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On Having Self-Worth
Tips from my therapist...
I have been struggling with my self-worth recently. I met up with a guy I like and wish he would like me back. We went for a run on Sunday. He was sweet, incredibly athletic, and cute; cute enough for me to run almost a half marathon with and beat all my personal records on Strava. Yet the whole time we ran together, I was plagued with questions:
“Does he like me back? Would he ever want to date me? Am I attractive enough to him?”
These days, I’m publishing my novel and living my best life in an inspiring foreign country, i.e., I’m a bad-ass bitch. And yet, none of this has been enough to convince me that I am worthy of the love and affection of this other human being. The more I questioned my self-worth, the more paralyzed and depressed I felt.
I brought this up to my therapist.
“I’m struggling,” I half-wept to her in Spanglish, “I don’t think I’m good enough for him.”
She paused for a minute as I cried it out. Then she said,
“This concept of good enough: what does it even mean? Do you think a dog walking around a park wonders whether it’s good enough for other dogs? No. It sits in the sun. It smells something. You can’t measure this. It just is. The dog trusts that it is a dog, just like all the other dogs. You must trust that you are simply a human being, also.” She had challenged the very premise of my question.
I suddenly realized how misguided I had been. Where did this question of self-worth even come from? What was this comparative, judgmental, capitalist bullshit? Society has trained us well. And, of course, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more insecure and concerned I am about my ability to be loved, the more nervous and stressed and not-myself I become, making it harder for Runner Boy to connect with me on that most basic human level. And then, the more likely I am to stick plastic in my face or buy some fancy expensive shit to get closer to an external ideal of being worthy that I can never reach. Fuck that.
“Self-compassion steps in and gives you a sense of being valuable, not because you’ve reached some standard and you’ve judged yourself positively, but because you are a human being worthy of love in that moment.”
I am a human being. You are a human being. We are all human beings. Just because society throws us these questions about our self-worth does not make us any less than we already are.
No, I haven’t been able to resurrect things with Runner Boy yet. But today, I chose to reject all the judgments and worries I had burdened myself with. I chose to reject this question of my self-worth. I rejected my fears that last Sunday, my running shoes were too dorky, my armpits were too hairy, and my tank top was too sweat-stained for him to like me after we had run almost 13 miles. I will probably never know what he thinks. But in rejecting this dangerous narrative that has bothered me for so long, I can restore solace within myself anyway.
So, if you’re willing to share:
In what aspect of your life do you feel you’re too much or not enough?
What are you worried people judge you for?
What do you judge yourself for?
I’d love to know.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend,
P.S. Paperback copies of my book, These Perfectly Careless Things, are finally available for pre-order on Amazon! I will contact paid subscribers with discount codes or something of the sort so you can get your free copy! I love you all, and I’m eternally grateful for your support.