I, like many of us, believed from a young age that I wasn’t as worthy as those around me.
Let me be clear – I had a great family. This is not a story of hardship. But like a lot of people, I had a great childhood and still emerged with life-altering insecurities.
I had an internal narrative from a very young age that I wasn’t as worthy as the people around me. I wasn’t worthy of knowing an answer because, as a young person, there were always older, wiser people around me. Not worthy of choosing because, again, I was surrounded by people with more experience with the choices. Not worthy of winning because there were stronger, bigger, faster people around me.
For some people, this hardly makes a dent in their sense of self. They roll with it, rebound from it, and even grow from it.
But I didn’t rebound. I actually doubled-down and believed for the majority of my life that I wasn’t worthy. It was actually such a deep feeling that I didn’t realize I had an issue with self worth – I just thought I had to work harder than most to prove myself -something everyone else had already proven.
It frustrated me that everyone else seemed to have the answer to their own worthiness and I somehow didn’t. I truly believed everyone was worthy – but what I really meant was everyone but me. Because I hadn’t figured it out yet. To me, only hard work and success could show me the answer.
I did finally find the answer to my self-worth. And I’ll be honest- the answer wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped.
Everyone has these questions about themselves at some point (or always) in their lives.
“Am I good enough?”
“Who am I?”
“What’s my purpose?”
“Do I have enough money/friends/success/notoriety/likes/followers?”
All of these inquiries boil down into one basic question: “Am I worthy?”
Why didn’t I believe I was a worthy person when so many other people had it all figured out?
The truth was, even though I had a great business and personal life on paper, I knew I was holding myself back in a big way.
I was fed up with my lack of resilience. I once shot a lengthy video wearing a necklace that reflected too much light back at the camera. I immidiately thought the video was a total loss. My inner critic taunted “your necklace is too distracting. They won’t pay attention to you” Not once would I think that I’m worthy of listening to regardless of the extra shine from my necklace.
I became a perfectionist because I believed that was the only way anything I did would be good. I had no foundation of worthiness that carried me forward even if there were little mistakes here and there. Everything had to be perfect or all was lost and I had to start over from scratch.
I believed the mean things people said to me (or I thought they said about me) because I didn’t think any differently about myself. I was an easy target for people to deflect their own feelings of inadequacy onto because I didn’t feel like I had much of a leg to stand on.
All of these little things resulted in me giving up a lot, getting angry, and being an unsuccessful perfectionist. My risk tolerance was zero because high risk meant high chance I’d mess it all up.
There finally came a point where I was sick of these toxic limits I placed on myself. I’d been hustling myself into the ground my whole life to prove my worth – and it still alluded me.
It didn’t seem logical that some people were just handed worth and others had to work so hard to get it.
I finally did what any self-respecting life coach would do – I went meta.
What is my worth?
What is anyone’s worth?
How do I know I’m worthy? How do I know I’m not?
Who determines this? Is it me?
Is it other people?
Is it society?
Where is this universal ledger that tracks someone’s worth- or lack thereof?
Of course there is no ledger. The answer has to be that we’re all worthy. Equally. There is no other way.
I didn’t want this huge thing I struggled with my whole life to be boiled down to something I read in an email signature.
“Wait a minute,” I thought, “has the answer to this deep, life molding question actually been written on Instagram posts all along?”
The truth is I wanted the answer to be better than that. Better than “we’re all love and light.”
But, ego aside, there really is something fascinating about worth being equal in all of us. That means worth is not only inherent – but inalterable. No wardrobe malfunction or birth order will change it.
That led me to my next question – if worth isn’t based on what I’ve accomplished or what’s in my bank account, then why accomplish anything? Why does any of it matter? (I told you I went meta with it.) If we’re all worth the same and just here to experience joy and learning and growth, does it matter who we are?
I found it fascinating that I didn’t love the idea that we’re all equally worthy. I don’t want to know that someone I disagree with vehemently is just as worthy as I am.
But they are.
So maybe worth just isn’t the huge thing I made it out to be.
Maybe worth isn’t even the question.
Maybe the real question is who we are. And, when we’re already a worthy person, who we are becomes fun and malleable.
Our values, ideas, gifts, talents and what we choose to do with them is who we are. Not our success or the roles we play. I’m a caregiver, teacher, student, communicator, leader, change agent, manifestor. And how good or bad I am at any one of those things doesn’t alter my worth.
Like all answers in life, this was another Wizard of Oz thing. I didn’t believe I had an inherent foundation of worth. But it was there all along because that’s what worth is – everyone’s given foundation.
Who I am is the house I choose to build. Not the circumstances I’m in, or the roles I play, but what I choose to do with them.
Worth was never a question. The belief system that I can never be worthy is completely false.
Why did I ever believe this? I learned from an early age that worth was knowledge and experience. Lots of people think that worth is your accomplishments and bank account – it’s not hard to find evidence to bolster this belief.
But worth isn’t based on money and power or any other circumstances in your life. It never has been.
The question of worth is actually quite a boring one. We’re all worthy because we’re here. It’s what we do with our time that matters – to some people more than others. But guess what? We all have the ability to try and fail and change and be.
Because none of that takes away from our worth.
Turns out the answer so many of us seek is a little anticlimactic, and a relief at the same time. I’ll take it.