Friday, December 14, 2012

Do you ever feel worthless?

For years I've dealt with something I hate talking about: never being good enough.  I'd fly to the moon if I could, just to gain some self-worth. I'd become a politician, if I felt it would earn me some award in Heaven.  I'd do nearly anything just to feel worth something.  
    I've shown this tendency in the past, playing the violin until people actually paid me to play, becoming a female mechanic (in training) despite the odds, having a clothing business that turned into a booming success.  Or now . . . writing books until my fingers have nearly fallen off.
    At moments through all of these accomplishments, I've felt worth something--honestly.  But then things always make me depressed afterward.  Maybe none of it was worth anything?   I'm a jack of all trades, master of none, just trying my hand at everything until I feel satisfied.  That reflects on me.  How insecure and vunerable I can be.  At least through my books, I've realized more about myself--especially while rereading my own journal, The Golden Sky, after my son died.
    I realized all of this again yesterday as I gave a friend a copy of Homeless in Hawaii.  "I hope you'll love it," I said. "And now a trilogy--after all the sweat and tears, I'm finally done!" 
   She clutched the book and didn't even smile.  "What a nice thing to add! You could have just given me the book and not said a word." She stared at me.  "When will you realize that I'm just as great and accomplished as you are?  Just cause I can't give you something I've been working on, that doesn't make you better than me."  
    I stayed gape-jawed, then I drove home and cried.  I've always thought she was wonderful. But after her cruel words, she didn't seem quite so fantastic anymore.  I'd just wanted her to have my book because she's my friend.
    My thoughts came back to my boomeranging problem-- since it always comes back to haunt me--that issue of self-worth.   
    Every time I've felt good about myself or something I've done, certain people in my life have hurt me. This has only happened because I've put my self-worth in them instead of where it should be, in myself. 

    I talked with another friend about this several years ago.  "But you're so talented," she'd said.
    "Anyone can be talented if they work at it," I said. "It doesn't make me valuable to anyone, especially God.  It just makes me a hard worker."
    "Well, if you feel like this, imagine how others feel, the people who haven't worked to be good at anything. The people like me."
    I grabbed her hand and told her about the many gifts and talents she obviously possessed.  It shocked me, but she had no idea what an amazing person she was!  And after that day, I saw a change in her, as if I'd shone a flashlight on something that had always been there--her significance.  

    Last night, after crying about my friend's words--and to be completely honest--my lack of self-esteem, I had a symbolic dream that still has me a bit confused.  
    I'll tell you about it tomorrow.  Maybe you'll be able to help me see its deeper meaning?

P.S. Have you ever felt like this--struggling to find self-worth?  If you haven't, please don't say 'no.'  That'll just make me feel like a turd on the ground, really.

Thanks for all of your kind comments on my last post.  Your friendships have bolstered me and encouraged me to keep writing this blog.


  1. OK now I think I've heard it all!!!!! Although we have not had many conversations, your giftedness and beautiful heart shine through your every action and every word you write. Of course, I've felt exactly like you do, and I've struggled for many years . . . part of it comes (in my life) from years of "toxic" relationships where I was manipulated and controlled by being humiliated and criticized. When we are struggling with our inner fears, others can control us sometimes without even saying a word. Please keep writing about this, because even in your pain, God is using you to touch many hearts and lives of other women who feel exactly the way you do.

    I am sorry that your "friend" is feeling insecure in her own ideas of self-worth (for what other reason would a person have to say such a hurtful thing if not out of their own pain?) but please, please, please know that you are treasured by God and by those whose lives you have touched . . . . including mine ;o)

    Please share some of your posts with us in the Ruby for Women community as there are so many women there who will uphold you in friendship and prayer. Much love and BIG Hugs to you today, my friend! Nina @ Ruby for Women

  2. Hi EC, yes I do. There are many days where I struggle to find my self worth. Someday's I find it, other's it is no where to be found and yet, there are those days when I just feel like the worthiest person in the world.

    One thing that I have realized is that I indeed can be my worst critic.

    I am so sorry about the way you felt when you handed a copy of your book to your friend. Often times we pick up the negative energy of those who might also be feeling unworthy and have low self esteem.

