complicated mathematics

i believe it’s no accident that things are happening to me right now that bring me to an awareness of a 30-something year long conversation i have been having with myself.

things in my professional life have been difficult over the past year. the details of what exactly has happened isn’t the important bit; it’s what i have been telling myself about it (and the bigger story of myself) that is.

because it’s not just in my working life….
that just happens to be the thing that has been pressing my buttons, bringing my awareness to this conversation, forcing me to take some kind of action. because how i am feeling ultimately has nothing to do with my current workplace.

its all to do with ME.

it’s about value.
how i value myself, my time, my existence.

looking back throughout my life, i have made a lot of decisions based on a conversation with myself that i am not worth anything. it has shaped my choices even down to the food i put in my mouth and the things i have chosen to numb me from the scary things that have happened in my life.

i have looked outside of myself for some sign that i have worth.

  1. i do it by taking jobs just because people ask me to and i know i could do them well (even though the work doesn’t make me happy)
  2. i compare my daily rate with that of my husband (who is REALLY smart and does something that pays well)
  3. i seek validation that i am worthy or that my choices are ‘good ones’
  4. even when someone tells me how great i am, i find it difficult to believe

and i am very quick to say to myself “see? i told you you’re not worth it” when someone leaves, or when i encounter something that i haven’t been able to deal with emotionally. it’s like i have somewhere in the past made value = some complicated mathematical sum that i have long forgotten how to answer.

i had forgotten that my idea of the worth of myself cannot be taught to me, or shown to me, or told to me by anyone other than myself.

changing my conversation with myself is the only way i can change my value of myself. it’s not through listening to anyone else, or by measuring it with how much money i make, how many friends i have, or how many books i sell.

because none of that matters.

YOU might think i’m amazing and wonder why i can’t see it myself (you might not). but you (or anyone else) telling me that i am valuable and worth the space that i occupy on the planet isn’t going to make one jot of difference until i can say it to myself and truly believe the words i hear myself saying.

16 thoughts on “complicated mathematics

  • hello gorgeous. i read this the day you posted and the words hit home. and hard. it’s so true, no matter what others say, until we feel it ourselves, it still seems like an impossible equation. but know you are not alone (just see above comments!) and i will join the parade of women who want to just sit and hold your hand whilst you do what you need to do.
    i adore you.
    ps. i hated maths at school.

  • I know exactly what you mean about that it makes no difference what anyone says to you. I also took jobs just because I was asked and I knew I could do it and then I wilted everyday a bit more.

    Jeez Louise, this really resonated with me.

    I have become better at self talk and usually stop myself (by shouting STOP at myself) before I downward spiral into the deep shit. But there are those days when I kick myself despite already being on the floor.

    Thanks for that.

  • Lady, I fucking get this. Seriously, truly, really. I do.

    It’s time for both of us to change the record.

    Even though I know it’s hard to believe, you are bloody amazing. I wish there was some way that we could trade eyes for a day so that you could see yourself as I see you — as someone who’s more than worthy of huge admiration, respect, love, adoration, and who’s valued wholly and completely for no other reason except that you’re YOU.


  • This is a very eloquent post, one that I understand ’cause I’ve been there.

    It’s hard to try and change the way you think about yourself and talk to yourself. But it’s so important because it does change how you feel about yourself. It’s a battle I’m still struggling with, as I’m sure many are.


  • i’m with megg and jo. right here with you sister. for as long as it takes.

    i’ve got your silver bangles on. and every time i hear them jingle, i am reminded that someone extraordinary thought i was worthy enough to have them. she taught me that there is no mathematical equation of time spent that defines depth of friendship. it is faith. being seen and known. she changed my life. valuable indeed.

    i love you so.

  • I wish nothing more than for you to know how truly worthy and wonderful you are. I’m with Jo, I don’t mind holding the space for you until you DO know though, because I think you are amazing.

  • Just a short time ago, like an hour, someone recommended this guy to me:

    His book, The Fifth Agreement, had really kind of helped her.

    I’m working through something similar at the moment. It’s. So. Difficult. though.

    Anyway, good luck. Oh, and Marianne posted this, leaving me with stuff to think about there too:

  • Oh sister…I have been trying to change this same conversation with myself & lately the conversation has grown to screaming matches. It’s amazing how woven it is into every.single.thing we do & think & feel. And how much it dictates the lives we allow ourselves to have.

    I am SO glad you wrote about this–to know that someone whom I admire has the same hang ups as me is somehow reassuring, although as you said, nothing outside will change who I believe myself to be inside. But like Jo, I am glad to be here, quietly sitting with you, to take notes in hopes of gaining some insight into my own journey.

    Thanks so much for saying it out loud! You rock my world whether you choose to believe it or not!

  • You’re absolutely right of course. Is it okay if I sit with you while you learn to listen to yourself? I may take notes for my own use later.
    P.S. I do think you’re amazing, just in case you need a reference.

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