In her TED talk on vulnerability, Brene Brown discusses the concept of worthiness. She says that what she calls whole-hearted people know they are worthy of love and belonging, and know that in order to be loved they have to risk vulnerability. She goes on to say in her research, interviewing 1000’s of people over about a decade, the whole-hearted people didn’t think of vulnerability as difficult, or painful, just that it was necessary in order to live a happy life. I am paraphrasing.
The question that came up lately is how do you know you’re worthy? Of love. Of belonging. Especially if your parents don’t do that for you. I think the journey is harder. I think many people look for it externally. Some people need many lovers, each one validating their existence. (Until they find out about each other, lol.) Some people never feel it. So they do everything they can do to control the people in their life, thinking that if they don’t force them into a position where they have to stay, no one will stay, because the person doesn’t believe he’s worthy of love. I used to say my ex was so sure that he wasn’t worthy that he thought anyone who loved him was either stupid, or wanted something from him. I’m sure that’s what he thought of me. I guess he found out different.
Anyway, how do we find our worthiness if our parents didn’t and/or couldn’t give it to us? We all have our own journeys. Many people numb so they don’t have to think about the question. Drugs, alcohol, food. Since we can’t selectively numb our feelings, we numb all our feelings when we do that. And then…we feel less worthy. Snow ball. At some point we have to look in the mirror, and ask ourselves if we deserve the treatment we are giving ourselves. Were we born unworthy? Did we actually deny our worthiness, and set in motion a lifestyle that is self-defeating? Can we stop that behavior, and realize our intrinsic worth, and begin to live with the knowledge that we deserve worthiness, change our behavior to reflect self respect, and self-love, and extend it to others? Or do we eternally have to project our fears onto others?
Someone told me they didn’t believe they were worthy of love, until someone loved them. That belief can be true. Someone loving you can help you see that you are indeed lovable, and worthy of love. But if you are not ready to hear it, and believe it, because you have on some level recognized your own worthiness, you won’t feel it. It won’t do you one bit of good.
My experience with this is limited, but I have two very personal experiences.
My ex denied that neither my son nor I ever loved him, and could not feel it. And now, in his delusional state, wants to believe we are one big happy family and he’s protecting all 3 of us. That’s the extreme result of not believing you are worthy, but it’s his reality.
I told another man I would always love him, and I guess I do on some level. But his belief that he was not worthy, and subsequent unhealthy behaviors to numb himself, and toxic-to-me behavior, to try to convince himself he was worthy through external means, particularly other women, finally set me free of him. He once told me he didn’t think that one woman would ever be enough for him. His ego needed stroking so badly. He believed many women could fill the hole in his heart, created by his inability to care for himself, respect himself, and honor himself. How can anyone love, honor and respect someone who has none for themselves?
Worthiness is a hard concept to grasp at times. But it is one of life’s lessons, one we all need to learn. Just because your parents weren’t capable, doesn’t mean it’s not there, within you.
Love and light, all.