This morning I attended my son’s class assembly at school and I sat next to a mum who tried to fill my ears with her worth.
She made sure to inform me about her family’s many life achievements. I will summarize the gist of her one-way conversation. Her husband is a doctor, they are wealthy, she has a PhD in Chemistry and a Masters from UCL. Her daughter is in the same class as my son, and of course she didn’t fail to tell me how she HAD to bring her daughter in today (even though she had a fever last night) because HER daughter had the main role in the play.
Just to put you in context, the children are only six years old, and all of them were showing off their paintings and singing songs about space travel. There was no main role as this was no West End production!
I listened to her words attentively because by nature I do tend to listen more than talk with people I have just met. This is in fact, the kind of person who would have made me feel very SMALL before; listening to all her triumphs and how seemingly perfect her life is! I would immediately feel inadequate and unworthy. This would in turn trigger a dissociative state in which I would start to feel worse and become very quiet and disorientated. In essence, I would become that little girl who was abused and felt so unloved.
However, today I didn’t feel small at all. I listened with my heart to the emptiness behind those words. I noticed the dark circles that ringed her eyes and the lack of colour in her face. I saw the heavy make-up caked on her face and the sadness in her eyes.
I wondered why this woman felt the need to prove to me how good she is and how well-off her family is. Why do we try to fill ourselves up with academic qualifications, wealth, educated husbands and brilliant children? Do we feel like we won’t be enough without all these accomplishments? Maybe we think that people won’t accept us or love us if we don’t have these attachments. So we feel that we have to talk ourselves up, to cover the insecurities that we hold within.
Why can’t we just be enough as we are? Why do we have to measure our self-worth by external things? They don’t make a difference. Our self-worth is a given and our loveability factor unchangeable.
I am ME just ME! I don’t have a PhD or a doctor husband. I don’t even have a husband anymore. My child didn’t have the main role in the play, but he had the biggest smile on the stage, and his eyes lit up like fireworks when he saw me walk into the auditorium. I am not wealthy but when I look in the mirror I see a woman I am proud of. My best friend.