Valuing What Makes Us Feel Whole
After a long week of travel, bad news for my family, quitting my job and trying to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, I have taken today to dig deep within myself. Today I will ask a question that is incredibly scary and all so very new to me:
What am I worth?
Have we ever taken the time to value our worth? Not what we are worth just monetarily, but much, much, more than that.
Recently, I have been struggling with working in the incredibly wealthy and crazy fast paced DC Metro Area. My husband and I moved here just over two years ago and ever since, I have been jumping around job to job. In the past two years I have had more than five different jobs. Some were great temporary jobs. Others were not so great, and did not end up working out. Overall, today I feel drained, sad, and not valued.
In an area such as this, people that are outspoken, courageous and bold strive. Unfortunately, those qualities are not some of the first that my friends would use to describe me. I’m a college graduate with a degree in Education who worked incredibly hard through school in both the classroom and at my job. I have had excellent references from past employers, and like to believe I am a great asset to any school or company. Although I know that I have the qualifications that make a great employee, I have found that there is something that I do not know…my worth.
Just about a year ago my mother-in-law and I were talking about adapting to city life. I am from a small town in Wisconsin where the average person is not in a huge rush to get from point A to point B, and the word Au Pair sounds something like a foreign French baguette.
I had just graduated college and was working as a nanny making more money than I would have ever made starting out as a teacher. For the first time I felt inferior to another human being. I began to notice that my name was no longer used, and instead I was labeled as “The Nanny” when introduced or spoken to. That family-like relationship I was looking forward to creating was becoming further and further from the reality.
It was on a Christmas Vacation that my mother-in-law said to me for the first time: “What are you worth?” She was not talking about money or job duties but just raw, true value, and I was unsure of what to say…
It was at that point that I began to question, “What am I worth?” As individuals are we worth being called by our real name? Are we worth knowing whether we will be home to have dinner with our families? Are we worth a heads up if we are going to have to stay late?
I believe that we are all no better than any job. We can find happiness tending bar, changing diapers, folding laundry, cleaning fish bowls, choreographing dances or teaching a classroom full of crazy kids. Although we can do any job if we set our mind to it, we have to feel of value…of worth. What my mother-in-law said to me next was one of the most resounding statements of my life.
“We have to first understand and value our own worth.”
She stressed the fact that although we will find people in our lives that realize and treasure our worth, we are the only ones that drives it. It is up to us to decide what we are worth, how to expand it, and how to present it. This is where I struggle the most. How to present my worth. In the last two years I have learned the importance of presenting my worth from day one so that expectations are met. Does an employer expect us to arrive to work on time? Do they expect us to greet customers with a positive attitude or finish our duties before leaving at night? Then it is okay to expect things in return. We should expect to be valued, respected, and most importantly to feel of worth.
Finding our worth is the beginning step that sometimes feels less like a step and more like descending from a mountain top. Taking the time to focus on what it is that makes us happy, what helps us find peace, what makes us feel whole, allows us to accept and value our own true worth.
Each of us find worth in so many different things that others will not know truly what we value until we communicate it. Once we figure out what it is that is essentially important to our everyday lives, is when we begin to present it to others. I am learning that presenting our worth is not only for the bold, assertive, driven individuals working their way up the ladder or hoping to get that next pay raise. It is just as important to present our need for good communication, nights home with our families or even kindness and respect. It is these things that help us to create a balanced life filled with unlimited possibilities. Just as our lives change, families grow and experiences make us stronger, our worth will pass through time with us.
As we grow, evolve and adapt to new surroundings, we can continue to sit back and re-evaluate our beautiful ever changing worth.
Author: Brook Taylor
Editor: Travis May
Image: Author’s Own