I am worthy. Are you?
Have you ever thought about that before? Perhaps you just started, and that’s how you found your way here. Whatever brought you here, I’m glad you came. I’m confident I can help you to answer that question in the affirmative; to say, “I am worthy.”
In 2010, Bruno Mars released the song “Just the Way You Are.” It went on to be the number one song on the charts, the album sold over 12 million copies, and Bruno won the Grammy for it. You can probably hear it in your head now, “Cause girl, you’re amazing, just the way you are.”
Great song. Not necessarily great advice. Here’s why.
I don’t know if you’re amazing just the way you are. If you’re not, there’s no future in lying to yourself.
Should everyone feel good about themselves? No. Is everyone “worthy?”
If you’re any of the following things, you’ve got work to do before you can confidently say, “I am worthy:”
- A bad person
- Willfully ignorant
That list could be a lot longer, but you get the idea.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- We are all works in progress
- Needs to be met
- Mistakes people make
- The human condition
- Advocating for yourself
Let’s get started.
We are all works in progress
As human beings, the prime directive is reaching our ultimate potential. It’s getting the most out of ourselves.
There are four keys to feeling and being a worthwhile person:
Having a sense of where and who you are. You must be grateful for how far you’ve come. Over the course of your life, you’ve learned a great deal and evolved significantly. It’s important to be at peace with how you’ve treated others along the way. Finally, it’s essential to be cognizant of your shortcomings and deficiencies, and to be working to address them.
Being an active community member. We’re social animals and we must find our people or our tribes. Once you’ve found yours, you must work to create and nurture positive, reciprocal relationships.
Be an ethical person. Whether you get your moral framework for God, religion, or the social contract, you must live by a code.
Be a kind and loving person. Follow the Golden Rule and do to others what you would have them do to you.
We’re all works in progress. Understanding and honoring these four keys will help you to be and feel worthy.
Needs to be met
Our behaviors are driven by needs including self-esteem and self-worth. Some of these needs are met externally, and others internally.
We have a desire to be accepted and respected by others, and to have social status. There are needs which are met externally.
We desire physical, mental and emotional strength, mastery of the things we invest ourselves in, and the freedom and independence to do as we please. There are the needs we need to meet internally.
Fundamentally, there are three areas we must pay close attention to, invest in and continually make progress towards; competence, autonomy, and relatedness.
Competence speaks to our ability to get good at something and eventually master it. If you’re not good at something, have tried repeatedly but just can’t seem to figure it out, you’re probably not going to spend a lot of time, attention or energy on it.
Autonomy speaks to our desire to do things in the manner we see fit. We want flexibility to figure out how to get things done.
Relatedness speaks to our desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Most of us yearn to feel like we’re doing something important that’s making a difference. We find that most commonly in working with others towards an agreed upon goal or outcome.
When we meet the needs I’ve outlined, we’re well on our way to not only feeling worthy, but being worthy.
If you’d like to dig deeper into these three areas (competence, autonomy and relatedness), Self-Determination Theory will help you to more fully understand and embrace them.
Mistakes people make
It’s a mistake to search for or place your worth on things that are outside your control.
It’s a mistake to confuse worth with pride
It’s great to take pride in the place you were born. I’m extremely proud to be an American. But it has nothing to do with my self-worth.
It’s a mistake to derive your worth from your immutable characteristics
It’s great that your skin is whatever color it is, and that your sexual orientation is whatever it is, or that you’re a beautiful person. But those are things God blessed you with, and you’re better served being grateful for- not drawing your self-worth from.
It’s a mistake to derive your worth from bad things that have happened to you
It’s awful that your parents died, that you got cancer, or that you were a victim of violence. It’s a mistake to allow the worst thing that’s happened to you to define you and your self-worth. Now, being a survivor of those things is a different story altogether.
Overcoming adversity and striving for the life you want- that’s how and where you’ll find your self-worth.
The human condition
“To err is human, to forgive divine.” – Alexander Pope
Humans are flawed. I am and you are.
Some religious traditions refer to humans as “fallen” meaning, it’s in our nature to make mistakes and to sin.
We’re constantly changing, evolving, and moving through different seasons of our lives. As we learn new information, we recognize mistakes we’ve made and wrong thinking or bad ideas we had. We’re emotional, hormonal, and capable of just about anything. It’s unclear whether this dynamism is a feature or a bug- but what I know for sure is it’s true.
Each of us must reconcile our pasts. We have all done things we’re ashamed of, regret doing and feel guilty about. All of these things are part of the human condition. And to move forward to the lives we want, and to feel and be worthy, we must move past them. We need to identify what’s causing these feelings, address them, atone for, forgive ourselves and others, and move on.
It’s time to turn the page and get to work.
Advocating for yourself
Who’s your favorite athlete, singer, entertainer, or public person?
Do you want that person to succeed? Of course you do- they’re your favorite. In fact, I bet you feel lousy when they come up short. It may even ruin your day.
Hypothetically speaking, if you had the chance to talk with them after their worst performance, what would you tell them? Probably something along the lines of, “Don’t worry. You’re incredible. You’ll be back in no time at all. I believe in you!”
You’re an advocate for them.
What if you felt and talked that way to yourself? What if you treated yourself the same way you’d treat that person you don’t know and may never meet? It makes sense that you would.
I’m not telling you to start loving yourself unconditionally, or to start acting like a psychopath. As I talked about earlier, it’s important to have a healthy sense of where you are in your life. And, I encourage you to start extending yourself some more grace, love, patience and understanding.
You’re someone who can have incredible self-worth- but it won’t happen on its own, and it won’t come easy. Focus on meeting your needs, and start advocating for yourself.
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