You know that quote that Viola Davis says in “The Help?” You is kind, you is smart, you is important. Couple things: 1. If you haven’t seen that movie, do so immediately. 2. She’s right.
For a very long time, and I’m talking 22-years-of-my-life-long-time (I’m 24 now), I felt worthless. I wasn’t walking around feeling like a cluster of nothingness, but I wasn’t strutting about feeling secure in who I was, either.
For as long as I can remember, I would compare myself to others around me and always feel inferior. When I was a dancer, I wasn’t proud of my own accomplishments because Jenna could do a quadruple pirouette and I was lucky to hit a clean double. When I was a biology major, I wouldn’t celebrate my 92 on my dissection lab because my lab partner, Kevin, got a 98. I wish I could say that I’ve known I was worthy for the majority of my life, but that isn’t true. As a matter of fact, recognizing my self-worth has been a rather new discovery, and one I am immensely grateful for.
I don’t think there’s a tutorial out there that will teach you how to feel worthy. If there were, I would’ve Googled that as soon as I got dial-up Internet when I was a kid. I honestly believe feeling worthy comes with time and life experience. What I can offer is some advice that I tell myself every single day, and the process that I went through in order to find my sense of worth amidst the jumble of comparison, self-loathing, and, let’s be honest, empty pints of Ben & Jerry’s (Half Baked, anyone?).
1. Find what you’re good at…and let yourself be good at it.
This one seems simple enough, right? It wasn’t for me at first, simply because I was afraid to be good at something and for others to recognize my talents. My “thing” that I’m good at is acting. I also think I’m a pretty good director, a decent writer, and my comedic timing is on point (Tina Fey, if you’re reading this: let’s collaborate). For a long time, I stifled this within myself for fear of succeeding, because if there’s anything scarier than failing, it’s rising to the top. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how important it is to find what you’re good at and try to be the best you can be at it. Don’t let your unique talents go to waste- tap into your potential.
2. Let go of how other people perceive you.
I believe that you can be one of two people in this world. You could be the type of person who is afraid to make choices and be yourself because other people might not agree with you or like you or invite you to their silly mixer at that lame uptown bar. Or you could be the type of person who is secure in yourself, who knows what you like and dislike, and doesn’t give two schlitz what others have to say about it. When you live this way, you’ll be living life on your own terms and confident that the people who stuck around are the ones worth keeping.
3. Remind yourself that you’re in control of your life.
If anyone understands a series of unfortunate events, it’s me and Lemony Snicket. Though life has its trials and tribulations, the outcome of your life is 98 percent up to you. The other two percent is in the hands of your girlfriends when you tell them you need to stay in on a Friday and watch “The Notebook” in the pajamas you’ve been wearing for three nights straight and they’re all, “No, you have to go to the bar,” so you’re like, “Fine.” But for the most part, you are in control of your life.
I remember the first time I realized that I held the reins to the horse and buggy that is My Life. I’m the conductor of this train. I’m the pilot of this jet. I’m the baker of this cake. I remember when I realized that I was in control, my entire world transformed. I was happy. Excited. And in an ever-changing, often turbulent world, feeling happy and excited about your life is the best gift you could ever give yourself.
While there’s no guidebook for how to feel worthy overnight, know that it will come with time, and it all starts with believing it.
You are worthy.
I am worthy.
It’s time to take control of our lives, take the reins, and bake the most decadent cake that we want. It’s time to strut around secure in who we are because we are women who aren’t afraid to rise to the top, together.