The problem with worth

Thursday, March 8, 2018 Permalink

I’ve talked before about issues I have with self-worth. And enough-ness. So much so that the idea of going into them AGAIN now seems like I’m rehashing ground I’ve dug up and reburied too many times to count.

But I read a lot about enough-ness nowadays. In terms of us feeling like we ‘are’ enough and ‘have’ enough. Or having too-much. Being ‘extra’ as the young folk possibly say.

I know navel-gazing was around before the internet, but I guess it was more restricted. To conversations over the back fence, at the pub, over afternoon tea or similar.

Now of course we blast it out over the interwebz and force others to ponder the concepts for themselves. And worry that it’s something they weren’t worried about but perhaps should be worried about.

the problem with worth

Don’t get me wrong. I think a feeling of ‘worth’ or ‘self-worth’ is a good thing. A very good thing.

However, I’ve been pondering on whether ‘worth’ as a concept, is almost quantitative? And therefore comparable?

Perhaps the same can be said for other feelings or thoughts. Like love. Are some people more loveable than others? Perhaps.

But for some reason the idea of comparing worth and worthiness feels much MUCH worse.

I know some people who’ve been going through crappy times. A young mother with cancer. A friend who’s lost her husband. People with debilitating illnesses.

I usually fall into the grass-is-less-green side of the comparison trap. Poor me. Which isn’t even vaguely healthy. Or true.

But I suspect the same can be said for the flipside…. in my case, worrying I’m not worthy of the blessings I sometimes am bestowed.

I should note these are not things I feel I’ve earned. Like assets or material things I’ve worked bloody hard to buy. Or even some of my (supposed) achievements, requiring me to have made other sacrifices in their honour. I’m actually okay with those.

It’s more about stuff I don’t feel I deserve. Things that seem like they’re more about karma. Or fate. Or worthiness.

Why others and not me?

It occurs to me that my guilt over being more fortunate – when it comes to fate and so forth – implies that there’s something ‘bigger’ than fate.

I saw an episode of the TV show The Good Doctor a while ago. A young boy was dying and he refused to believe in god and heaven and the like. If he did, he said…. it’d mean there WAS a higher being…. that his illness was not simply fate, but predestined in some way. (And therefore avoidable.)

Which brings me back to my original ponderings… if we talk worthiness there’s a sliding scale. Or at least the ability to make comparisons. And for what purpose? I don’t believe in god/s and the like, but I do believe in fate. And to me, it means people SHOULD get what they deserve.

So that begs the question… why are so many lives impacted or destroyed by things beyond their control? And how do the rest of us live with the guilt that ours aren’t?

What are your thoughts on worth / worthiness? On fate. (And while you’re at it, world peace and global warming?)

The Lovin’ Life team includes:

50 Shades of Age | Seize the Day Project | And Anyways | Write of the Middle | Deep Fried Fruit.

  • sizzlesue15
    March 8, 2018

    Such a tricky question in life Deb isn’t it – why each of us have the lives that we do. I do believe that most things are all about our attitude. For example, everyone goes on about happiness (even I’ve written about it) but lately I’ve been thinking that happiness is so different for each of us and on different levels. I do think there is a place for us all to contemplate our life and making it the best we can because we only get one shot. I also am a great believer in being thankful for all that I have.

    • Debbish
      March 10, 2018

      I have to say ‘gratitude’ is something I would like to improve on. I can express it to others but I don’t tend to appreciate what I have as much as I should…. until times like those I’ve mentioned above when I wonder why on earth I’m so lucky?

  • Kooky Chic
    March 8, 2018

    Sometimes I really want to flee my life out here but other times I am so grateful for what I am able to experience ie I don’t think I will ever get used to the trillion stars which light th sky, the daylight of the full moon, the kangaroos who graze in our home paddock, the deer that wanders past our veranda or the fact that I can eat tomatoes and berries from my garden straight from the bush as I walk past. I don’t know why bad things happen so everyday I give thanks for what I have and send blessings to those who are in need because one day it will my turn and hopefully I will be able to remember all the beautiful things I have experienced in this life.

    • Debbish
      March 10, 2018

      I hear you re the stars… they’re something you don’t notice you DON’T see until you see them. If that makes sense. That’s probably some big metaphor for happiness etc also…

  • Sydney Shop Girl
    March 8, 2018

    I have no answers, Deb but thank your for starting the discussion. I find that I think Sue has said it perfectly about only getting this one shot at life. I do believe in that but also there are times when the unfairness of the world saddens me deeply. I then become conscious about how the helpless negativity affects me and how I live in the moment right where I am. That shift in perception often helps me.

    SSG xxx

    • Debbish
      March 10, 2018

      Yes, it’s hard to know what one can do other than live their best possible life. Years ago I was always affected by the ‘stereotypically and highly emotive’ starving children in Africa photos. It’s one of the reasons I got involved in international development and volunteered o/s for a few years and worked in that area. But… like so many things I guess I wondered ultimately what good I was really doing and why I was doing it!

