noun: the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
Last week, I had the honor of celebrating my 32nd birthday surrounded by friends. I am totally blessed in that while I don’t have a lot of family (really just my father), that I have a ton of friends that I have picked up along the way. Not only did I get to see one of my favorite singers live with free upgraded seating for my birthday, I also got to spend the weekend cooking great meals with friends and going on outdoor adventures at a friend’s cabin up north. And then right before that, I spent a week on the east coast visiting my boyfriend. We partied at a Roger Water’s concert, ate great food and sharing with him my love for Stephen King.
My life is blessed and very full. I have worked hard over the years to design something I love and get to enjoy. I was complaining to my friends just last week I had wanted to take a sailing class but can’t seem to be home for longer than three weeks. A first world problem so filled with privilege if there ever was one. Truly, if 27-year-old Athena heard those words out of my mouth, she would have reached over and slapped her hard.
And while I have joy in my life, mental illness refuses to let me enjoy it sometimes. Old wounds I have spent countless time, energy and money on still haunt me. I have been in therapy off and on for years, and when I think I am strong, something happens that is not even the worst, and I spend days reeling from it. I had a tough life growing up and it still follows me around even though it’s been years. I still play out unhealthy coping mechanisms because it’s all I’ve ever known. And when I feel on top of the world, I can get wiped out in a single wave.
This summer, I have spent a lot of time trying to reel things in before they became worse. I knew it was getting bad again when I found myself in two situations that I should not have been in, saying things I still can’t believe I quite said. It was so out of character, even for me, with my personality disorder. I also found myself unable to concentrate and blowing opportunities that would allow me to take my business to the next level. It was like I couldn’t stop myself, lighting everything close to me on fire.
I’m still recovering from my cancer treatment and losing a loved one from cancer. I’m recovering from a professional failure and then getting even more bad news professionally, four times in the past two months. And I spend my life just doing the bare minimum to get by if it has anything to do with just me. I can’t bear letting others done but for me, I could care less. If you saw the disarray in my house, my body, and my finances, you would agree. I had to ask myself why I was not truly giving things in my life my all. Why was I not showing any value or letting people know how bright I could really shine and letting the bad circumstances knock out all the hard work I do
Truth bomb: I don’t value myself. Yes, I was literally in the car crying to my boyfriend about my day at work when it hit me like a pile of bricks. I don’t value myself because of my past, which had nothing to even do with me. And I carry around immense shame, scared and terrified people will leave me again, like they did when I needed them the most when it had nothing to do with me. I was a serious people pleaser in my relationships when I was younger and I thought I had outgrown it but it instead manifested in different ways in my life.
Because I don’t value myself, I am never fully confident in anything I do. I never own anything and sort of just let things happen. Sure, when I am really motivated to do something I can definitely do it but I am only like that with my education. Why can’t I apply that to everything else? Because that was the one thing I was always good at, from a very young age. I already had learned how to do that before the shit hit the fan in my life and stuttered my growth in other areas. And because I haven’t been able to own anything, I am behind or not where I want to be, in a lot of aspects of my life. Because I don’t value myself enough to do the work to get there. It’s a hard and slippery slope to admit you don’t value yourself out loud. It’s hard to feel valued by others and like you matter when you yourself don’t think so. It’s hard for others to respect you when you portray it unconsciously and don’t take yourself seriously enough to be confident in your decisions. It’s hard all around.
It’s a hard and slippery slope to admit you don’t value yourself out loud. It’s hard to feel valued by others and like you matter when you yourself don’t think so. It’s hard for others to respect you when you portray it unconsciously and don’t take yourself seriously enough to be confident in your decisions. It’s hard all around.
So this year, I want to work really hard on adding value to myself. I want to show myself, really show myself, that I value, well, myself. I value my relationships and my cat but I value me too. I need to start valuing my health (both mentally and physically), my wealth, my space ( my apartment and car), my career, my business and own personal goals, by making them a priority. I already feel I value my relationships in life so I would just like to keep spending time with loved ones and offering space and understanding when it needs to happen. And this isn’t about them. This is about me letting go of the shame and knowing I am deserving of love, good, and light. I add value to this world and others in it. And I need to recognize that.