You are worthy
№ 24 ☼ Love ☼ Spirituality ☼ Self-worth ☼ 785 words ☼ 3 minutes
We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think. - Buddha
Many of us view life as if it is a meritocracy. A meritocracy is a system based on our demonstrated worth, not our intrinsic value. This worldview is both pervasive and dangerously problematic. As a default, most of us feel as though we deserve little to nothing good. We think that we are not worthy. That we have not earned our keep. But when it comes to suffering, we feel as if we deserve it all and then some. When we believe this, it is damn near impossible to receive anything good, let alone imagine we might be worthy of it.
A meritocracy is akin to believing that life, God, and other people are like Santa Claus. If we are good, we receive gifts. If we are bad, we receive coal. But what if you are well-behaved, and yet life is still unbearably cruel to you? Most of us assume that it is we who are broken, not the system. Many of us have had our spirits broken by life. We suffer at the hands of others. Sometimes we suffer from our poor choices. Sometimes we suffer for no reason at all. We learn to believe that because bad things happen to good people, we must not actually be good people. In other words, we get what we deserve. Our thoughts shape us. But the shape we take is warped and is not our intended form.
We must change how we view ourselves. Many spiritual practices emphasize the need to approach life with the innocence of a child. It is an excellent place to begin such a journey. A child is born innocently assuming they are worthy of love until they are shown otherwise. Jesus said it best when he said we must be like little children to enter the kingdom of God. He really did get it right. A child has nothing to offer but himself. Yet he is loved. We cannot enter into unconditional love if we do not assume we could be intrinsically worthy of it.
Just as we receive brokenness from outside of ourselves, we must receive unconditional love and goodness from outside of ourselves. But where does it come from? Certainly, it comes from other people. But it also comes from God. That is why this is a spiritual practice. I am not talking about religion. There is far too much religion, and it destroys people. Spirituality is a long, complex journey into the divine, and it is a journey we all must take. Often, there are no clear answers. Sometimes, you will bounce from one concept to the next and back again. Regardless of your conclusion or how you answer the question of who (or what) is “God,” it is clear that goodness and love must come from an external source. You can never earn it by your demonstrated worth. Avoid any path that forces you to rely on your performance because it will leave you ruined. And You cannot give yourself worth by some force of will. You must let go of your attachment to performance and see yourself as worthy, just as you are. Accept that you are valuable. It is simply the truth. There is nothing that can take that away from you. If you accept that you have intrinsic value, you can allow yourself to receive some goodness. And that is a very humbling thought. Accept love from the divine. Accept love from others. That is how we learn to live at peace with ourselves.
If we are not at peace with ourselves, we cannot be at peace with others. So there is a greater purpose to all this. Once we can accept goodness, we can give it to others. It is impossible to give what we do not have. A mentality of merit-based worth and abject poverty will always only self-perpetuate. A mentality of intrinsic value and unconditional love will self-perpetuate, too, but only if we accept it first. Then, and only then, can we show other people that they are loved and worthy of such love, regardless of their performance.
This is the most spiritual thing a person can do: to help others see their beauty through the love that we show them.
So you must be patient with yourself. You must extend grace to yourself. Be merciful. Be kind. Life is hard, and you’re doing your best. When you are patient, gracious, compassionate, and kind to yourself, you will find some peace. You will be more patient, gracious, compassionate, and kind to others. That will invite more goodness into your life.
And you are very, very deserving of it.