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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