Thoughts on remembering your worth, in case you ever forget.
It’s hard to believe the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was 15 years ago. I guess if you’re only 20 that was a long ass time ago. But I’m not 20 and it feels like only a few years. I know a lot of people felt it was overtly cliche and silly, but I liked it. Probably because I’m overtly cliche and silly. But mostly because what the protagonist had, I wanted. Desperately. And what specifically was that?
I wanted someone who without any doubts, felt I was worth the trouble. Whatever that trouble may be.
In one particular scene, that has never left my conscience, Toula, the lead character is witnessing her fiance being baptized into the Greek-Orthodox church to appease her father. This grown man is repeatedly being dunked face first into the kiddie pool in the church. Toula’s brother whispers to her, “This is going pretty well isn’t it?” To which she replies, “Yeah right, any minute now he’s going to look at me and go ha, you’re so not worth this.”
And her brother says, “Yes, you are.”
For the longest time, I was the kind of person who didn’t want to make waves. I never wanted to cause anyone trouble or ever have anyone have to go out of their way for me. I still hate asking people for help, with anything. The hardest part was realizing that one of the main reasons for this was because I always wrestled with deep insecurities and never, quite frankly, thought I was worth the trouble.
Now there are days when I’m still deeply insecure but most days I rock the hell out of the boat and I like the waves. It’s the Betty in me.
What I learned, the hard way like always is this.
YOU have to believe you’re worth it. –
People tend to adopt the same beliefs we hold about ourselves. When I was a freshman in college, I studied dance. It had been my entire life up until that point including providing a scholarship to study dance. I remember I had this modern dance instructor I loathed. But none the less, I wanted in her good graces because I wanted to excel in her classes. We had an audition one day to determine the placement for the class.
You would be placed in the advanced class, that had all the cherry performances. Then there was the intermediate class, that still would have the opportunity to perform. And lastly, the loser class that was pretty much just the placeholders. If you need me to put it in guy terms, this was the practice squad for the football team.
As the audition began, this obnoxious guy who thought he was God’s gift to the world of dance gets front and center pushing the rest of us out of the way. He thought he was worth it. And the professor immediately bought into it. The thing is, I could dance circles around this schmo. That didn’t matter. It wasn’t his skill, it was his confidence. He thought he was worth the advanced class and that’s exactly where he landed. I don’t even think I have to tell you where I landed, you already know. I’m still bitter.
But that’s not the worst of it. My problem was that I couldn’t hide my disdain for modern dance. I’ve always been transparent, as you well know if you read anything I write. But I thought modern dance was stupid. I still do. I wanted to do ballet and musicals. Instead, I ended up in one of her classes on stage in a body bag with a black shirt tied over my head that represented an egg of some sort and then I morphed into an alligator and emerged victoriously.
What the actual fuck. Am I paying for this?
This teacher had every one of the other performers sit down while I remained on stage after my alligator performance. She wanted to critique me. She told me this. “You don’t even matter. You shouldn’t even exist. There’s no stage in this world that you deserve to be on.”
I immediately changed my major. Maybe because I believed her. Maybe because I had just had enough. What was comical about the whole thing is that after news broke of my major change, which they can’t have people leaving the department now can they? Need that money don’t cha’? Suddenly, I was valuable to her.
I was so deeply insecure that she was the kind of asshole who would manipulate that for her own sick pleasure. Yeah, those people exist but if you make yourself a doormat, someone will happily step on your face.
After I got pissed off and changed my major, I couldn’t get enough compliments from her. She even gave me A’s in all her classes, even the ones that I stopped going to.
The problem was within my own soul. Not hers. I had to learn I was worth it even if someone else tells me I’m not.
If you don’t believe it, act like you do anyway. –
There’s a lot of different reasons for why we feel we aren’t worth something in particular. For a long time, I didn’t believe I was worth an amazing man. So guess what I got? Yup, a failed marriage, and a horrible dating life. To get to the point of feeling like I had value, I had to act like I had value. It took a lot of years.
I also have a bad habit of putting others on pedestals because I think they are so amazing. But you know what? I’m amazing too. I’m not chopped liver. I bring value, fun and goodness to the table with the best of them. I can be smart, sexy, goofy, and fabulous all within the same nanosecond. And every once in a while, I’ll forget that. And I’ll have to force myself to stop assuming the one down position and ACT like I have value until the feeling returns.
I’m so grateful for the amazing people I have in my life now. As soon as I began acting like I was worth the trouble a lot of people fled my life. But then my life filled up with people who also knew my value. And that’s how it works.
You are worth the trouble, the extra effort, the time, the patience, the money, the wait, the inconvenience, and the LOVE.
Oh, you are so worth the love.