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Caring about the numbers, self worth.

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Waterbear, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    I've been digging deep and about 2 nights ago, I typed "learning to like myself" into google to see what I got.

    I don't even know what article I read but it mentioned that we shouldn't measure our self worth by achievement. It shouldn't matter that we're the general manager, or the quarterback, or the valedictorian.

    What should matter is how much we love and how much love we bring in to others lives.

    Seems like a nice idea, but I simply cannot wrap my head around it. Not caring about grades, bank accounts, how fast you can run a mile, I'm having a really hard time grasping how to measure "good and worthy."

    My entire life, I've been about the numbers. My parents wanted good grades, I graduated college with a 3.9. My coaches wanted speed, I was the fastest girl on the team. My dad wanted me to be able to afford a house while I was in my 2o's, I made it so. My bosses wanted 10 hours of work done in 5 hours, I did it.

    I was speaking to a friend about this last night and she said, laughing a bit, "You've always been about the numbers and competition. Your always saying, 'it's not good enough; I should be doing more'. You do know we like you for more than your time running the mile, right?"

    It was good to hear, yet I'm still not really getting it. If I shouldn't care about my back account, or how much I can bench press, or if I'm the first pick for the next promotion, what else is there?

    At the same time, I know that I'm one car accident or cancer treatment (heaven forbid) away from having no back account. I know I'll get old and will get slower and weaker. I know from bitter experience, that even if I never missed a deadline, I will still lose my job if they shut down the company. I also know that putting so much value in things like this is a recipe for disaster. I just can't get what else there is to like about me?

    How do I know I'm worthy?

    Is it really just, "try to be a good person"? It's so vague. I can't measure that and give it a score.

    I hope I'm making sense since this is really new material for my brain to process. Any help is appreciated.

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Waterbearer. Being liked by others, some more than others, is a mystery,
    like why do some people meet and fall in love with each other and marry,
    or why do we have friends and best friends?

    You do sound like a nice, good person, so people like you.
    Most of my family and friends don't care that I write books and have had
    so many published. I send them copies and they never even read them or reply about them.

    I used to try to be funny, but a good friend told me not to because he and others
    liked me just as I was, without trying to make anyone laugh.

    But do try not to make numbers so important in your life.
    Everyone is one paycheck away from poverty or disaster.
    It probably always was that way.
    I try not to think about it.

    I try to think I'll live to be 100 or more and never have a money or health problem.
    What good does it to think otherwise?
    Msunn and Anne Walker like this.
  3. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    I do not exactly agree with the statement "What should matter is how much we love and how much love we bring in to others lives." This puts yet another expectation upon us. It preconceives that we must measure how much we are loving, and how much we are loving others. This falls into the same trap of numbers.

    How do you know you are worthy? Sweet Waterbear ... You are already worthy!!! There isn't any measurement for this. You, yourself ... you were born worthy, and every day of your life you have been worthy. It isn't even a question. You ARE. You can bury that under the false premise of achievements that are measured by standards not created by yourself ... but it is still there. You Are Worthy.

    Three times a week, I go to the assisted living facility where my grandmother resides. On my way to her room, I stop and greet the 'regulars' who linger near the fireplace, crouching down before their wheelchairs, making eye contact, memorizing their names, touching their hands if they want to be touched ... letting them know I see them. An outsider may view this and consider it a generous gesture. I view it as showing respect and compassion. This connection, this random act of continual kindness ... this is getting to the core of our real living. This, if you wish a measurement, is one example of 'trying to be a good person'. Drop the trying, and just do it. In the doing, remove the expectation of any reward ... other than seeing dim eyes gain some light, fragile hands squeezing softly. This is the reward. This is your soul coming through the layers of self doubts.

    There are many ways you can put yourself out there. Don't expect anything back. Just do something that gives you a sense of rightness. Tiny things can create the most essential and amazing transformations. Interact with those who expect nothing from you, and then give them something.

    A butterfly, with the flap of its beautiful wings, can create a storm across the world. One act of kindness can exponentially manifest into truly life-altering changes that ripple outwards, touching thousands of lives.

