A friend of mine called and said, “You have to come see my new car!” I did. When I saw it I thought: “It’s silver.”
Being a frequent rider of public transportation, I saw cars more as machinery. Machinery in different colors with a trunk. So it was no different than if she called me to, say, see her new bus. Actually, it would’ve been more way exciting to me if she bought a bus.
I asked the only thing I could think of related to cars: “What kind is it?” She laughed. “You’re so funny,” she said, “It’s a Mercedes.”
I was sure by her tone that was supposed to mean something so I offered a congratulations.
She also had a new house that she was renovating. In her house was an entire refrigerator drawer dedicated to wedges of cheese that you slice yourself and wrap back up in delicate plastic wrap that doesn’t stick to itself.
There wasn’t just one bottle of wine either. There was a rack on the wall of 15 of ’em.
I didn’t have fifteen of anything in my apartment to display, let alone to drink. I had a futon for a couch and four mismatched mugs.
Up until then, I had been busy with my inner life. Doing what I could to take small but significant risks to undo patterns, create better relationships, and become more authentic. That took time and a load of effort.
But I couldn’t call anyone and say, “Come over and see my new self!” The changes in the new & improved me were not visible to the naked eye. There’s no such thing as wedges of clarity in a refrigerator drawer, or 15 bottles of healthy boundaries on display. Not to mention, these kinds of inner changes don’t happen overnight so they don’t suddenly appear one day, shiny, new and in the driveway.
Of course I’m not saying you can’t have money, material things you feel proud of, and a healthy inner life at the same time. I just found it very difficult to feel proud of my accomplishments because I didn’t have anything directly to show for all my work.
In other words, as Run-D.M.C. said in one of my favorite lyrics of all time, “Won’t you tell me the last time that love bought you clothes?”
What about when you get through something tough? What if you take care of someone? Take brave steps to build your business? What if you make one new healthier choice? You can’t buy a car with that.
Can you imagine if we could? Pay for things with personal progress?! At the grocery store it would sound like this:
Cashier: “Will this be credit, debit, or self-worth?”
Me: “For the first time I expressed myself clearly. Genuinely thanking this guy for not wasting my time, telling him what I was looking for in life, no longer afraid of ‘scaring him away’ as they say, but instead revealing my true self and seeing if he’d like to take that road with me.”
Cashier: Sign here. And you qualify for our bag raffle.
My question is this: How do you measure the worth of self-worth?
I think I’d always thought self-worth meant “What am I worth?” or “What am I worthy of?” But I took a better look at the words Self-Worth and asked instead, “What is ‘worth’ my ‘self’?”
Then I went a step further and looked through a different currency. One that is very much about valuing the “self”: “What is worth my time?”
Enjoy your time today. Be grateful for what you create. (Check out my post “The Attitude of Gratitude“!) The many moments you spend building the fabric of our society, your friendhips, your familyships, and of course, yourself.