The idea that I have intrinsic value is really hard for me to wrap my head around. It actually makes my head hurt when I think about it too much, the way calculus homework did in college. To be honest, I’m still not sure why I had to take calculus in order to graduate. I completed the class with an A and I couldn’t even tell you what calculus is, so I’m pretty sure I’ve never used it. Anyway, I’ve decided to start a journey to determine why I’m good enough as is, why my value doesn’t need to depend on my weight, performance at work, whether or not I travel to extraordinary places (that typically involve an epic bought of traveler’s diarrhea), or whether or not I’m being a good sister, wife, daughter, or friend.
I have a hunch that I have value and worth as is. I believe it when I tell my clients that they do. But when it comes to me, my mind seems to ambush me with all the reasons why I’m not good enough. I do meaningful work with people that are struggling with anxiety (as I once did) and have such wonderful feedback from my clients and listeners of the podcast that I co-host (also about anxiety); I’m a healthy weight; I am constantly offering to help family, neighbors, and friends; I travel to new places and countries several times a year; I ‘m married to my twin soul and have two of the best rescue dogs a girl could ask for. Oh, and I live in the awesome state of New Hampshire where you can hike a mountain and sea kayak in the same day. Shouldn’t this all be enough to make me feel like I’m enough?
If I saw this description of another person it would make me nauseated by how perfect they and their life seem. I was quoted in the June 2015 issue of Cosmo Magazine regarding my work as an anxiety coach. That should have made me feel awesome, right? I remember kicking back on my bed and reading Cosmo as a raging hormonal teen; it’s one of the most popular magazines out there and this was a great opportunity, yet seeing my name in that issue made me feel hollow and empty. Weird, huh? Everyone around me was so excited, but all I felt was embarrassment and discomfort by the compliments. That got me thinking how I always feel that way when people praise me and I think it’s because my mind is telling me “it can’t be true,” yet when someone insults me I take it to heart like “yea, of course that’s 100% true.”
My other hunch is that I’m basing my self-worth, value and “enough-ness” on external factors alone, like what I accomplish or how I perform, but I’m pretty sure self-worth is supposed to come from within the self, not outside the self, hence the word self-worth. This may seem like an obvious concept, but for me it’s a big “ah-hah” moment. Basically, I’m trying to discover why I would be worth something or be of value even if I somehow became completely incapacitated, paralyzed and unable to do anything or even communicate with the outside world, as if I were to have locked-in syndrome. I genuinely believe a person with locked-in syndrome still has value, but I can’t explain why.
I am undertaking this journey to understand why because I think it would help me feel at peace with who I am, help me feel like I’m good enough despite the number on the scale or if I had a brain fart while recording a podcast. I think this journey will help me discover the root of my own self-worth, but I also hope it will strike a chord with other people like me – people who struggle to find their own intrinsic value.
If you struggle to find your intrinsic value, I want to hear about it. Or if you have some insight into where our self-worth comes from, by all means, shoot me an email and fill me in. Thanks