  • leannelc
    March 8, 2018

    Wow this was diving in really deep Deb! There are so many questions here that man has been asking since the beginning of time – like why do bad things happen to good people etc etc. I believe in God but I don’t think he’s a genie who looks after his own and by believing you get a free ride. My idea of God is that he’s there to comfort us through the tough times (they’re the ones that build character!) Things happen that just suck – sometimes to us and sometimes to others but there’s so much good stuff out there too and I’m working really hard on appreciating that. I’ve just been in for TWO ops in a week (I never get sick) and in between thinking “this sucks” I’m also very grateful for our health system and how well it has all gone – now they just need to get me properly fixed!

    • Debbish
      March 10, 2018

      Oh yes, every time I see something on TV re the US health system I’m relieved ours is free and – mostly – does a great job.

  • writeofthemiddle
    March 8, 2018

    I know where you’re coming from. Terrible things happen to good people. I was at pilates the other other day and talk amongst the ladies went to a friend of one of the girls who has cancer. One lady said that we all have cancer in us lying dormant … and that what happens to us in life and how we react to it determines whether it comes out. I beg to differ. I don’t really believe that. You can live a healthy life and bad things happen to you. You can live an unhealthy life and you can sail on through with no health issues at all. It’s the luck of the draw. I think that we shouldn’t feel guilty if we are lucky. I think we should always be empathetic and compassionate and caring towards others who haven’t been as lucky and be grateful for our own good fortune. No-one escapes this life without challenges. We all have our turn in one way or another. xo #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      March 10, 2018

      I actually took out part of this post which was a bit ego-centric. It actually came about when I saw the latest news re Leanne’s step-daughter. I couldn’t help but think how unfair it is that she’s so beautiful and young and has a lovely child. And here’s me – eating brownies for breakfast and taking my health for granted and wonder why she is given this (dare I say, cross to bear) while single middle aged overweight me, with few strings, is relatively healthy?!

  • Jo Tracey
    March 8, 2018

    I think bad things happen to good people and vice versa – and I have no idea why. We all have issues and challenges and opportunities and blessings. Is it fate? I suppose so. Is it attitude? Yes but also no. So in other words, let’s move onto a question much easier to answer – global warming… 🙂

    • Debbish
      March 10, 2018

      Indeed. Although the current US president isn’t worried, so perhaps we needn’t be either! 🙁

  • Denyse Whelan Blogs
    March 8, 2018

    Great to see another Deb post…and one where we too get to ponder.Always a good idea I think.

    I will now tell you that I feel unworthy (to coin your word) to be ‘getting out of cancer so easily’. That even me writing it admits to you (and other readers) that I cannot even deign to compare my cancer story with another’s especially when almost certain mine is gone and 3 surgeries and lots of dental work will see me done within a year and a few months. I actually feel almost like I can’t share too much because there are many more people (L’s step D for ONE ) going through so much more.

    There I have said what I have only told my husband. I am going well. I am doing well. I know I will be OK. So, not worthy of others’ congrats etc as my cancer has been ‘easy’ than most.
    Silly? Maybe. This comparison stuff on line is part of the reason. I have been very reluctant to share my story in any arena other than the blog because of it.

    Thanks for the outlet!
    Denyse x

    • Debbish
      March 10, 2018

      You’ve hit the nail on the head Denyse. In my response to Min’s comment I mention how this post came about and I was thinking about people with families and loved ones succumbing to things while others (like me) escaping scott-free. (Well, at the moment!) I think there’s a sense of survivor’s guilt in all of us to some extent, or perhaps there should be and that’s what empathy and gratitude are all about?

  • Jodie
    March 9, 2018

    Talk about diving deep into our beliefs and such Deborah!!
    You hear the quote about karma, but really life is just a crazy ride in my opinion. I still believe in being nice to people and counting my blessings, but who knows what and why things happen…..

    • Debbish
      March 10, 2018

      There doesn’t seem to be any logic in it Jodie, does there and that’s probably what I struggle with as I’m a logic-loving kinda gal! #eek

  • Natalie
    March 10, 2018

    I have no answers, Deb. Just try to enjoy what I have, stay thankful, and be kind to people.

    • Debbish
      March 10, 2018

      Very true Natalie. People often say that to the bereaved… that their departed loved-one would want to see them living their best life and I guess that’s all any of us can do. Appreciate what we have…

  • betty - NZ
    March 12, 2018

    I used to wonder about the imbalance of ‘things’ in the world and feel a bit guilty but then I realized that the things I have are blessings from God and that I need them to do what He wants me to accomplish.

    Today’s kids are taught more ego than self-worth, I think.

    • Debbish
      March 13, 2018

      I went to an interesting ‘philosophy’ discussion recently at a local bookshop with the theme, Does Each Generation Get Better? It was interesting…

  • Vanessa
    March 15, 2018

    I think we ebb and flow as needed with comparisons. Yes, it’s good to realise that if you’re not dying of an illness, you have a good (or easier, I’m not sure if my word choice is the best) life somewhat “automatically”. But that doesn’t mean that things don’t bother you or that they can’t bother you. We have larger perspectives and smaller perspectives. And I think we can use the larger perspective of “well I’m not dying so what do I have to complain about” as an excuse to avoid looking at more personal problems that need to be addressed. Perhaps it’s prioritising what we need to keep, to let go of, and what to address. That can be very muddled at times for everyone.

    • Debbish
      March 18, 2018

      I like that notion Vanessa, of working out what we need to ‘keep’ and what we need to let go of!

I'd love to hear your thoughts