I've been pondering the idea of value a lot recently because this time last year I felt like mine had been zapped. Despite years and years of knowing one thing, a series of failures led me down a rabbit hole that made me question my value. In a journal entry almost a year ago to the date I wrote: I know I can't let this thought get to me, but I still find myself asking, 'if I was as great as people think I am, I would have a job and be successful.'
Oh man, how I could reach back a year ago and give that Sydney a hug and a good dose of perspective.
By this line of thinking, my value lived and died based on someone in an office that smelled like coffee who shook my hand and sat across from me for 30 minutes asking where I wanted to be in 5 years.
I think most people worry they're not important. Maybe I'm special in this thinking, but I don't believe I am. I think that at the end of the day, we want to feel valued and special and like the gosh dang bees knees all the time but we worry no one actually things that.
That's why singleness can hurt, and a failed interview can hurt, a rejection letter can hurt, or a simple "no" from someone you care about can cut to the core: these things make us feel less than.
These actions (or lack thereof) from other people, whether conscious or unconscious can make us question so much: Will anyone ever want me? How come I can't do this? What do they have that I don't? I guess I'm not really that funny/pretty/smart/athletic/whatever the heck I want to be. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??
However, such a thought negates the possibility - no - the truth, that our value is intrinsic: existing outside of anything anyone could say, think, or do to us.
In a very connected world where 'success' means so many different things for so many people, I think that thought is lost. I think we want to believe that everyone is valuable, but we (*sometimes) refuse to allow ourselves to believe we're maybe just a little less valuable than the next person because of X, Y or Z.
No! No! No! I have to object!
As a 20-something who is in a completely different place than she was a year ago (thank God), who's doing a job she never dreamed of (hallelujah), and who rubs shoulders daily with people 30+ years her senior (amen), I can say, with confidence, I did NOTHING to deserve any of this.
The value I bring to my job and community has nothing to do with whatever other people recognize or think or, it has to do with what I believe.
Do I believe I'm doing a great job? Then by golly I am.
Do I believe I'm talented and smart and hardworking and doing my goshdang very best? You betcha.
This isn't some mind game, it's speaking the truth. YOU, just the way you are, regardless of what you may do tomorrow or have done in the past, YOU have immeasurable value JUST BECAUSE.
I don't know if I'm articulating that thought very well, but it's what I so passionately believe and want others to believe as well. I've lived in that self-dug hole of worthlessness, and let me tell you, it's dark and smelly down there. And there are worms.
Please put down the shovel already.