    We get skewered by priorities set by others ... it gets passed on like gossip. You can break that cycle. You are already starting to, simply by seeking other Truths.

    Listen to your body .... really listen. This organic creation that our souls inhabit .. it has its own intelligence. Consider the phrase "gut feeling". It is quite real. When something doesn't feel right, our gut tightens, becomes uneasy. If you listen to the messages from your body, you will ... know.

    with grace and gratitude,
    Msunn, Anne Walker and Ellen like this.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Waterbear,

    Your statement above gets to the core of one of the triggers for TMS, in my opinion. I don't know your history, but many of us with TMS didn't get the unconditional love from our parents that every child needs and deserves. What little love my parents doled out was conditioned on my achievements, and as a result I became an overachiever. I could never relax and just 'be' because I wanted their approval. Then when I left home, it was the approval of others I sought--again, based on my achievements.

    You have reached an important place in your life where you are asking the right questions. You realize that your achievements are transitory and will never provide lasting happiness and peace of mind. The answer to your question 'how do I know I am worthy?', isn't about 'trying to be a good person', but realizing that you already are a good person. You need to find within yourself what is worthy of love, and love yourself before you can expect others to do so.

    I know this sounds vague, too. It is vague. It is each person's own unique mission and journey to find their clear path. You've made the first step by becoming aware that your current path is not the right one for you. Your new path will unfold for you by continuing to ask questions and searching for what feels True.

    Practicing Mindfulness Meditation is the best way I know to find the right path.

    I wish you well on your journey...
    Msunn, Lily Rose and Anne Walker like this.
  5. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    Waterbear, how do you know you are worthy? Do you feel worthy? Start with understanding that we all deserve to feel loved and worthy. Pay careful attention to the things you say to yourself, what Allen Gordon calls the internal bully. They have a section on this forum with Alan Gordon's recovery program and it would be good to look at that. We are often very harsh and critical of ourselves without even realizing it. Make a commitment to treat yourself as you would a good friend. Would you ever tell a friend that they can't do something or are no good at it? Learn not to say disparaging or disrespectful things to yourself. It takes practice and begins with awareness of when you do it. Be patient. Don't beat yourself up for beating yourself up. Affirmations can be very helpful. They can feel really silly at first if you are not used to them, but they really do work! Also, think about someone you deeply and unconditionally love. Think about what you love about them until you can really feel it, and then imagine loving yourself like that. If it starts to go flat or you start coming up with reasons why you can't, notice that and keep practicing. I think of my children because its so easy for me to feel love for them. I loved them before they took their first breath and not for a moment did I think they needed to achieve something to deserve my love. Oh, I've been angry with them sure, but that is different. We need to love ourselves like that because that is when we are the happiest and things fall in place. I have noticed with my children, and they are teenagers now, that I cannot show them too much that I love and appreciate them. It is like a sponge soaking up water. There is nothing wrong with achievement, getting good grades, running fast, or buying a house. We just shouldn't imagine that achievement will necessarily make us like ourselves more. Loving ourselves comes from loving ourselves. My husband truly likes himself and is a happy person. I have noticed that he very rarely criticizes himself. In fact, he praises himself often. I find it amusing. He is an artist and very active. He doesn't talk about it, he does it. He doesn't do it for any other reason than it brings him satisfaction. You mentioned a list of things you did because other people wanted you to do them. Were they what you wanted as well? That's funny, my 13 year old daughter just came in and sat next to me for a while. She is very tall and pretty. She was brushing her hair silently and I asked her what she was thinking. She said "there's so many things I don't like about myself but at least I have my hair." Why do we do this to ourselves? I guarantee that nobody would ever look at that girl and think "well, at least she has nice hair" except her.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
  6. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Anne, your 13 year old daughter sounds adorable. What a nice picture I got of her sitting beside you while she brushed her hair. It's funny what we focus on. My best friend thought he was too short. He looked tall enough to me, and really was
    handsome. I thought he had great hair, but one day he had it cut almost all off. He said he got tired of combing it. He still looked handsome, but I thought he looked better with the hair. The soccer superstar David Beckham had a head of blond hair most guys would die for, but had it all cut off so his head looked like a bowling ball. What is this thing about hair? Mine is thinner and gray, but at least I still have some, and at my age (83) it ought to look gray.

