1. Not deserving effort, attention or respect.
2. (of a person’s action or behaviour) Not acceptable, esp. by society.
adj -thier, –thiest
1. (postpositive; often followed by of or an infinitive) having sufficient merit or value (for something or someone specified); deserving effort, attention and/or respect
2. having worth, value, or merit
n pl –thies
Often facetious a person of distinguished character, merit, or importance
(Interesting that worthy has a negative and positive connotation. It is especially interesting that it is only after the personification of the adjective that it is used in a negative light. My focus is on the former.)
Worthy is such a small word with an infinite number of connotations, applications and real life effects. Think about how many things are described using, or deriving from, the word worthy.
Whenever we spend money we ponder whether the item was truly worth the price.
When we achieve something momentous that feels less spectacular than we surmised we wonder if all the effort and sacrifice that went into achieving the goal was worth the effort in the end.
We wonder if people are worth our time and if the experience was worth the cost.
We question whether we are worthy of the position we hold, or the friends we have, or our significant other, or of where we find ourselves in life.
I could go on but I think I have made my point.
So much of how we define ourselves is wrapped up in how worthy we feel we are as human beings or what we feel we deserve because of our actions and choices. But how can one person be worth more than another? How can one life mean less than another? Why would one person deserve happiness and another pain?
I can’t believe that I am not worth the effort that it takes to make me happy. I just can’t believe that we live in a world where our worth is determined by anything external to ourselves. I am filled with despair when I think that I am just a cog in a machine with no worth independent of the mass at large. But I digress. I really wanted to talk about the much more personal applications of worthiness rather than the societal ramifications of the industrial revolution! (Not in the least because I know very little about the latter!) I have been trying to think about who and what it is important to be worthy to and of… I am not, nor will I ever be, worthy of certain things, like a Nobel prize for instance, and that is okay. But that doesn’t mean I am worthless or unworthy. To take it a step further, not only am I not worthless, I also want to be worthy of love and respect from those closest to me. I want to be worth something to them.
Which brings me to how we measure worth. Is someone more worthy because they have a Nobel Prize and no interpersonal relationships or is the person who has done nothing noteworthy for society as a whole but is an amazing person who has many friends worth more? Is the guy who works three jobs to feed his family of five on minimum wage more worthy than the guy who works one job that causes harm to others or the environment to support their lifestyle alone? Suffice to say I find it puzzling how modern society deems individuals as worthy based on rather superficial criteria, so I can’t comment on it with confidence. Self-worth, however, is something I have intimate experience with and have been thinking about for quite a while.
I’ve known for a long time that my self-worth is woefully low. I just don’t know how to foster a more positive view of myself. I don’t know what I deserve and I don’t know how worthy I am. I am able to see how much others add goodness to my life, and I can see their worth external to anything they have to offer, but I can’t see my own. I can even distinguish when I am beating myself up versus when I am spouting hard truths but those hard truths still diminish my worth in my mind.
I think that may be where the crux of this issue is for me. These ‘hard truths’ (like I am not a healthy person, I haven’t put in enough effort in to living to deserve anything out of life, and I have too much physical and emotional baggage to be worthy of pure love.. ) that I one hundred percent believe to be true aren’t necessarily what defines a persons worth. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone needs to continue growing throughout their lifetime. I know this and I also know that I should get wiser and understand more as the years go by, but in my head I should know everything now, I should be able to take better care of myself now and I should be able to be independent right now. I should be able to find the good in bad situations and I should love myself enough to let go of things that are hindering and hurting me even if that means hurting someone else. But these are all lessons I have only begun to learn and will fully realize in my own time.
I think one big thing that has stopped me from committing to moving with C. is that I am not sure if this relationship is helping or hindering us. I feel deep down in my gut that he may be better off without me, I am unsure if that is me projecting how I feel about him, if it is my lack of self-worth speaking or if it is true. But I feel like he needs to see what living on your own is really like.
Realistically, if our relationship is not better and stronger for all the turmoil, I can’t give everything up to move unless I am sure it is what is best for me. I know what would be the easiest, but I am not sure what would be the best for either of us as individuals or both of us as a couple.
I do know that I didn’t want to be responsible for him giving up a better offer than the one he received from the university in the city where we live. He is going to the better school and it is the one that he wanted to attend without the hindrance of me and my surgeon. He needs to make decisions that make him happy instead of constantly trying to appease me, it just makes us both unhappy. He also needs to take responsibility for himself, his decisions and his lack of effort in the financial department. I don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s hurt. I want to give him every chance to show me that he hasn’t just disregarded my feelings and the stress he has caused for the last two years.
Dr. O, my psych, said today (er, last Tuesday. <Eek! Two Tuesdays ago!> Sometimes it takes me an awfully long time to bring a post to fruition!) that it is completely normal to not want to hurt someone you love, but it may hurt them more in the long run to not hurt them now. He used the example of getting a cavity filled by a dentist – A dentist hurts you by sticking a needle in your gums to freeze the area so they don’t cause more pain when they fill the tooth. – Maybe letting go of a relationship can be somewhat the same?
Maybe the first step to a more healthy self-worth is to admit that the negative thoughts and feelings I have towards myself, my relationship with C. and my lack of successful recovery are valid and okay to feel. Most people would need to work through anger and frustration if they went through what I have in the last two and a half years. Why would I be any different?
I have been wondering if it is crazy to think of yourself in the third person. What I mean is, I have discovered that I am much nicer in my judgements and observations of others and more tolerant of perceived weaknesses than I am with myself. So if I spend ten minutes thinking of myself in the third person to try and promote compassion for myself, is it crazy?
June 25, 2012
I have been writing this post for well over a week and I think it is time to put it to rest. I hate that I haven’t ‘wrapped things up’ in this post but I think it would be better to move on to a new fresh one, with fresh ideas to follow and a clean page. The whole post has gotten somewhat convoluted. Maybe I will come back and update this if I ever figure out a proper way to end it.
But until then, this is where this one ends. I don’t know if I ever thought I could resolve all the turbulent thoughts and emotions surrounding my self-worth and worthiness enough to explain some of it to others, but this was my intent. I don’t know if I realized that ideation, but what the hell? I write for me, right?
I had somewhat of an epiphany while writing this. I realized that my decisions and choices don’t effect as much as previously believed. I feel like I had a huge weight on my shoulders, not to mention the constant anxiety attacks, when I was trying to decide whether to move with C. at the end of the summer or not (see here if you have no idea what I am talking about) but I have come to realize that it doesn’t matter in the larger picture.
I don’t feel like we’ve finished yet, and I can’t leave him until I am sure. And it is not the end of the world if I move a couple of hours away and it doesn’t end up roses. I have lived on my own, supporting myself, for ten years without returning to my parents nest, gosh, I never thought I would say this, maybe the world wouldn’t end (and I wouldn’t be branded a failure forever) if I had to go home for a bit. I realized that this was what I needed, a back up plan. I need a safety net, and I think my Dad put it best when he said “We will support whichever decision you make, you know how we feel and even if you do go we will always come down and get you and your stuff once. We’ll be there if you need us but you need to make this decision for yourself.”
Sometimes Dad knows just what to say.
My next post will be more about moving. I have had a million panic attacks and think I should probably work through some of it.
xoxo – S.