W is for Worth

Sometimes I feel worthless. I can’t do anything right, I have no talent, I’m useless. I don’t deserve the air I breathe. For some people, this self-hate is ironed into you. This is how you think and what you tell yourself everyday. No wonder everything seems pointless.

war with myself

I was feeling like this during one of my appointments with a psychologist. She told me to write two lists. One of all the screw-ups I’ve had and the second of all my accomplishments. She told me to look at the big things and the little things. She said that my list of accomplishments would come out longer. This would make me feel better. So I did my homework. The screw-ups came easily, but I had to really think about the accomplishments. My lists came out dead even! So that exercise back-fired. Oh well, she meant well.

Psych was determined though, so she had another suggestion at my next appointment. She told me to ask at least two people to write down a list of the things they valued about me. I felt stupid asking people to do this, but I did it anyway. You can’t accuse me of not trying here! I asked my mother and my husband to write lists. I gave them a week and went to my next psych appointment with the lists in hand. Psych and I went over the lists together. They listed about 15 things each. Very few of the things they listed had anything to do with how I look or what I’ve accomplished. This is how I usually evaluate myself, on my appearance and accomplishments. Maybe I’m going about this wrong if the people I care about most don’t evaluate me that way? The lists were very similar. Two people said I was kind and generous. I think I’m selfish. It’s kind of hard to argue against what two people think of me. So maybe there’s some truth to it?

I kept the lists. I keep them for emergencies when I start to hate myself again. It’s a good reminder that appearance and career accomplishments aren’t the be all and end all. Anyway, the point is, these lists got me thinking. They not only made me feel better about myself, but they caused me to gain a new perspective on worth.

2014-04-06 09.57.21My cat, Ewok, doesn’t have an income, in fact she costs money. She doesn’t contribute to housework, she gets fluff all over the place. She mostly curls up in a ball and sleeps all day, yet I consider her valuable. Other people have plants that they take care of. They do so because the plant has worth to them. Maybe we expect too much of ourselves. We shouldn’t have to be the best, to make lots of money or have many accomplishments to be important. Sure we would all like to, but we can’t all be number one! Animals and plants don’t do any of these things. Yet, they are given worth just for existing. Shouldn’t we give ourselves the same consideration?

I never really thought about it that way before. It makes a lot of sense to me.

Your worth is a given because you exist.

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Natalie Zaman
    Apr 26, 2014 @ 09:25:55

    So well said, especially the last line–putting that one in my journal â™Ĩ

    Reply

  2. Jase @ Finding Postives
    Apr 26, 2014 @ 10:24:36

    Absolutely love the positive outcome and I think you can consider THIS another achievement!

    Reply

  3. zenkatwrites
    Apr 26, 2014 @ 10:32:05

    Sharon Salzberg tells the story of asking the Dalai Lama about self-hatred:

    Nov 1, 2002

    Everything you always wanted to know about meditation
    but were too tense to ask.

    “What do you think about self-hatred?” I asked when it was my turn to bring up an issue for discussion. I was eager to get directly to the suffering I had seen so often in my students, a suffering I was familiar with myself. The room went quiet as all of us awaited the answer of the Dalai Lama, revered leader of Tibetan Buddhism. Looking startled, he turned to his translator and asked pointedly in Tibetan again and again for an explanation. Finally, turning back to me, the Dalai Lama tilted his head, his eyes narrowed in confusion. “Self-hatred?” he repeated in English. “What is that?”

    All of us gathered at that 1990 conference in Dharmsala, India-philosophers, psychologists, scientists, and meditators-were from Western countries, and self-hatred was something we immediately understood. That this man, whom we all recognized as having a profound psychological and spiritual grasp of the human mind, found the concept of self-hatred incomprehensible made us aware of how many of us found it all but unavoidable. During the remainder of the session, the Dalai Lama repeatedly attempted to explore the contours of self-hatred with us. At the end he said, “I thought I had a very good acquaintance with the mind, but now I feel quite ignorant. I find this very, very strange.” (to read more:
    http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/archive/article/288 )

    Reply

  4. christy barongan
    Apr 26, 2014 @ 11:34:09

    Reply

  5. BeckyDue
    Apr 26, 2014 @ 12:57:23

    Love this post!!! 🙂

    Reply

  6. Birgit
    Apr 26, 2014 @ 14:33:41

    Now I love the picture of your pussy cat. Animals give us love(well cats will on their terms), make us laugh and feel good. I like what you wrote. I had to write for a month, 10 things that were good things that happened or I felt each day. They could be the same things. I always had my mom, my dog, my home on there. I remember I put on the list that I had a good cry and my therapist I was seeing at that time, told me that was great because it means a release. To feel worthy is always difficult. I make my cards and have my blog and I see other’s peoples creations and almost always feels there’s is so much better and I have to fight that

    Reply

    • somberscribbler
      Apr 30, 2014 @ 08:19:25

      Keep fighting it. You can’t compare. The thing about art is that its very subjective. I called my stuff doodles because I figured they weren’t good enough to be called artwork, but anything you create is art. Picasso is well known as a great artist, but I’m not a big fan. I think the point is to create and to share, to make yourself and other smile with your creations. That’s a good exercise your therapist gave you to do. I might give it a try! Thanks 🙂

      Reply

  7. RZT
    Apr 26, 2014 @ 18:37:35

    Another good post. . . .

    Reply

  8. sfashary
    Apr 27, 2014 @ 03:31:05

    It’s only because society deemed it important to be successful and good looking when really all it matters is that you wake up with a smile everyday feeling good about yourself regardless of anything.

    Great post, once again ❤ Happy A to Z

    Reply

  9. I.L. Wolf
    Apr 27, 2014 @ 13:02:45

    Hi from the A to Z challenge! That was beautifully written and incredibly honest. I like the conclusion you came to in the end, it’s a good reminder. Value can’t always be measured.

    Reply

  10. C.E. Darrell
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 07:12:43

    This was such a beautiful and eloquent post, it actually made me sniffle a little towards the end there. Animals can sometimes really be the biggest sources of unconditional love and entertainment – they don’t expect much in return, their only goal in life is to be your everything 😉

    Very well said!

    Reply

    • somberscribbler
      Apr 30, 2014 @ 08:04:06

      Thank you so much. I’m so glad I am reaching people with this post. It was a hard lesson to learn, but it makes so much sense now. I think I owe my little Ewok, a big thank you! lol

      Reply

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