Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Am I worth it?

Last week a question returned that I didn’t raise for a year or so. It might be one of the most compelling questions that you can ask yourself: Am I worth it? Am I worth to be loved, to choose for myself, to enjoy life, to be happy and so on and so forth. It takes a while before you realise that this question is driving your actions. Feeling worthless isn’t something anyone would like admitting.

Fortunately, this question isn’t relevant for many of us. It is however often relevant for people in a victim role. Last week, I asked this question to my friend from the recent “no pain, no gain, no change” blog. She is busy caring for others and sacrificing herself. I asked her if she’s worth changing her life. She realised the significance of the question and promised me to think about it.

Sacrificing ourselves is somehow our atonement (eg, bookmovie). It’s how we redeem our feelings of regret and remorse. The problem with sacrificing yourself is beautifully worded in the 1976 Joan Armatrading song “Help yourself”: “Need someone to help me. But not you, you’re not ready. Seems you have trouble helping yourself.”

During several important moments in my life, I asked myself this essential question: Am I worth it? Each time, my answer was a clear YES. Each time, that answer also determined the course of my life. It’s also a reason why I’m writing these blogs. I’m only able to help others because I have first helped myself. My insights are my legacy. I share them with you because it’s my way of living a meaningful life (also see my 12 January 2016 blog).

It takes time to figure out your goals, purpose and (self) worth in life. For some, it comes early and easy. For others, it comes late and the hard way. Most will just figure it out along the way. Life altering moments (eg, burnout, death of a loved one) are likely to cause a revisit to your goals and purpose in life. I suppose a revisit always makes sense. Why would our goals and purpose remain static while change is all around us? Life is a journey, not a destination.

This anonymous proverb is often but wrongly credited to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I suppose that many of us indeed see life as a destination. So did I. I was fixed on static goals. I sacrificed myself to please others and lost myself in that process. I was neither happy nor satisfied. A dangerous combination. 

Frustration became irritation and then anger. Anger with myself as I denied that I was worth to change and choose for myself. My anger was however projected onto others.

Our negative human emotions like fearguilt, regret & remorse, and shame make us believe that we are not worth to change. Such a belief is an opinion, not a proven fact (also see my 31 March blog). Asking yourself this question – am I worth it? – is an essential first step. The answer determines your journey in life. Forget about helping others for a minute, help yourself first. 

Joan Armatrading – Help Yourself (1976) – artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Need someone to help me 

But not you, you’re not ready 

Seems you have trouble helping yourself

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