Monday, 2 November 2015

Valuing ourselves

The main points of my previous post was that a) there are many ways of determining value, and b) I wish that society wouldn’t make judgements based on traditional views of success (including parenting). Value, like beauty, takes many forms.

Self-value came up a lot in the comments, and because the commenters are thoughtful, this wasn't a  “shame the victim” response, but rather a hope that by recognising our value, we learn tools to survive a judgemental world. Valuing yourself first is a good point to make - hence this new post - as initially much of the pain and shame I felt (and that I see from others) embarking on a no kidding lifestyle, came from how I felt I fit (or not) into my families and communities, and how those communities – or even the world in general – saw me. However, it can be brutal to suddenly feel on the edges of society, ignored in politics, shamed as a failure, and this onslaught of negative messages batters any self-confidence or self-value we had left after going through infertility.

One of the most healing things we can do is learn to value ourselves for who we are, rather than what we are or are not. That isn’t easy to do when you feel a failure, when you are grieving, when you are struggling with figuring out who we are, and what value we have to the world, and I only have compassion for those who haven’t managed to come to terms with this yet.

But as we heal and grow, as we learn gratitude for what we have, redefine success, and as our compassion for ourselves and others grows, it gets easier. We can again stand tall, confident in the fact that we do have value to the world, if in a different way than we - or society - may have expected.





8 comments:

  1. This theme of loving thyself is one I've certainly struggled with. Despite what is preached, though, there's also an element of shame associated with actually loving yourself. I know too many examples of people knocking others down who they perceive as "uppidded" when they are practicing this. That actually valuing yourself is somehow in direct opposition to humility.

    Ironically enough, it was only in the depths of infertility that I began learning to value myself. It was actually that or succumbing to the darkness that filled my heart and demanded that I cease living. After all, I learned that in order to define my value, I first had to believe it. There's still many days I struggle with this, but at least I now believe that my life is a valuable one.

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    1. You're right. Though I think valuing yourself allows you to be humble, kind, compassionate, because there's no need to prove ourselves. So maybe it's all in the way we show our self-value/self-love?

      And even though you don't need outside validation, your life is truly valuable - not just to yourself, but to others. It's valuable to me, for one.

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  2. I love this extension of your previous post. Self-value is important, but hard. And like you said, when the greater society around you is so aggressively not valuing you, you have to be so much more vehement in valuing yourself. I love the idea of self-valuing as a part of the healing process.

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  3. I love this graphic.

    I do think we can value/love others only to the degree that we value/love ourselves -- warts and all.

    I think you've got the key to world peace here, Mali!

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  4. I think I have had the opposite experience, seeing the benefit of being ignored because I don't fit into the majority culture, but I think that my mind set may come from not being part of the majority culture in the first place. If you've always been on the fringes, you don't miss being in the middle. And when you get in the middle due to lining up with a certain experience, you don't see the middle quite in the same way as someone who is accustomed to being in the middle.

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    1. That's such an interesting perspective. I think you're right - if you've always been on the fringes, and you're comfortable in your identity, having grown up with that, it probably feels different to those who expected, by becoming a parent for example, to move to the centre, and yet find themselves forced to the fringes. The shock of privilege being taken away. Pretty horrible though that any of us have to live on the fringes, feel isolated and ignored!

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  5. Beautifully put. Though, as you say, easier said than done. And sometimes we need one first person to tell us, at the right time, in the right way, before we can come to terms with/accept/internalize that truth ourselves.

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