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What Makes You Worthy?

Let's be honest; this is a serious, deep, and fraught question. Since you are reading this post, there is a good chance that you have strong opinions surrounding this question. Maybe this is the first time you have ever stopped to really consider the concept of worthiness. Either way, don't go anywhere - stay with me. If you are a special needs parent, sibling, family member, or educator, you have considered the question of worthiness ad nauseum. You have had passionate, maybe even heated, conversations with people with no first-hand experience with the special needs community, which might not have ended well.

I got goosebumps when I read a February 2022 ROLLING STONE article by SHIRIN ETESSAM entitled: Why are our identities — and subsequently our self-worth — so wrapped up in what we do, produce and earn?

I'm pretty sure that Shirin never imagined she would be quoted on the Owtside The Box Blog. My hunch is that she was writing to the target demographic of Rolling Stone. 60% male and 40% female, mostly, but not exclusively, the under 35 crowd. But her musings on worthiness belong here just as much as they do in the hands of middle-of-the-road rock fans of all ages.

Enjoy the read - and shoot us an AMEN! if you agree.

A Call to Shift Our Perceptions

What would the world look like if worthiness was not attached to what one achieves? Here are just a few possibilities I see:

• People would be acknowledged and rewarded for their efforts — not judged by their professions or positions.

• Students would learn for learning's sake and not just to get the grade to get the degree to get the job, and so on.

• Conversations would most likely be warmer and more intimate. Instead of focusing on "what do you do?" people would start talking about the various facets of their lives.

• We would be more present. Time is the most valuable thing, and yet we feel guilty if we spend our time the way we want to. We always say "I'll be happy when I [fill in the blank]" and the sad thing is, we always move the goalpost anyway. If we knew and understood our worth, we would be out of the hamster wheel and living our lives the way we really want to.

• The world would experience an explosion of creativity from individuals who feel worthy. I know I do my best work when I feel the most confident. Self-worth as a birthright would allow people to share their talents, ideas and abilities with less self-judgment.

• Those labeled "couch potatoes" and "deadbeats" may feel inspired to create something or explore the world, unencumbered by expectations or misconceptions. They wouldn't be too anxious to make decisions because there would be fewer societal pressures on what an ideal life should look like.

• We'd get to enjoy a kinder and more peaceful planet. They say hurt people hurt people and that is very true. I also believe the opposite is true — healed people heal people.

There are many ways we can unlearn how we view worthiness and lean on a plethora of support for how to increase our intrinsic self-worth. But for now, maybe we can start with not equating it with what we achieve.

When I attended the Hoffman Process a few years ago, we were only allowed to use our first names or nicknames and could not mention what we did for a living. Just that simple act allowed us to relate as human beings and gave us the freedom to connect on a much deeper and richer level. Imagine relating to everyone in that manner.

Owning Our Worthiness

Owning our worthiness begins with choosing to live life from the inside out rather than the outside in. As long as you are chasing worthiness, it will never be enough. It's worth repeating — as long as you are chasing worthiness, it will never be enough.

As Brené Brown so aptly said: "When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible."

You can still be highly productive, creative and strive for all the worldly goods you desire but not in order to attain your worthiness. On the contrary, your worthiness as a birthright is your very unique secret sauce to living out loud.

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1 Comment

Kalei Kamakahi
Oct 22, 2022


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