    Clearly you are an accomplished author, so many dream of writing a book and never do, I imagine that it is not an easy task. And although, it requires a lot of hard work, I can't imagine an unworthy person taking on that task, which I might add also includes talent and creativity.

    But, aside from all that, the main thing we must remember is that we are worthy.


  3. My answer is "of course". My life is a constant roller coaster of peaks and valleys. Lately it's gotten both worse and better. The lows have been especially brutal, but at least now I've realized that in many cases there's no reason for it other than internally. Understanding that it's just me beating up on myself helps things greatly.

  4. Elisa, I'm so sorry your friend hurt you so. As Nina said, she acted out of her own pain. I hope you will be able to smooth things over. Every so often, I struggle with not being good enough but I have chosen and practice believing what God says about me rather than the lies of the enemy. I forget who originally said it but "God don't make no junk!" Self-worth and self-esteem come from believing what God believes about you. I'm a friend at Ruby also. We'd love to have you join us. May the Lord bless you with all you need! ~Lynn

  5. I can't imagine why your friend would say that! You are right, self worth is about self, but one thing you should focus on is not what YOU think of yourself, but understanding and believing how God sees you! You are a beautiful person created in His image! This is soo hard to keep sight of. I struggle with it daily. I share your same feelings. Just updated my fb status last night to "why is it that no one can hurt us as much as the one we love the most?" It's true and so very hard to keep it from affecting our self perception. Just remember not one person can ever determine your worth! You are beautiful and important!

  6. I came to a great realization this past year- as I have lived my life just like this for so long, always putting my value in what I thought others wanted from me- turns out that it's not necessarily the accomplishment at the end, it's the journey- and if it feels right, fun, and easy, then you have already succeeded. The biggest example of this in my life is drawing. I'm not the greatest, not even close, but I enjoy it immensely, and when I stopped looking for someone else to validate my work for me, that's when success came- not from money, or popularity, but because I gave it value and I enjoyed doing it- and really, in the end, what else is there? It's only this moment that you have, and you might as well find joy in it, because it's the only one that there ever is. "You are the space in which your story unfolds"- this is one of my favorite quotes, and it's so true- just stop and think about it. The great part in being a jack of all trades, master of none is that you get to experience all sorts of fun things, and learning about them is just as exciting as the end product. Even if you're not the the best at it, you get to check things out and see what they're all about. Thanks for this post! Happy Holidays! ~ Jess

  7. I can't imagine why your friend would say that! You are right, self worth is about self, but one thing you should focus on is not what YOU think of yourself, but understanding and believing how God sees you! You are a beautiful person created in His image! This is soo hard to keep sight of. I struggle with it daily. I share your same feelings. Just updated my fb status last night to "why is it that no one can hurt us as much as the one we love the most?" It's true and so very hard to keep it from affecting our self perception. Just remember not one person can ever determine your worth! You are beautiful and important!

  8. For every one person that builds you up there are always 10 waiting in the wings to knock you back down. People can't stand that you are doing something different and in some ways exciting, even if we know it's a money suck hahaha so they have to beat you down to make themselves feel better. We all have such thoughts once and a while, asking if it is worth it, those who don't are liars. But in the end it all comes down to us and those close to us, the rest of the people you just have to wave off and let them whine about their existence to someone else. They sure as hell aren't thinking about you, so don't bother thinking about them. Keep on pushing through is all we can do.

  9. I'll try to keep this short. God loves you & I LOVE YOU! That is accomplishment enough!! You have created some of the world's most beautiful (inside & outside) children & you write beautifully--look at how many followers you have!!

    PS--Even fishduckies doubt themselves occasionally.

  10. Of course I've felt worthless! And I still feel that way at times. I was raised to think of myself as worthless (I'm not saying it's your parents fault that you feel the way you do), and then I had a husband who had to one up me every time I did something well (and I'm not saying it's Cade's fault that you have these feelings). I've gradually started to feel better about myself as I've gotten older, but I remain insecure, uncertain, afraid I don't write well, concerned I wasn't a good mom. I think people who are completely secure and happy with everything they do are full of shit. I don't want you to feel bad, but the positive side of having doubts about one's worth is that we try harder to be good people. And we should always try to do our best. Then when we fall short, we get up and try again. You weren't trying to make your friend feel bad. It's a shame she had that reaction, but it's natural that some people will be jealous of your success and will read something into your words that you don't intend. I promise you that you are a good person, and you are a worthwhile person. Would I have made you my middle child if you were just some worthless putz? Would The Hurricane have taken an immediate liking to you if you weren't nice? She said you were so sweet, and The Hurricane doesn't have that reaction to everyone. That's why she damn near destroyed New Orleans.


