“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” Malcolm S. Forbes
Worthy. It’s a word we don’t use often in common everyday conversations. Is it because we don’t have a reason, or because it’s not something we feel. Almost a taboo to discuss. We might think it a little rude to ask someone, “What’s it worth to you?” or “How much is it worth?”. People typically only talk about worth in terms relative to things, not ourselves.
Isn’t that often the case, though? Generally, we can only feel comfortable discussing things or actions, but we have a hard time talking about the things that make us intrinsically human. Talking about our spirit is a bit trickier. Discuss the condition of our mind? No, just no. A bigger challenge is to talk about our own worth! No one ever says, “So, whatdya think you’re worth?”, do they? Of course, we would never respond with dollar amounts, or specifics, or even abstracts. Is there a right answer? A wrong answer?
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” Mark Twain
Today, I am asking myself that very question. What am I worth? Can it be enough to just say I am worthy? If I say it over and over, but can’t believe it, it’s a powerless statement. Being empowered is a big deal to me, so if I can’t put the power behind it, I need to delve deeper.
I set out to put words to my “worth”. Maybe it will resonate with some of you.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines worth as:
1. a. Monetary value.
b. The equivalent of a specified amount or figure.
2. The value of something measured by its qualities or by the esteem in which it held
3. a. Moral or personal value
b. Merit, excellence
So, if worth is the value placed on one’s self, as in definition 1, how can we determine it? Does a dollar amount suffice?
A quick search on the internet reveals that the human body is worth about $120,000USD on the black market. Body parts on the “red market”, or the place where one can legally sell their living parts could be worth much more over the lifespan, up to several million dollars, if selling blood, a kidney, bone marrow, even hair, ovum, semen, and so on.
Everyone knows our worth is not determined by the value placed on our body parts…don’t they?
A super model can make upwards of $30,000,000USD from print ads to catwalks to other related interests. A not-so-super model can make a few thousand per year, barely enough to independently support her/himself. A professional, award winning athlete can make $100,000,000 or more between sports and endorsement contracts. A non-award winner will be lucky to have mention in the weekly small town newspaper sports section in a score roundup.
Maybe definitions 2 and 3 are more applicable. Then, if I am measured by my qualities, what are they? Have I determined what qualities will make me valuable?
How amazing it is to me that I have gone much of my life determining what qualities in clothing, shoes, cars, homes, music and jobs make them worth my money or time, but I have not put much effort into determining what makes me valuable, or of worth.
Maybe we consider what we’re looking for in a spouse or partner – some of us may have even made a list of what we find attractive or want in a mate. What qualities make your friends valuable? That’s not so hard to answer. Perhaps my friend is funny, smart, has common interests, or is non-judgmental. All of those are great qualities.
The truth is, we don’t consider the qualities that make us worthy of our time, because we are afraid. What if I don’t measure up to my own standards? What if I am a failure and everyone but me knows it? All of the “what if’s” are killing us! We have driven ourselves into the ground, over-burdened ourselves with “what if” and used that as our excuse to not take a real look at what being worthy really means!
“Just because people throw it out and don’t have any use for it, doesn’t mean it’s garbage.” Andy Warhol
So, then is it really about the body? No, and it’s not about the qualities, either. It’s all a big lie. We’ve been duped.
Our worth isn’t determined by our body image. It isn’t even determined by our ability to throw a ball, how fast we run, our smile, our niceness, our charm.
Maybe you didn’t know it, but by being born, having a spirit and mind, you are priceless. How this could logically be proven wrong? Thoughts cannot be seen by another, feelings cannot be felt by anyone else in the same manner. Fingerprints are unique, and so is the mind. Hair has its own unique growth pattern, and so do hearts.
The fact is, you were born priceless. There are some caveats, though. A masterpiece can be priceless because of its beauty and uniqueness, but if left in the rain, it will deteriorate and lose its priceless condition. In like, if no one can ever see the masterpiece, it cannot be priceless, for it is unknown and its beauty becomes irrelevant and unappreciated.
You and I are a masterpieces. If we leave ourselves open to bad conditions, we can deteriorate and become in need of serious repair. A priceless portrait with chipped paint must be attended to. If no one ever experiences our beauty and uniqueness, it is as if we don’t exist, and our priceless status becomes null. Where is the value in an undiscovered masterpiece? Who can appreciate the unseen and unknown?
My point is, we must live our lives as if we are masterpieces – the most beautiful piece of art imaginable – on display at the most important gallery in the existence! We must live as though we know that we are priceless and stop considering our worth and value. Let us attend to protecting and enhancing the things which have made us priceless.
We must ensure that we live a life that reflects that priceless distinction. Make sure that your paint – the color of your character and personality – isn’t chipped and in need of repair. If it is, repair it! Contribute to the world – the gallery – and protect the condition of the place where you are displayed. A masterpiece doesn’t detract from its surrounding, it enhances them. At the same time, why not display your masterpiece in a place that is in good condition, that highlights the contribution of beauty you bring to the world.
“The diamond does not need to prove its worth. It is, in fact, the person who must teach him/herself to recognize the worth of real diamonds. A person must study this in school. A diamond does not go to school to learn how to prove its worth. It is a person who must recognize the worth of a diamond. Dear diamonds everywhere, stop trying to go to school. The worthy will recognize your worth.” C. JoyBell C.
Other people may judge your “worthiness”, but the truth is that they don’t appreciate your beauty. Just go and be. Maintain your condition, do the upkeep. Contribute to your surroundings. Make your life a masterpiece and those who recognize your beauty will know that you are priceless – keep them around! They are contributing to the gallery of our world, too. Let those who can’t see that your true value go their own way. They are likely in need of some repair. That’s okay. Just don’t let their disrepair chip away at your paint!
Make your life a masterpiece! You were born for it!