Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Kind of Self-Worth

There is a lot of talk going on right now about rape and abduction victims, and for good reason. It seems that nearly every week I learn of another child missing. Goodness, it takes a tole on my happiness! It makes me think that around every corner there is someone lurking and just waiting to jump out and take me away. As a result, I am a very paranoid girl. I always have been. In some ways, it makes me a lot more safe than some just because I am constantly expecting the worst, and at the same time it drains enjoyment out of life very quickly. I just need to remember that the amount of good people compared to the "corner lurkers" is much larger. We just never hear about good things being done. And yes, maybe there are more horrible abductions happening daily, but I strongly believe that as the bad gets worse, the good gets better. We can NEVER forget that goodness and love and progress are quiet occurrences that don't shout to everyone "Hey look at me! I'm here and making thousands of lives better!", while evil does that exact thing. In reality, the goodness taking place in the world is growing at an astonishing pace, and it will never die out.

Onto the topic, which I am no expert on...I am just a daughter from a family of six kids and two parents. A lot of people would say that's huge, but I would disagree. I've known bigger families. Yes, with six kids running around sometimes it is easy to feel left out, forgotten or ignored, but my parents did it right, and it didn't take long until I was involved, feeling loved and being reassured that I was a part of the coolest family in the universe.

Growing up in an extremely Christ centered home, our eternal and spiritual worth was mostly what my mom focused on. She always made sure that we knew our worth was not defined by anything we accomplished or what clothes we wore or who our friends were or who weren't. She made sure that we knew we were children of a Heavenly Father that knew us each individually and loved us. My dad believed and taught the same thing, but mainly focused on what we could each accomplish within this earth life. He made each of us feel as if we could do anything we wanted, and that no matter what, we would be the best at it. Life experiences have been what have shrunken my pride and ego. I always thought my dad meant that we had to be the best piano player, the best runner, the best team member, etc. for our efforts to be worth anything, but looking back on it, he thought we were the best no matter our ranking or position as long as he saw that we were working hard at whatever it was that we were doing. So, what he was really teaching was that if you try your hardest and do your best, then you are the best---to yourself and to the ones around you that love you and see the sacrifices you are making. And, it's a good thing that ranking and being the literal "best" doesn't actually matter, because I would be deemed "loser" or "the worst" my entire life. Truth is, I'm not the best at ANYTHING if that is how it is defined.

With my mom emphasizing my innate value and worth as a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father and my father always pushing me to do my best at the things I loved, I have always had a pretty strong sense of self-worth, and yet, I have done things I shouldn't have done and made awful decisions. Why would I do so many dumb things if I have always had a pretty good grasp on my self-worth? Because this is life---that is why. Life loves to take what you think you have a good grasp on and twist it and try to loosen your grasp, so that by the end of the day, you are dangling---barely hanging onto what you thought you had such a firm grip on. You start thinking you might lose it, let go, fall...

This is a point that every person hits at one time or another in various aspects of their life. And getting to this point does not mean that you do not value yourself or that you are not worth anything, it just means that you are human. I've had this feeling quite a few times in my perfectly fine, average and not trial-ridden life. When you decide to at least hang on to what you think you might be losing, or even pull yourself up---that is when you re-confirm your self-worth. When you decide to let go---just let it all go to the pots---that is making the decision to change. You are making the decision to change yourself and your view of yourself...expect less of yourself. I have also done this quite a few times, and even after you decide to let go and change yourself for the worse...guess what. You can STILL get back up and return to where you used to be.

I feel like society places so much value on what you "accomplish"For example. If you do track, unless you are going to state, you might as well not tell anyone that you run track. Or, the fact that when you come home from a game, the first question asked is "did you win?" Or, if you are in band, "are you first chair?", "do you get a solo?" ....at work: " Did you get a promotion?" at school: " What are your grades?" By no means do I mean that these are bad questions. I've asked these exact questions hundreds of times. All I mean is, why not FIRST ask, "how did you game go? Did you play well?" Or, "how was work? Have any interesting phone calls?" Or, "How was band practice today? You've been practicing so much, I can hear you getting better every day." This pulls the emphasis off of whether someone has won or whether their talents are being viewed and worshiped by society and puts it on THEM. Their feelings and their efforts. When this is something common within a child's life, it becomes a part of them. They learn to value themselves based on their own efforts instead of on society's view of them.

I believe that by doing this, you are giving a person what it really takes to get through any trial. You give them faith and respect for themselves. That way, even when life comes along and starts yanking and pulling something away that they thought they had a firm grasp on, they won't ever be able to get too far without remembering that they do have the strength to come back and that they are "worth it".
My family---My rock. This was taken about 7 or 8 years ago.