring that I remind and show others theirs. Perhaps that is the meaning of life: to spend your life figuring out you have worth by helping others find theirs. Suddenly, it seems like it makes sense to me and so I will struggle a little less with my own feelings of worthlessness...because each time I struggle, I know that I have the ability to help someone else.