You are worth so much, another reminder

There have been times – many, in fact – where I feel worthless. My thoughts toss over one another as if in a tumble dryer, telling me I should be “farther” in life than where I currently am. I look at friends, acquaintances, family members, who have all accomplished so much, found what their life is meant to be about, and the most appropriate emotion that comes to mind is discouraged. Lazy. Simply put, crappy. In my personal experience, there are few feelings as terrible as scrutinizing yourself and coming to the conclusion, “I’m not enough.”

I know I’ve written on this topic before, so forgive me if I’m redundant from my previous posts, but this is a topic quite personal for me, and I know for many others as well. I wanted to revisit it, especially because over the past few weeks I’ve felt more worthless than normal. Suffering from depression, I’m clearly not blessed with high self-esteem in the first place, but even on bad days I usually have enough self-acceptance to tell myself, “you’re enough.” Unfortunately, as I lay here in bed, up rather late for someone who has to be at work at four in the morning, I feel the need to release my feelings on this subject once again.

For myself, there’s always been something tragically pitying about trying to pat yourself on the back…the equivalent of a “cheer up bud” from a coach, or some cheapy, dollar-store participation medal whilst everyone else gets gold and silver. A consolation prize, if you will. I want a gold medal, so telling me that the participation medal is just as cool isn’t going to cut it for me. I, like many others, don’t want to settle. Most aren’t asking for the world, they’re simply asking for contentment, a sense of accomplishment that isn’t acknowledged as, again, a figurative pat on the back.

In my view, it all comes down to comparisons (another topic I’ve written on multiple times before, for the same reason) – holding yourself to a standard that someone else has set for themselves, and beating yourself up emotionally when you fail to reach it. Logically, I think it’s fairly easy to point out the flaws in this way of thinking. For one, the standards you may try to hold yourself to aren’t even yours. As a 24-year old, I can look at another person of my age and say, “Oh, they’ve graduated college, and they’re on a fast track to a career. I’m physically at the same point in my life as them, and I haven’t achieved either of those things and as such, I’m a failure in that regard.” Perhaps my example of hearkening myself to a failure is a bit extreme, but it’s still the same train of thought that many go through when judging themselves based on standards set for others.

So, as I look at this person who has completely different circumstances, skills, social groups, and just a different life in general, I still find a way to expect myself to be at the same level of “accomplishment” as they are. Can you see the flawed logic? Simply put, despite any similarities we may have in our lives, the fact remains that our lives are not the same. For every similarity we have, we have ten more differences between us, in so many different aspects of our lives. So, when we hold ourselves to a standard based off of somebody else’s life, it’s bound to end in disaster.

With all of this, there’s the snowball of emotions we call “worth.” I don’t mean literal, financial worth, but instead our self-worth; how much of an achieving human being we see ourselves as. In my opinion (and that’s all it is), the entire concept of worth in our society is gross, poisonous, and just plain hurtful. As a millennial in the United States, I was passively expected by American society to have graduated college. As someone who has not, my job prospects are severely limited, and I can’t even tell you the amount of time I’ve been asked by family members who I barely talk to when I’m going back to school, as if it’s low-key expected of me.

Of course, this is just one of many examples, all based on where you live, your family, living situation, etc. As I’ve tried to demonstrate thus far, this cultural and social mindset also leaks into our personal psyche. We are so prone to comparing ourselves to others, and using our discontent at not being where we want to be compared to others to fuel our motivations. I don’t believe that there’s anything inherently wrong with this, but when it gets to the point where it emotionally drains us, making us tell ourselves that we aren’t enough, it needs to stop. I’m convinced that there are much healthier ways to motivate yourself to achieve your goals in life.

So, in case you have trouble telling yourself this, as I do, let me be blunt: you are worth so much. Regardless of your social, financial, romantic, familial, or occupational situation, you are precisely where you’re supposed to be at this point in time. You are a unique individual, so acting like you should be where somebody else is in their lives just doesn’t make sense. Don’t get me wrong – I know we still compare ourselves to others anyway. Heck, I do it constantly. But that still doesn’t change the fact that you are you, and nobody else, no matter how desperately you wish that your “worth” was as great as theirs.

I’m worth plenty. He’s worth plenty, she’s worth plenty. It all just comes down to realizing that we all are, including you.

Stay strong.

