Worthiness matters, and here’s why.

If we don’t walk into situations with an inherent sense of worthiness, it is nearly impossible for us to open ourselves up to whatever that situation might offer us. It could be love; it could be a rich experience; it could even be pain meant to teach us something and help us grow. But if we don’t walk into situations with a sense of worthiness, then we’ll never know what each of those experiences are there for.

I started speaking again this year, and right before each talk, I felt these stings of unworthiness. An unhealthy tape would play in my head, telling me that I didn’t deserve to be up on that stage, that no one wanted to hear what I had to say, that I might be laughed off the stage. I feel it now, too, even when I write or post something on social media.

It’s a classic case of imposter syndrome.

I was talking to a friend not too long ago about imposter syndrome, and he gave me a helpful strategy for getting over it.

“Think of it this way,” he said, in so many words. “You were given a job to do. Someone decided that you were the right person for whatever job that is. And then you agreed to do it. So just go up there, do the job you agreed to do, and move on.”

It was an interesting way to think about imposter syndrome, that’s for sure. But it has played a powerful role in helping me change that tape that was playing in my head. It also helped me work through the faulty logic that comes with imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome tells us that we’re frauds. It tells us that we’re not good enough and that we’re undeserving of the opportunities laid before us. But what it doesn’t tell us is the reality of what the people around us see when they look at us. It neglects to consider the relationships that have brought us these opportunities.

When people invite us into their lives, and when they give us opportunities to be a part of something, they are doing so because they inherently see our worth. They see something within us that they, too, want to benefit from. They see the value that we can add to their lives.

It might sound a bit utilitarian to say this, but I don’t mean it in that way. What I mean to convey, instead, is the importance of relationships–that our own sense of worthiness exists in a fragile tension between our willingness to open up to others and others’ willingness to invite us in. We have to make the simultaneous choice to both open up and let others in if we want to continue cultivating worthiness.

Even as I conclude this brief post, I wonder… is this good enough to put out into the world? Is it polished enough? Does it make sense?

Maybe it does, and maybe it doesn’t. But it’s where I am today, and that will have to be good enough.

What does your tape say? And how do you change what it says?

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