You are completely worthy just as you are. You don’t have to earn it.
I learned how to read when I was 4 years old. Some people find that remarkable. It seemed perfectly natural to me at the time. My 6-year-old sister was learning to read, so I did, too. In 1st grade I ended up spending the mornings visiting 2nd grade. I spent the next year in a combined 2nd- and 3rd-grade class and then was promoted to 4th grade a year ahead of schedule. I took a bunch of AP classes in high school, graduated a week after turning 17, and then (still 17) started teaching the class for adult women at church during my first year of college.
Somewhere in there I went from feeling perfectly natural to having my identity depend on excelling, doing things sooner and better than other people. I can remember some formative moments full of anxiety, but the truth is that I don’t really know why I chose to believe that I needed to perform to be of value.
I have spent a lot of mid-life in therapy. Individual therapy. Couples therapy. And yet here I am in my 50th year on this earth discovering all over again that I am hustling for my self-worth, hanging my hat on my ability to accomplish things faster and better than the ill-defined group of other people in my mind and trying to meet other people’s expectations (also mostly in my mind).
I have decided to stop.
- My value does not depend on accomplishing my goals.
- My value does not depend on making a certain amount of money.
- My value does not depend on being in a marriage.
- My value does not depend on the choices my children make.
And neither does yours. Let’s find better reasons for doing what we do, together.