– Ryan

 

Self-Affirmations

Beating ourselves up is easy. Find an aspect of our personality that we don’t like, or look at something we did which we regret, and anything taken out of proportion enough can seem catastrophic. Loving ourselves can be harder. Giving ourselves compliments, even internally, can make us feel like we’re bragging, celebrating our successes when maybe the world doesn’t even feel that they need to be celebrated. But it doesn’t have to be the rest of the world that validates us. We can validate ourselves. We can determine whether we deserve love or hate, and which we choose to receive (or deny). I’ll tell you right now, I’m a firm believer that everyone deserves love. I’m willing to bet that most people feel that way. But accepting it, even from ourselves, can be a hell of a lot tougher than some people might imagine.

So I’m going to just post a few sentences here. Self-affirmations. Things we can say to ourselves to remind us of our inherit worth. Say them out loud, that’s important. If you just think them, they’ll be like every other self-praising thought that passes through your mind. Saying these out loud gives them substance – even just hearing the words can help. You may say them out loud and feel no different. That’s okay. Like I said before, only we can choose whether we’re open to receiving love, and saying these things to ourselves gives our mind the opportunity to accept that love, in this particular case, self-love. You’re worth so much, if you won’t take my word for it, maybe you’ll take your own.

 

I have the capability to love myself and others, unconditionally.

I have worth, not determined by outward circumstances or others’ opinions of me, but inherit worth.

I don’t need validation from the world to accept myself, I only need validation from myself.

I am so much more than anything illnesses that may plague my brain or body; I am a soul, a human consciousness, and no disease or affliction can change that.

I live in a world where people can be cruel, but can also have hearts bigger than the sun.

I have people, whether I realize it or not, that genuinely care about me and wish for my success, my happiness, and my inner peace.

I am a unique soul with unique circumstances; I have lived a life unlike any other that has come before or will come after, and what I have to offer the world is something that nobody else ever can.

I am flawed, I am guilt-ridden, I am not perfect in any sense of the word, but no one is. I am better than good enough. I am good.

 

  • Ryan

Comparison, the Enemy of Joy

Comparison is a pretty vile thing. In order to compare ourselves to someone else, we have to accept (to an extent) that there is some “quota” that we must reach. Some undefined line that begs us to surpass it, otherwise we failed in that regard. The problem with comparison, however, is that that “quota” is constantly in flux, depending on who we compare ourselves to.

From as far back as our early childhood, many of us are taught (albeit unknowingly) to judge our own worth based on how we stack up against others. “Tom’s only a freshman and he made the varsity team, yet you’re a junior and you didn’t? Why not?” “Potter is only eleven and he already defeated the most powerful dark wizard of all time and he’s the Seeker of the Gryffindor quidditch team, and you can’t even keep your wand intact?? Shame!”

In the end, aren’t we all a Ron Weasley?

Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme. But humans truly have a nature to treat life accomplishments as a competition, as so much of society tends to urge us to. There are seriously so many problems with this mindset. Unless you consider yourself the best of the best in everything you do (and I have never met anyone who thinks that), the comparison mindset only promotes thinking of yourself badly. In competition, the goal is to be number one. Olympic atheletes aim for the gold, American football teams fight to reach and win the Super Bowl…the list goes on. Anything less than the best isn’t good enough.

Then there’s that line. “You tried, and that’s all that matters.” Yeah, sure, great. In a perfect world where depression, low self-esteem and a naturally competitive society doesn’t exist, that’s all that matters. Truth of the matter is, though, that isn’t the world we live in, and if you’re reading this then you probably already know that. As nice as it would be to just move on from something we consider ourselves “failing” at, for those of us with depression, it frankly isn’t that easy. Hell, even for those without depression is it rarely that easy.

Depression causes many of us to think that we’re not enough without even somebody else in the picture – basically we don’t need to see how we stack up against someone else to see how much we fail. When comparison is brought into the picture, however, it’s a whole new level of beating ourselves up. “I already knew that I was bad on my own, but now that I see just how good this person is doing at [insert literally any action], now it confirms that fact that I really suck at it.” Like I mentioned, unless you believe you’re the best in the world at [thing], you’re automatically put in a position to beat yourself up.

Now, I could go into the whole “you’re a unique snowflake with your own qualities and quirks and you can’t compare yourself to anyone else, because every snowflake is different” thing. As poetic as it may be to say that we’re all snowflakes, it rarely helps us stop comparison. Yeah, we’re each unique, but if you take two different snowflakes and look at them each under a microscope, you can still say, “Ooh, that one’s prettier.” I would absolutely love to be able to convincingly buy into that mindset of uniqueness and individuality, but comparing myself to others is something I struggle with every single day. I rarely resent people for being what I consider being “better” than me, I just beat myself up for not being able to reach that level of quality myself. You don’t have to tell me that’s unhealthy, I know, that’s why I’m writing this post. I compare myself with others every day, but only recently have I started to look at it from an outside view to see how emotionally damaging it is.

Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely do believe that each and every person is unique, and there will never be two human beings with the same combination of qualities and flaws as each other. It just isn’t logical to compare ourselves to one another, because we’re all different in countless ways. But let’s be honest here – when has simple logic ever stopped a depression-addled mind from thinking the way it does?

So I won’t try and convince you to stop comparing yourself to others. As much as I would love to spout the snowflake argument, I have trouble applying that to my own life – I won’t force you into applying it to yours. However, I can say one thing about comparisons – I can guarantee that anyone using comparison as a means to judge you and your life isn’t worth being around.

I promise you, the people who truly care about you don’t put you into a ranking system. There’s no top ten list or medals to award. There is just you, as a person. To the ones that care, you are you, and someone else is someone else. There is no you vs. them. There is you. And there is them. Seperate entities, seperate people, each with their own accomplishments and flaws, each completely seperated in that regard from the other. This isn’t to say that you aren’t connected in any way, but when it comes to “winning and losing” the battle of being worth something, it’s safe to say that doesn’t exist.

In short, you may compare yourself with others, but others don’t compare you with others. At least, not the ones who matter in your life. There are times when I myself stray from seeing each person individually, and internally judging them based on how they rank against each other. I’d like to think that, most of the time, I catch myself, because their worth is not based on my judgement (or anyone else’s, for that matter) of them. I say this over and over again in my posts, but it’s because I truly believe it: worth is inherent. Nobody can take it away from you, and no one person is born with more or less worth than another.

I mean it when I say nobody can take away your value and worth to the world, and that includes you trying to take it away from yourself. If you view yourself as a failure as a result of comparing yourself to others, it doesn’t affect your value as a human being. I know it isn’t easy to just change your mindset to one of constant self-worth: hell, I’m writing this post tonight, truly believing everything I say here, but I’m still probably going to go into work tomorrow and judge myself against others (and when I judge myself, I generally come up with a very low score). But I’m working at changing that. I’m getting better at catching myself in these destructive thoughts; reminding myself that I’m worth as much as anyone else no matter my “failures.”

I know that it’s nearly impossible to change a way of thinking overnight. It comes slowly, but if you keep working at it, your mind will accept it. If we’ve been taught as a society to compare ourselves to others, we can teach ourselves to tell comparison to go screw itself. Don’t view others as an object to compare yourself to. View others as a person, like you, but not you. You aren’t brands of steak – you or they aren’t a finer or lesser cut. You’re people. You have such value to just your existence, imagine how much you can build on that by your actions and words, not by your accomplishments compared to others.

I feel like this post is a bit scattered – I didn’t plan this topic ahead of time, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about and wanted to share my thoughts on. Like I said, this is still something I struggle with every single day, but I do believe in everything I argued for in this post. You have value inherently, that can’t be changed by you seeing yourself as a failure, either to yourself or to the world around you. Please, try and remember that. Stay strong.

– Ryan

You’re worth so much

Despite what society feels fit to tell you

I use the word ‘worth’ a lot in my posts. It’s one of my favorite, but at the same time, least favorite words. It’s one of my favorite words because worth is something everyone has, whether they realize it or not. There are no varying degrees of worth, there is simply worth. You are a god-given human life, you have a soul, a conscious, and no one thing or other person can replace you. Whether you realize it or not, you have inherent value simply because you have a beating heart.

So why is a word that describes something so beautiful also one of my least favorite words? Simply put, the definition of ‘worth’ has been so incredibly skewered by human society that we’ve lost the true meaning of the word. When we talk about society as a whole seeing your worth, what exactly are they searching for? Money, career, social status, living conditions, clothes…the list goes on. Your “usefulness” to society is seen by what you can contribute to it, whether it be through your career, your money, your connections. In far too many people’s eyes, worth is nearly nonexistent if it doesn’t directly affect people other than yourselves. People jump to America as being the prime culprit of this mindset, but in reality most first-world countries subscribe to this way of thinking. Society doesn’t see worth as inherent value present in everyone regardless of their personal situation, but instead sees it as a tool; a ranking system for determing who is the more important individual.

I’m sure that many of you have heard this spiel before, but in my personal experience it’s one of the hardest to actually take to heart. You can tell somebody that they’re worth something a hundred times over, but when a large chunk of (generally fairly prevelant) society tells you your worth is based on matching or beating the status quo, then who is prone to have the larger voice? The multi-billionaire sitting in his high rise with all the luxuries of the modern world, who society sees as more worth their time, or the average person in their 1-2 bedroom apartment, just making enough to pay rent?

