Friday, April 27, 2012

How do you define your worth?

I want to share another one of my personal journal entries with you guys today. I don't know why I feel the need to post a large majority of my innermost thoughts and secrets on the internet. Maybe it's because I feel connected to you guys, and I know you'll understand and relate to me. Maybe it's because there is a tug in my heart to share my insecurities with the world instead of letting them collect dust in a notebook. Maybe it's because deep down, I don't really care if it's personal or not. After all, one of the reasons I started this blog was to get things off my chest in a healthy and therapeutic manner.

But mostly, I just believe that there is something to be learned from addressing our innermost thoughts and feelings. I think we owe it to ourselves and other people to just be honest about how we feel---unapologetically. I think it has a way of making us all feel less alone.

So this is what I wrote in my journal the other night at 4 in the morning. Maybe you can relate.

"I question my worth a lot. 

There is a tiny voice inside of me somewhere that tells me I'm enough just the way I am and that I have nothing I need to prove, but I often have a hard time believing that. I still feel like I have to live up to a certain standard before I feel like I matter, even though I know deep down in my gut that no matter what standard or expectation I live up to, I will always feel the need to push myself even further. 

I link my worth to the amount of money I have, how many mistakes I do or do not make, the amount of friends I have, my ability to make decisions, my communication skills, whether or not I have my driver's license, what I have or have not accomplished---you name it. 

And I have days where I genuinely feel worthy enough, but most of the time, I expect others to reassure me. And when I'm afraid they won't, I hide from them. 

I feel like I'm running out of things to celebrate about myself. Because according to what I've learned from society and my own negative self-talk, there is a lot wrong with me and a lot I should work on. I wish I liked myself enough to do something productive about it."

Yikes. I always get really anxious about hitting "publish" after sharing something like this. But I highly doubt I'm the only person who feels this way, which is why I'm going to publish it anyway.

It's kind of ironic, considering the fact that I'm always talking about how you guys matter ( and how you make a difference. And I mean every word when I say stuff like that. But like I said in the journal entry, I don't always believe the quiet voice inside of me that validates how worthy I really am. I start thinking about how my life is supposed to look.

"I'm supposed to make a steadier income."

"I'm supposed to have my driver's license by now, not an expired learner's permit."

"I'm supposed to get out more and be more social."

"I'm supposed to remember what I learned in high school enough to help my younger brother with his homework."

"I'm supposed to be doing more to achieve my goals."

When I let thoughts like this sink in, it becomes really easy to question my worth and really hard to reverse such a negative mindset. Then instead of being proactive and kind to myself (like I'm supposed to), I sit around and think about what a failure I am. That's when journal entries like the one above spill out of me.

So today, since I obviously appear to have fallen off the positivity wagon, I want to ask you guys a question.

How do YOU define your worth?

What makes you feel like you truly matter? What makes you look in the mirror and know in your heart and soul that you are important and worthy? What is your definition of "worth"?

I look forward to reading your answers.

<3 Madison


  1. I can absolutely relate to this, Madison! It's true what people say.... "You are always your worst critic." But we can't let that stop us ;)
    I tell myself very similar things you do... "My income is sad for my age." "I should have accomplished more" etc. But if I look at the relationships I have with my friends and family, I see that they are great. And they are great because I put a lot of work and love into making sure they stay great! Therefore, I can't be such a horrible person if the people in my life LIKE being in my life. The relationships I have solidify my belief that I am worthy.
    It's hard to always stay positive, but that's why we reach out to the people we feel connected to. :)
    Thanks so much for sharing this. You're a brave soul!!

    1. I'm so relieved to hear that you can relate! I am definitely my worst critic.

      I should really work on nurturing my relationships more too. I'm a bit of a hermit. Haha. But I've recently started making a more conscious effort to spend time with the people in my life because I know how important love and connection is. It's great that you surround yourself with people who love and support you so much. Having fun with family and friends makes me feel worthy too! :-)

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. <3

  2. First of all, thank you for being vulnerable and sharing something that scared you to share. I have an incredibly hard time doing that myself, and it always helps me to know that there are other people out there who have the courage to do it.

    This post really made me think about something that came up in a talk I went to last night given my A. H. Almaas. During the question and answer part of the talk, the first person who got up to ask a question really set the tone for vulnerability. In a room full of 200 some strangers, this person got up and talked about the pain he has been feeling lately, and his own self-judgments about feeling that pain. He talked about how he felt like he should have been able to move out of the pain more quickly, that he shouldn't be feeling the pain that deeply, things like that. Almaas simply asked him how he feels towards other people when they are experiencing pain. He responded that he feels empathetic and compassionate towards them. Then Almass asked him what is stopping him from having that kindness and compassion towards himself as well?

    It was clear that the question really resonated with just about everybody in the room, a deep silence settled as everyone contemplated that. And it's so true. I watch other people struggling with pain, and I feel empathy and compassion, but I judge myself when I am feeling those more uncomfortable feelings.

    So next time I'm going to stop, sit into it, and ask myself why I am not being as kind to myself as I am to everyone else.

    1. Mikah!

      YES. I do the exact same thing. I rarely give myself the same love and compassion that I give to other people. I even wrote a post about that whole concept.

      I just can't stress enough how okay it is to struggle or feel pain. We're human beings, and we will all inevitably hurt.

