Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Value Yourself, Part the Second

Joe Black: You love Allison, don't you.

Quince: Yes, I do.

J: How did you meet?

Q: Well, um, I was this world-class loser, and she was this happy little rich girl, and for some reason she took me in.

J: But Allison loves you.  How do you know?

Q: Because she knows the worst thing about me, and it's okay..... It's like you know each other's secrets, your deepest, darkest secrets.

J: Deepest, darkest secrets?

Q: Yeah, and then you... you're free. 

J: Free?

Q: You're free!  You're free to love each other completely, totally.  Just no fear.  So there's nothing you don't know about each other and it's okay.

Did you think I had disappeared?  Well I did.  Just for a little while.  After asking for your comments I ended up spending a week at my mom's house.  It was longer than I had planned but oh so worth it!  For some reason I have to go home sometimes to remember how to relax.  Of course it helps that I didn't have to plan the meals and my contribution was always dessert.  I really like dessert.  It kind of makes me happy.

Moving on though.  The above quote is from Meet Joe Black.  Love or hate the the movie, doesn't matter.  This is one of my favorite all time quotes and it lends itself so well in talking about self worth.  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments.  I love the honesty in them.  I love that lurkers have made themselves known!  Welcome! I love that they helped give direction to my thoughts.

Pep-talks.  Practice.  Ownership.  Action.  God.

How many of you know the deepest darkest secrets about someone and love them anyway? 

How many of you are strong enough to face your own deepest darkest secrets and love yourself anyway? 

How many of you are strong enough to embrace your own flaws?

How many of you can, as Julie put so well, "Open yourself and let the love in when others beam it in your direction"?

Value Yourself.  Not to be confused with pride.  There's a difference.  Self value builds you up while pride tears others down.

Do you ever feel like only a part of you is valuable and that there is this "other" part that you keep on trying to throw out with the trash and it keeps finding its way back?  You sweep it under the rug when company comes over.  You throw it in the "junk" drawer where all the other things go that don't have a real home.  Does that other part of you make you feel inferior?  Does it embarrass you?  Do you find that it often trumps the "valuable" part of yourself?  Do you ever let it turn down the light on the good things you've done.  Do you let it invalidate you and your right to be happy?

Do you let it turn off your emotions, shutting down your ability, and even your desire, to be loved by others?

Once upon a time in a land far far away known as St. Louis, Missouri, I lived.  I was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (yes, I'm a Mormon!) and I was miserable.  I was not having a good time.  At all.  I had been there for about 6 months and was struggling.  I was working hard but I wasn't really enjoying life.  I had absolutely no self worth.  So much so that I didn't do anything, say anything, even wear anything if I thought someone might not like it.  If my companion didn't like purple, I wouldn't wear it.  When asked questions, rather than give my honest opinion I would say what I thought they wanted to hear.  At that point I wouldn't have known an honest opinion if it had bitten me in the butt!

I was a mess.  I was homesick.  I was depressed.  I thought if people knew the real me then they wouldn't like me.  At all.  I had no idea how unhappy I had been until something changed.

I was jogging one morning alone in the parking garage of our building.  Shock! Gasp! What! I thought missionaries weren't supposed to be alone!  I know, what can I say, I'm a rule breaker.  Besides, it was an enclosed structure so technically, we were in the same building.  Moving on. I had flash cards and was memorizing scriptures as I made laps through the garage.  I'm not quite sure what spurred everything, but a thought struck me.  Almost literally.  I stopped in my tracks as this thought popped into my head.  It was something like "Do you know what your problem is? You're afraid of rejection! You're so scared that if the real you shows through that people will hate you." 

The thought was right.  I hadn't known it before that point but it was dead on.  I didn't exactly like myself so why would anyone else?  Wouldn't they run screaming or at the very least get these strange looks on their faces and wonder where I came from.  Then I would be out.  Gone.  Lost.  Ostracized from society by people who were okay, not odd/weird/different like me.

Fortunately, the thought did not stop there.  It went on.  "I know who you are.  I know your problems and I love you all the same."  There it was.  I love those bits of personal revelation from God that give you permission to be free.  If anyone knew my deepest darkest secrets it was him.  I was overcome by this wonderful feeling of love.  I knew from then on out that as long as I was square (honest) with the Lord, then nothing else mattered.  He loved me as I was, flaws and all.  He would help me overcome things little by little, but he certainly would not withhold his love.

It was one of the scariest things that I had ventured on thus far in my life.  The commitment to stop saying/doing/acting how I thought others would want me to say/do/act and to say/do/act exactly how I wanted to.  I remember well the first time I was asked for my opinion about something and instead of searching for the "acceptable" answer, I got brave and said what I thought.  In my mind I closed my eyes and waited for the nuclear fallout that was certain.  The laughter, the mocking, the look of incredulity that was sure to come.  Guess what.  It didn't.  Not at all.  In fact, my opinion was respected and valued.  I survived.  I kept going.  The more honest I became, the more liked I was.  The people that I thought were my friends suddenly really were my friends.  They got to know me and they liked me.  Me.  Not pretend me.

Life got happier from then on out.  I was free from all that worry and stress and anxiety.  Free to love and be loved.  I wish I could say that I never faltered again.  But I did.  The lesson of self value, like many other lessons, has to be learned again and again.  Practice practice practice... and remember.  Remember who you are.

Now, lest you think I was a miserable person to be around before this point in time, not so my friends.  I was pretty fun, but I wasn't truly happy.  My value was based on whether a guy liked me or not, whether I had a good job, a talent, a winning batch of brownies.  Everything temporary.  Jobs would change and guys would leave and there went my self worth.  I was more of a roller coaster ride.  My value and therefore the ability to value myself, had to come from something and someone who did not change.

I absolutely love my mother in law's response.   "I want to feel valued without having to loose weight, without worrying about my hair, worrying about clothes, without proving that I'm competent, being accepted if I say no...."

Value Yourself.  Do it.  Now.

You matter.  Your opinions, your desires, your need to be heard, your need to be loved.  You bring something to this life, to your family, your circle of friends, that no one else can.  You are not replaceable.  You matter. 

Are you perfect?  No.  Does imperfection make you less than anyone else? NO! Absolutely not. Never.

There.  I said it.  I think I got it all out.  I hope it makes sense.  Thank you all for your contributions.  Pat yourself on the back and have yourself a bowl of value yourself ice cream!  Oh, and don't forget you're awesome.  Really and truly.


  1. Thanks for these thought Lora! I think everyone struggles with valuing themselves and I am no exception. There is a quote I like (I can't remember who said it off the top of my head) but it goes: "We would worry less about what others think of us if we realized how seldom they do." I like this because we do put so much importance on what others think of us when in reality, they are thinking about themselves and their own challenges at the end of the day.

    My self value comes in the opposite. I do not worry what others think, but more that they don't care about me. That is an ongoing struggle, so again, thank you for your thoughts. It is so important to put total trust in a loving God...daily!

    1. You are welcome! I love the quote. :) So true!