Written by: John Glass
I heard this story the other day. It went like this, “A speaker started his speech by presenting a 20 dollar bill. He asked the audience, “Who would like this money?” Almost everyone in the audience raised their hand. He then took that 20 dollar bill and crumpled it up. He asked the same question and received the same response. Next he proceeded to throw the bill on the floor and stomped on it again and again. He even smashed the bill with the toe of his show. He asked the same question again, “Who would like this 20 dollar bill?” A number of people still raised their hand.”
So, you might be wondering what does this have to do with having value. My take away from this story is that no matter what someone has been through. They might have been chewed up and spit out by a loved one. They might have been walked all over and been taken advantage of, leaving them feeling used by others. They still have value. They are a valued being in this world. Just as a crumpled up, stomped on 20 dollar bill still has value.
I imagine that if that 20 dollar bill was alive it would understand that it still has value to others and to itself. In my work I have found that many of us find little to no value in ourselves usually in part because somewhere in the persons past someone or a few people treated us as if we had little to no value.
I know this feeling is something that I have struggled with for many years. Due to my traumatic past I believed that I had little value to add to another person’s life. I believed that I was not good enough for others. I believed that I was best unseen and not heard. I believed that I did not deserve to have a life that I wanted. I believed that I was a victim of my circumstances.
These self-limiting beliefs are what stood in my way to understanding my needs and wants in life. These thoughts and beliefs held me down. Although, the reality is that it was I that was standing in my own way, so it is I that needs to move.
Moving out of my own way was not an easy task. It took lots of looking within myself. Regularly analyzing my thoughts and beliefs. Lots of reading to help myself grow.
Above all it took me constantly reminding myself that I have value. That I do not need to be treated poorly from others.
The point that I began to see that I had value just being myself was towards the end of my marriage.
You see in my marriage I was regularly treated as a second class citizen. I would allow and accept the verbal abuse that would be delivered by my ex-wife. I felt that because I was not meeting her expectations then I must deserve the belittlement.
I believed that because I financially depended upon her during my time in college then it was acceptable for her to remind me that I was not good enough through her criticism. Like, her emasculating reminder that I was not a “man” because I was not working 40 hours a week and bringing in more money than her. I was not the provider, so I was not a “man.”
Towards the end of my marriage I started to see how my thoughts and beliefs had been impacting how I saw myself. I began to work on these thoughts and beliefs. I began to see that I am allowed to stand up for myself.
I found that there a few things that need to occur in order to believe that I have value as myself. Those few things are:
Showing compassion towards yourself is showing yourself affection, warmth, kindness, and love. Allowing yourself to live your life without constantly judging your actions, thoughts, and feelings.
I needed to allow myself to have compassion towards what I had gone through in life. To show compassion towards my thoughts and feelings about different situations in life. If I was feeling down or out of sorts then I would ask myself, “What do I need at this time to show care or comfort myself?”
I worked to become a non-judgmental observer of my life. Showing myself love, affection, and warmth rather than judging, putting down, and negative reoccurring thoughts.
Experiencing pride in your life helps to lift your self-esteem. It aids in seeing yourself as someone who has accomplishments in life. It shows you have value as a person.
I sat down and made a list of all the things that I had accomplished in my life up to that point. All my rewards, honors, and achieved goals in my life. This list was comprised of being a warrior in life, achieving my education goals, being honored through my hard work at school and at work, and many more other things.
I was able to see that although I did not think I had anything to be proud of it, the evidence was contrary to my belief. I felt proud about what I had done in my life.
There is strength in having a solid support system of men that are working to be the best versions of themselves. Many men who join the military can attest to the camaraderie that they experience among those who they can relate to. This is true among a brotherhood as well.
After my marriage ended I needed a strong support system to help me continue to build my value. To build such a brotherhood I began to go to men’s groups and men’s conferences looking for men that I could relate to. Men that I can lean on just as they can lean on me to help gain clarity and insight as well as encouragement in life.
I now have a great group of men that I call my brothers in arms. My fellow warriors in life. Having this brotherhood has shown me the value that I can give to others.
Ultimately, it is up to us how much value we attach to ourselves. Our value is not created by the way others treat us. Although this is an strong behavior we have as children, it is not a behavior that works for us now as adults.
We have enough value to expect others to treat us with respect and fairness. We have enough value to walk away from a situation that is no longer working for us. We have enough value to ask loved ones to meet our needs in the relationship.
You and I are worthy of obtaining everything we desire in our lives: love, great career, amazing family, and anything else you might have in your vision for life. Never forget that, “YOU ARE WORTHY.”