      I think learning to embrace all of our emotions and not punish ourselves for feeling them is a wonderful habit to adopt.

      Thanks for reading. <3

  3. Wow, Madison, I have those same thoughts all the time! (Well, maybe not about helping my brother with most of the same thoughts.)

    A few weeks ago, my classmates (a very serious group of women) informed me I bring fun into the room. How did I not know that about myself before? So, as a practice, I've used that to measure my worth...Did someone laugh or smile even a little in my presence today? Who was it? Did I stop to notice? I'm surprise by how often I bring smiles and laughs!

    What is it that people notice about you? What is it they count on you for?

    Madison, I count on you for reminding me to stop and recognize my worth and marvel that I am in the same conversations that you are! I count on you for reminding me I'm not alone here. Thank you for being that presence!

    Cheers, Jules

    1. Jules, this comment made me smile so big! :-)

      I think it's amazing that you're making a conscious effort to notice the impact you have on people. Making someone smile, laugh, or feel better in any way is incredibly worthy.

      And knowing that my writing has impacted people in a positive way is a great reminder that I'm worthy after all.

      I adore you, and I'm so glad you feel less alone because of me. Keep bringing fun into every room you enter. :-)

      <3 Madison

  4. Hi, Madison!
    First of all, nice to meet you :)

    This is my first comment on a post in your blog, and actually my first comment on anyone's blog post, since I've created my own blog only a few days ago.

    I'll make it (relatively) short here, but since I have a lot to say on this topic (and all sorts of topics even remotely related to this one), feel free to start a conversation if you are interested in more of what I have to say about this.

    First of all, I have to say that I completely understand the way you feel, and it is perfectly normal to feel that way.

    We should be critical of ourselves, and don't ever think that it is wrong to be - BUT, we shouldn't be punishing ourselves and diminishing what we do. That is called being self-destructive, not self-critical, and trust me on this one - whoever questions oneself about being a good, valuable person, IS indeed more or less good, and does not deserve self-punishment. Bad, good-for-nothing people never question themselves the way you do ;)
    So, to conclude this thought - we should question our values on a regular basis, because they define what kind of people we are striving to become, and that basically sets the direction your life is heading from then on. Be critical about yourself, but always in a constructive way!

    I have to tell you how I discovered your blog - I found the article you wrote, the one which you linked in your post: "What You Do Matters", and honestly, I never would've thought that someone who is capable of writing such an article could have problems with confidence and self-worth.

    Since I promised to make it short, now I'll just comment on the paragraph where you say what you link your worth to, and then I'll end my post.

    I'm sorry to say this, but you link your worth to all the wrong things. First of all, forget about the money when evaluating yourself - it's the least important thing in your life (in this context, of course you need to provide for yourself and your family), and it definitely doesn't deserve to be a criterion by which you value your worth. People often tend to forget that money is just one of the means to keep them warm and fed, not an end to strive for in the long run.
    Secondly, mistakes are your teachers - be glad that each one of them happened so that you could have a chance to learn from it (and try to take the chances to learn when they appear, because those who don't learn from the mistakes they've made tend to repeat them). People rarely learn life lessons the easy way.

    Wow... I'll stop here... It seems that I just can't keep it concise, but I hope I helped at least just a tiny bit, if not more.

    And one last thing; that tiny little voice you barely hear from time to time - guess what? It is right ;)
    And perhaps it is about time it becomes the confident, loud reminder that triggers each time you start doubting your worth.

    Best regards,


    1. Nice to meet you, Matt! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

      I love how you pointed out the difference between being constructively self-critical and punishing yourself. I definitely punish myself a lot, and I think that's why I have such a hard time making positive change in my life. It's hard to motivate yourself when you have trouble even LIKING yourself. That is something I am trying to work on---knowing the difference between motivating myself and getting down on myself.

      To comment on what you said about not thinking I would be the type of person to struggle with self-confidence, I think we ALL struggle with self-confidence from time to time. I struggle with it way more than I let on, and I have for most of my life. I constantly have to remind myself that there is nothing wrong with me just because I'm different. When I embrace that fact, I usually feel better about myself. :-)

      And I agree that I link my worth to all the wrong things. I don't ever want money to be at the top of my list of priorities. Because like you said, in the long run, money isn't what really matters. And I don't need to provide for a family or anything at the moment (I'm pretty young), but I do want to be financially secure in the future, and I often find myself wondering how it will all work out. But that's the only reason I ever find myself worrying about money. I know I shouldn't worry too much, but I just do sometimes.

      And I also agree that mistakes are my teachers. I sometimes have a hard time remembering that because I'm such a massive perfectionist.

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing all of these helpful reminders. I really appreciate it.

      <3 Madison

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    I stumbled upon some of your excellent thoughts

    especially 10 Reminders, Self Punishment...

    ...connection, fulfillment, inspiration, togetherness not aloneliness...

    " I am going to be patient with myself.
    I am going to chase my dreams.
    I am going to form meaningful relationships.
    I am going to live. "

    That's powerful stuff.

    Here's more, by the great Jo-El Sonnier & Morris Allen Womack...

    THANKS ! TO 1 & ALL ! MORE !




    1. Thank you so much, Mike!

      That's a beautiful video & song. Almost made me cry. <3