I have been struggling with this notion for much of my life. The feeling that I am not worthwhile, that I contribute nothing of value to anyone else, and that I may even be a burden.
Some of this stems from my childhood. I am NOT blaming them here — because that serves no purpose — but to some degree, I was a burden on my parents growing up.
As far as I can tell, ALL children are a burden on their parents from time to time. Why? Because as a parent you have to accommodate them and make many sacrifices to raise them. This is why I did not choose to become a parent.
Anyhow, my parents divorced when I was 5 or so, and at the time this was not very common. My dad moved halfway across the country to pursue his dreams while my mom had to take a job to support my sister and I. Hence, we became burdens.
Even in a 2-parent home, kids can become burdens — but they are shielded from this for the most part. My sister and I weren’t.
Again — I don’t blame my parents because that was a long time ago. The point is that, as an adult, I never fully released this notion, either.
No matter who you are or what you do — you are not a burden, and you are not worthless. There is something that you bring to the world — and that makes you worthwhile.
But some days it’s hard to see or acknowledge.
What worth do you have?
Reading an article by author Brianna Wiest, I came across this line and it really resonated with me:
“Your worth is a self-evident byproduct of the presence of your being. Maybe the point is that you stop and finally feel it.”
My interpretation of this line is that your worth is you.
Whoever you are and whatever you do, you are worthy. You offer something of value to the world.
Though there are days it feels utterly untrue — by being here, now, you offer value to the world. You being makes someone happy. The person running around in that meat-suit that is the you who the world sees impacts the world and brings value.
Some people make an enormous impact — good or bad. Obama. Trump. Gandhi. Hitler. The Dalai Lama. Mitch McConnell. All of these people have made a huge impact on the world in some form or another.
You don’t have to be a known quantity like one of the above people to impact the world. You bring something that nobody else can bring and make an impression on the people around you.
No matter what is happening with you right now — someone is glad to see you. You make somebody feel good. I appreciate that you are reading my words.
Just by being you are worthwhile.
Why don’t I feel it? Why don’t I believe it?
I have asked these questions before, and presume you probably have, too. Everyone, I believe, feels sometimes like they aren’t of any use, get in the way, and offer nothing to anyone and won’t be missed if they were gone.
No, I am not talking about suicide here (though in some cases, people do feel that extreme). This is more like if you walk away from life as you currently know it — would anyone notice?
The answer is yes. You bring your special, unique blend of all that you are to the world — and it affects the people around you.
Why? Putting this into words is a challenge. It’s a very deep and complex emotional, mental, and spiritual belief. Living in a fear-based and often negative society, it’s almost too easy to believe the worst about yourself — and let all the burdens on your life experience overwhelm all that’s worthwhile about you.
Set aside all the hurt, pain, and unpleasantness that you’re feeling in this moment. Shunt the annoyances, the daily insanity, the external matters out of your control impacting you to the side right now. Focus on someone who said “thank you” to you recently. Even if it was for something super-small — give it your consideration.
THAT is why you are worthwhile. Another example? Shunt all those things away for a moment and focus on how someone called you a friend. Said I love you. Hugged you and made you feel connected. These are all ways you impacted the lives of another positively — and show your worth.
Simple, right? That makes it no less challenging.
Even when you screw up, you are worthwhile
You will make mistakes. Along the way, you will unintentionally do things to hurt people. Positive choices you make for you will negatively impact someone else. Words you say will be misconstrued and be the cause of conflict.
Congratulations on being a perfectly imperfect human being. EVERYBODY does this from time to time. That makes you no less worthwhile or worthy.
To be fair, if you intentionally hurt someone, do something mean and meant to cause suffering — that detracts from your worth. This is not a competition — worth is not an 8-slice pizza available to a select few. No, worth is infinite pizza. And like pizza, your worth might be a flavor that doesn’t appeal to everyone.
I know people who don’t like me. They feel I am arrogant, ridiculous, selfish, and as such, not worth their time. In their eyes, my worth is either nil or as an example of who and how not to be.
Are they right? It’s entirely possible. But if I base my worth on the impressions of other people and what I think they want and need of me — I will lose myself along the way.
What’s more, while I know people who don’t like me, I also know people who love me. Even when I screw up, they still care and don’t love me any less. Granted, they may be annoyed with me for a time — but then it’ll pass — and the love returns.
My worth, and your worth, are not based on outside influencers and other people. You are. Because you are, you bring value to the world and are worthwhile as such.
You are your worth.
Getting through bad days
Nobody is immune to bad days. Everyone has days where they cannot see their value, they feel worthless, like a burden, and they disbelieve anything else.
How do you get through a bad day? That depends. Why you’re having a bad day is probably different from why I’m having a bad day.
So, you might need to build a pillow fort and hide out. Maybe you need to have a good cry. Meditate. Journal. Play angry music. Distract yourself with cat videos or comedy routines. Get some exercise. Do some combination of the above.
I know how this feels. Nobody can convince you that you are worthwhile, that you bring any value to the world, and that you deserve to have or be anything. You feel worthless and low and nothing seems good or right in the world.
From my personal experience, I can tell you that this will pass. Even when you have a lot of bad days in a row — I’m pretty sure moments within those bad days were good.
Also, I would bet a lot of what caused the bad days were outside influences.
For example, my wife’s job is currently making her miserable. Nearly every workday, as such, has been a bad day. However, I also know that there have been moments where she fully recognizes her worth and is aware that she — by just being her — brings value.
It may not pass quickly, nor easily. But take a moment — literally 2–5 minutes — and pause. Set aside all the hurt, pain, and unpleasantness that you’re feeling in this moment. Shunt the annoyances, the insanity, the external matters out of your control impacting you to the side right now. Focus on someone who said “thank you” to you recently. Recall how that made you feel worthwhile.
Are you feeling worthless?
You are not worthless — you bring something to the table nobody else can. It may not be a world-changing impact. Or more specifically, it may not FEEL like a world-changing impact — but you impact the world by being here.
I know this can feel like a lie, but it’s true. You bring value to this world just by being here and being you.
Maybe you and I know one-another — maybe we don’t. But I want you to know that YOU are valuable to me. You are worthwhile to me — which is why I share this. I want you to see that you’re not alone. I understand what you are facing.
What’s more, I appreciate you reading my words. That’s a value and evidence of your worth to me. I am pretty sure I am not alone.
Thank you for being. I value your being, whether you are someone I know personally or not.
You are not worthless — you bring something to the table nobody else can. Keep being here and recognize all that you are and what that means to the world. Your worth is you, and you are your worth.
Thank you for being.