It’s not often that I’ll come straight out and say that something so engrained in our society is wrong, but this is absolutely one of those times. Society’s definition of worth sets the bar the same height for nearly everybody, not taking into account familial, monetary, or health situations. What does that mean for somebody who grew up in a slum, whose family is so poor that they can’t even afford community college? Even though that person doesn’t physically have the materials needed to get simple access to the same opportunities as someone else, it makes no difference. You have money, or your don’t. Worth vs. worthlessness. You have a PhD, or you don’t. Worth vs. worthlessness. You have a spacious house, or you don’t. I repeat, worth vs. worthlessness.

That. Is. Bullshit. Worth is inherent to every human being on this earth; a poverty-stricken individual has just as much capacity for good as a person with millions of dollars does. Is that ‘easy’ to see? I don’t know. Maybe not. But it’s there. That worth is there, whether or not they choose to accept it. It’s so damn tragic that so, so many people will go through this life without realizing they had even the slightest bit of worth, simply because a brainwashed society told them they didn’t. I know it isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers and then seeing the light that is your inherent value appear before your eyes. It’s especially easy to forget that value when something bad happens to us or someone we care about – a death, a breakup, being fired from a job – even something as simple as having a nasty thing said to you. But, in the same way society cannot take away your worth just by saying you don’t have any, no one action or failed relationship can take it away either.

In your darkest times, please try and remember that. Unless you stop being a human being, you will never stop having worth. To yourself, to others, and even to society (even if they don’t realize or accept it). 

So…whenever I talk about worth, that’s what I mean. Not your social status, not your bank account or education, but your value as a human life. Oh, and if you don’t buy my spiel? Too bad! You have worth just by being, and even if you deny that, it’s still there. If you can’t point it out to yourself, then let someone else do it with you. Talk to your friends, your family, your significant other, spend time with your pets, do something you’re really good at. I say this in nearly every post, but don’t be afraid to reach out to me, either. Send me an email or write a comment on here and I’ll get back to you. 

Like I mentioned before, I know it isn’t easy. There are times when I mentally break down because I feel like I have no value, to others or the world around me. But I jump back from that mindset, because I do have worth. Despite what happened to me on a crappy work day, or what stupid thing I might’ve said in the heat of the moment, I’m a person. I remember that, and so should you.

Stay strong.

– Ryan

What this blog is doing for me

Or maybe what it’s doing TO me…

I mentioned in my first post that the main reason I started this blog was for me. A blog is a great medium to record your experiences and emotions onto a tangible thing, and maybe help a few other troubled souls in the process. However, after only a week of posting on here I feel myself slipping away from what drew me to this way of expressing myself in the first place.

I find myself taking the social media approach to this. Facebook, Instagram, Myspace (hahaha)…it’s all about the likes and reaction. Man, I cringed just writing that, let alone admitting it to myself. I keep coming back to the mindset that the more views and likes a blog post of mine has, the better written it was. Or maybe the more relatable topic. Logically, I tell myself that is ridiculous. Again, this blog was for me, and in the long run, who really gives a crap how many people found it worth their time to hit a star button on their browser? 

Clearly I give a crap. And I hate that aspect of my mind. There are so many more important things to actually be concerned with, shame on me for giving this thought the time of day. I could try to lie to myself and say that I worry about the amount of people viewing my posts because I’m trying to encourage people, and so the less people who read my posts, the less encouraged people will be. My nose grew a foot while I typed that statement. 

Man, that sucks. I write these posts of encouragement and worth, yet here I am subconciously judging my worth based on a few blog posts. I dislike even having to write a post about this in the first place. But I need to. No sugar-coating or fake smiles, this is a flaw in me. But hell, that’s okay. I’m flawed; my depression tells me that every single day. You’re flawed, and unless you have the best self esteem of anybody on this planet, I’m sure you know that. But that’s fine. You’re human. I’m human. The people you’re afraid of judging you for your flaws are human. Whether or not it’s something you can see, whether or not it’s something a person admits outright, having flaws is part of life. It isn’t exclusive to any one mental illness.

I look at myself starting this blog as a means of self-therapy and beat myself up for judging how well my “self-therapy” is going by judging my worth on this blog by views and likes. I have a few photo-savvy friends with hundreds to thousands of Instagram followers, and they see a successful post on Instagram as the one with the most likes. For a photo-centric media, I suppose that makes sense, though their worth is much more than Instagram likes (but that’s a can of worms for another time). I come onto this blog, meant to be a public meeting place for like-minded individuals and groups, and I also judge my “blog success” by viewcount.

