The Worthiness Crisis

Okay, so this topic is bigger than a blog post can contain, but it’s a start. I’m so worried about this problem, I need to start talking about it every place I can. The problem: many people, and most notably young people, feel that their worth is in question. They (or really “we”) feel that worth is tied to things like GPA, salary, position, social class, appearance, romantic success, productivity, cleanliness, organization, keeping up with milestones, how cool you look on Facebook…pretty much everything. It’s always at stake. “Am I good enough?” is the question plaguing so many wonderful, lovely people everywhere.

The interesting thing for me is that many people who look like they are succeeding on many of these measures are the ones who feel the worst. I think it’s because when you are acutely aware of what you are being measured on, you can see all the places you fall short. Since we cannot do everything under the sun well all of the time, it becomes incredibly easy to feel like a failure. It becomes too easy to see every criticism and rejection as evidence of not being “good enough.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic, as maybe you can see from some of my posts. So, I was really encouraged to read a recent interview with Brene Brown. If you have not seen her first and second TED talks, I can’t encourage you enough to check them out. She said in her interview “When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible.” I wanted to get up off the couch and applaud.

Indeed, understanding that you are worthy by virtue of being born is the secret to much relief and happiness. It makes me wonder, what would happen if we truly bought into this notion? The idea is old- it’s really equality in its most pure form. But we’ve lost touch. And in losing touch we’ve created a generation or more of people who don’t know they’re good enough just by being them. So my job is largely helping people to see what is already and has always been fundamentally true.

Feeling worthy of love and belonging gives us the security to go out into the world and do good, important work. It gives us the strength to give love and compassion generously without fear. That’s why it’s so important. That’s why I might never shut up about it.



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