Feeling that you are unworthy can undermine your happiness
Do you deserve effort, attention, or respect from the people in your life (including yourself)?
Think about that question for a moment: Do you deserve effort, attention, or respect from the people in your life (including yourself)?
Before you jump in and put yourself down, I didn’t ask “Are you more deserving of effort, attention or respect than other people in your life?” Remember, that’s your mind playing it’s game. The mind is a comparison machine. It will automatically twist things to comparison instead of consideration of your worthwhileness.
Worthy to live your life?
This is a core issue for each of us in our lives. We need to address the question: Are you worthy to be happy? Are you worthy of your life?
We numb the pain that comes from feeling inadequate and ‘less than.’ Brene Brown, Daring Greatly, p. 138
A feeling of unworthiness can drive us back and forth between all manner of unhealthy relationships. An example of this is addiction. Addiction can be described as an unhealthy relationship with alcohol or with drugs. But it can also be an unhealthy relationship with food, with work, with our possessions, or with our bodies.
In addiction, we feel driven to numb ourselves because of a feeling that we are inadequate or not worthy of love, connection, happiness or other people’s effort. We feel driven to do life on our own terms, not because we are independent or in charge… but because we don’t believe we are worthy of other people caring for us or about us. So we isolate, we numb, we get high, we feel deeply depressed and highly anxious.
It is a valid question: Are you worthy of your life?
Believing that you are worthy of being known, being loved, being heard, and worthy of other people’s respect is a deeply personal journey. No one can offer a three-point-plan for you to begin to feel more worthy…
It begins with letting go of who you think you are supposed to be and embracing who you are. Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, p. xiii
Accepting our worthwhileness is hard and it takes work and vulnerability. I know, because I have battled a sense of unworthiness for much of my life. You can stack degrees behind your name, stack your bank account, stack books on your shelf and stack accomplishments on your resume. If you don’t feel worthy, it will drive you into all manner of unhealthy beliefs and unhealthy behaviors.
You don’t have to be more worthy than other people.
Trying to feel more worthy ends up becoming comparison, competition, and a drivenness to one-up other people. You have to live up to a standard of who you think you are supposed to be, rather than being who you are.
You don’t have to earn your worthiness. You just begin with honesty, you add vulnerability and you work at it every day. Truth is that you are worthy of love, of respect, of time and the strengths that you have.
But the reality is that you may not be worthy of the life that you are living. You might be living beneath yourself, settling for less than who you are. Let me repeat that: You may be living beneath yourself, settling for less than who you are.
We either own our stories (even the messy ones), or we stand outside of them – denying our vulnerabilities and imperfections, orphaning the parts of us that don’t fit in with who/what we think we’re supposed to be, and hustling for other people’s approval of our worthiness. Brene Brown, Daring Greatly p. 132-133
Ask yourself: “Do I deserve effort, attention, or respect from the people in my life (including myself)?” How you answer is the secret to true happiness.
For more on healing and living a worthwhile life, see Healing the Man Inside.
I write articles about wellness, leadership, parenting and personal growth. My hope is to deliver the best content I can to inspire, to inform and to entertain. Sign up for my blog if you want to receive the latest and best of my writing. If you like what I have to say, please share my work with your friends.
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Keep it Real
Previously published by The Good Men Project
Photo by Jeen Na