  11. It sounds as though your friend was envious of your achievements and perhaps thought you were showing off by telling her the story behind it. This is more her problem than yours and you don't need to take to heart so much. You see how amazing your other friend is and are surprised that she doesn't see this herself but you don't see yourself as others do and are too self critical. Many people suffer from self worth even though they are perfectly reasonable. For years at work I have felt that my colleagues would one day suddenly point at me and say 'You don't know what you are doing' even though I obviously do but can't help feeling this way. Turns out this is called Impostor Syndrome and thousands of people suffer from it in all professions. Don't be too hard on yourself. I look forward to the dream.

  12. You may judge yourself within a very strict margin, but you are very generous emotionally with others. So you'd be much more kind to yourself if it wasn't you~if you get what I mean(because often people do not!).

    Give all the warmth you want out, but do not withhold understanding & warmth from yourself. ~Mary

  13. My parent's called me worthless. So, yes, I have felt that way. I know I have intelligence but I don't have the "housekeeping gene" that makes you want everything picked up and clean. I wish I did have more incentive. I do try to not throw things down and pick them up when they fall. But, I don't know how to tell three cats not to throw things down. Our kitten seems to find plastic spoons to leave in the most unusual places. At least, I would never tell the cats they are worthless, they do give me love - now, if they could only pick up things - I could hire them out and they could earn money - then they would have lots of worth!

  14. I think we all feel like that at times. Going through my divorce is not easy, I have doubts, was I a good wife? What is my part in this mess of marriage I have? But at the end of the day, I know that I deserve a lot better than what my husband has given me. Own your feelings and emotions first, then you can do something about it. Just because that is how you feel or have been feeling until now, it doesn't mean you have to continue like this. One thing we can change is our behavior and our understanding of ourselves. You have many talents indeed, but perhaps your most important and worthy value is that you are a child of God and He loves you even when you don't. You have a beautiful family and are a very giving person, that is what matters, not what some hater told you. Your friend's reaction is her problem, you're not responsible for her actions, feelings etc. The only thing you can control is what you do and how you react to the events in your life, the rest is up to other people, not you. Both Fishducky and Jane are totally right, you should listen to them, they're older and wiser....ok don't tell them I said they were older ok? xoxoxo

  15. Hi EC. I sat at the table with you at that Christmas program and dinner at the church. Right off the bat I thought that you were one of the kindest, warmest people I have ever met! I had no idea about your background or your many gifts until a friend told me more about you and your website. I think you are great, but I thought you were great before I knew your story.

    I have felt worthless many times. I think my feelings come from worrying so much about what others think of me. Even now, as I write this, I feel self conscious because you are a writer and what if my ramblings make me look like an idiot! Oh well if they do. It doesn't have anything to do with my worth. My worth comes from who I am at my core not from what I do or don't do well. My belief is that I am a child of God. He is a King. Yet he listens to me and guides me through my life. He knows exactly what I need and when I need it. He shapes and molds me and it hurts somtimes, but I know He gives me everything I need to get through the growing pains. Why would He do all that if I wasn't worth something? The trick for me is seeing His hand in my daily life. It's hard sometimes to see those tender mercies. I've wanted to keep a daily journal of those tender mercies. I think I will start today.

    I hope you know how great you are. Not because of your many accomplishments (which are pretty dang awesome by the way) but because of who you are at your core. Thanks for sharing your feelings!!

    Amy Griffin

  16. Yeah I know where you're coming from I have had this problem also most of my life and in fact still do am I getting better well somedays I seem to..........other days well I still will have times when I feel like a failure as a mother and being a mum is all I know how to do..........

  17. I've been struggling my entire life to find self-worth, and this conquest has intensified in the past few months since I lost my mother. I play 5 instruments, have a comic strip, a Master's degree, and nothing makes me feel good enough or whole. I pray that you, my sweet friend, find your worth because it is only until that moment will you begin to start living. You owe it to no one but yourself! Keep striving, you'll get there!!!