No! Bad Ryan! That’s not why you started this! Ahhh, damn my millenial social media mindset. So now that I’ve admitted it outright, I’d like to think I’ve taken my first step to breaking this poisonous view on the purpose of my blog. People make mistakes and are hypocritical. I make mistakes and am hypocritical. But we’re people. People have flaws. I have flaws. I just need to learn remind myself of that without beating myself up for it.

– Ryan

Why you should fight

Even if it seems way too hard.

So I’m sitting here, close to the end of my work day, my mind a whirlwind of negative emotions and thoughts. It’s all I can do to get my job done without outright screaming into the abyss about, well, everything. My breathing is heavy, my hands are involuntarily tensing, and I’m making an active effort to keep my mouth shut except when absolutely necessary.

I’m even looking over my past posts of inspiration, trying to get myself to calm down and remember what really matters – that I truly am blessed. I read these lines I spurt out over the computer which, make no doubt, I truly believe in. I believe everyone is worth something, that everyone is strong, that everyone can stem themselves against the tide. But damn if it isn’t easy to forget everything I believe is important during those moments of turmoil.

Let’s say I make it through all of this. I will, of course, but hypothetically. I “weather the storm” and all that jazz…what happens then? At the other side of life? Does some angel come down from heaven and sprinkle glitter and pop rocks all over me, with a giant CONGRATULATIONS banner in between two cherry blossoms? No. My “reward” is to be able to live another day, possibly more stressful than the last. It gets easier, sure, but it’s never actually easy.

So many people look at suicide as cowardice, a last ditch effort to make people aware of their suffering and get the (theoretical) last word. Emphasis on last. By no means would I ever advocate suicide or self-harm: it’s never, never, never the answer. I can’t stress that enough. But to look at suicide as some “throw in the towel” move for cowardly people is unfair. People who are genuinely considering ending their own life aren’t cowards – they’re desperate. They are so incredibly convinced that nothing can be done to lift them out of their suffering that the answer is to just give the suffering nothing more to eat at. The only, and they truly think, only answer, is to cut themselves off from every emotion entirely – you can’t be depressed as a body in a coffin, or as ashes in an urn on somebody’s fireplace mantle.

Again, this is in no way in defense of suicide, self-harm, or anything of the sort. There are always other answers to ease your pain in life. The reason I bring up this heavy topic, however, is to ask, if it’s so easy to just end it all, why keep going? What’s a moment’s pain or panic for an eternity of unfeeling, unknowing consciousness? Or maybe I’ll go to heaven…you can’t be sad in heaven, right? That’s why it’s heaven. But I digress…

Logically, ending your life should be so easy. So why are there still so many depressive, anxious, guilt-ridden individuals in the world who struggle with nothing less than their own emotions each day? What keeps them going? The answer, my friend, is life.

“Life keeps them going? Oh, yeah, reeeeal original. Pull that out of a Nicholas Sparks novel?” Yeah, okay, hear me out. As human beings, we are capable of feeling so many amazing emotions that simpler lifeforms cannot: happiness, joy, love, compassion. But also negative emotions: sadness, guilt, hurt, anger, rage…the list goes on. Yes, there are some nasty people out there. Maybe a few some would even consider evil. But humanity as a whole is good. Another incredibly well-known quote that is one of my favorites and gets me through each day, was by a teenager by the name of Anne Frank. “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”She wrote that line as Nazis were searching for people like her to eradicate. An entire country, nay, an entire alliance  was dedicated to wiping people out like her. She and everyone she loved was being hunted down like a prize buck, yet she still believed in the inherent goodness of the human soul. That…is simply mind-blowing to me. I know that her story didn’t end well. Stories in that day and age rarely did. But her hope, her compassion, and her faith has been an inspiration for people everywhere for more than half a century now.
There is, logically, a reason to end your life. It ends the suffering (or so many believe). But trust me when I say that there are a million more reasons to live, despite how you may feel on the crappiest of days.Your mother, your father, brother, sister, dog, cat, iguana, favorite song, favorite video game series, your significant other, sunrises, sunsets, coffee, strawberries, pillows….the list goes on and on and on (I could try and finish my list, but I’d need at least 17 more seperate blog posts to get anywhere near the end).

This is coming from a person who just had a super crappy day. Even after writing all that sap, my mind is still a whirlwind of emotions and I still (kind of) feel like screaming at an inanimate object. But I’m still going to go back to work, I’m still going to smile and exchange pleasantries with people and go home. I’m still going to wake up tomorrow and make it through that day too. I trudge on, because there is so much worth living for. Humanity is a beautiful mess. I’m going to be okay. You’re going to be okay. Keep fighting, because you can. Because you’re given that opportunity to. If you need to talk, I’m here. You got this.

– Ryan