I thought I had a positive sense of self, that I was a relatively confident person. But when I really examined my assessment of worthiness I discovered that I was in fact confident in the skills and abilities that I possessed, not in my inherent self worth. I felt confident in what I could do or the impact I could make. But when it came down to ‘just me’, no work history or personal exaplanation as to what I’ve accomplished or where I’ve been or what I’ve been through, I realized I didn’t feel very worthy at all. When I feel striped of all those details, which can happen when you are sick (physically or mentally) it is much harder to believe in our worth as a person. What am I contributing? What difference do I make? Who am I supporting or helping?
When my heart is in my throat, my face is hot with blood rushing to my cheeks reacting to the anxiety I’m feeling and I can’t think of the words I want to use, I don’t feel very worthy. Or when my body feels so tired and heavy I don’t have the strength to get out of bed and have a shower, I don’t feel worthy of much.
Should we just accept this? You a worthy only when you are making a contribution. Who defines contribution? Where do we draw the line?
I’ve come to believe that people do not ‘earn’ their worthiness, it is a gift just like being born is a gift. We all have various skills and abilities, strengths and weaknesses. But none of them define our worthiness. We are worthy because we were born.
Worthy of what you may be wondering?
Worthy of living a good life. Worthy of being treated with respect. Worthy of trying new things and not being punished for failing. Worthy of love, giving and receiving it. Worthy of living a life that fills you up in whatever way that means to you. Worthy of your opinions and your feelings. Worthy of making your own choices and the freedom to change your mind.
So if worthiness is all these things and it is a gift that all receive from birth, why do so many of us feel less worthy than others?
It is my wish that we all feel worthy, regardless of mistakes we’ve made or our weaknesses as humans. But how?
For me I needed to start by reminding myself.
“I am a strong and worthy person”
This mantra was said to me as a teenager and always stayed with me. When I’m feeling vulnerable or inconsequential, I will repeat this to myself. Or at the end of writing in my journal, I will write this. But even this was not enough when my depression was at its worst. Depression and anxiety play with our minds and tell us things that are not true. So if you are depressed or anxious, please see this as a reminder of your worth. Not because of what you’ve done, or any other worthiness criteria, but just because you are you. Yup, that simple. We are all worthy of a good life, whatever that means to you.