    A nephew thinks his ears are too big. They're not small, but then Clark Gable had big ears and women went nuts over him.
    Msunn, Lily Rose and Anne Walker like this.
  7. Msunn

    Msunn Well known member

    Great discussion. Waterbear, I can relate. I've spent a lot of my life measuring myself against other people, or trying to achieve something that would make me feel ok about myself.

    The problem with that approach is that whenever I achieved a goal I would just move the goal post! It was never enough.

    I'm working on accepting myself exactly as I am. It would seem to be an easy thing but with the messages I got early on, I thought that there was something wrong with me. My parents couldn't be that screwed up, but they were. Not blaming, but it was what it was.

    I think I was born worthy. It's not something I need to earn or measure. We are all precious beings.

    I like the book by Brene Brown, the Gifts of of Imperfection. She also has some great talks on you tube, which address some of these issues.
    Please keep sharing your journey with us, this is a great caring community.

    All the best
    Ellen, Lily Rose and Anne Walker like this.
  8. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    Hi Waterbear. Here's a writer who has provided me with much inspiration in my quest to answer some of life's fundamental questions. He uses a Christian context sometimes but often he quotes the other great spiritual leaders of the world. I hope you can find something useful to you here:
    Peace to you.
    Lily Rose and Msunn like this.
  9. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    Hi all!

    Thank you for such great responses!

    I'm interested in the mindfulness meditation. I tried a google search and read an article on it.

    I'm confused about the thought part. I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do and or think about.

    The sitting posture and breath makes sense though.

  10. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Herbie and I are writing a book together on TMS healing and
    he has written about mindfulness meditation.

    I will gather those together and post them as a new thread
    under the title MINDFULNESS MEDITATION.

    I'll work on that now and post it today, in a little while.
  11. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    Thanks so much!
  12. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    There are many, many ways to do mindfulness meditation. Sit, breathe, and just be. You may notice at first a lot of restlessness. Your thoughts might go all over the place or may be thinking all kinds of things including you are not sure what you are supposed to be doing or your leg itches or your not sure how long you can stand just sitting there... its okay, just breathe and notice, observe your thoughts. Some suggest observing your thoughts like a stream, thoughts flow in and flow out. Or a cloud. You can focus on your breath, a mantra or listen to a guided meditation. The important thing is to do it regularly, even if just for five minutes. I tend to take a few minutes before I get out of my car, I am alone and the sun is often calming(in Texas anyway). The more you practice, the more you will feel the relaxation and peace that comes with meditating. There is really no way to do it wrong, just sit and observe.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  13. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    You can use a recording, a guided program, to help you get started.

    I have used the guided programs by Dr. Doris. He guides your through what to do with your thoughts. There are samples you can play here:
    http://drdorris.com/Relax CD4.htm

    Also, Dr. Andrew Weil has produced some good guided mindfulness programs with and without music. You can find his programs on Amazon and other markets. Here's a little writeup of an interview with an expert on meditation from Dr. Weil's website:

    Hope this helps.
    Anne Walker likes this.
  14. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle


    Glad you are interested in Mindfulness Meditation. One of the best definitions of mindfulness comes from Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Kabat-Zinn said that mindfulness is, "paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment."

    I look at it this way: We have the part of our mind that thinks thoughts, and the part of our mind that is aware of our thoughts. Mindfulness develops that part of the mind that is aware--our awareness. So when practicing mindfulness one is attempting to remain aware, and not get carried away by our thoughts. When you become aware that you are thinking, you just gently let the thought go. The more you practice it, then more time you can spend in a state of awareness. There are many different ways to meditate. I like the method of doing daily routines mindfully--washing dishes mindfully, taking a shower, brushing my teeth, etc.--meaning being totally present when doing the activity and not getting caught up or lost in my thoughts. I find walking this way very soothing.

    Anne Walker likes this.

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