By Mark E. Smith
Have you ever noticed how quick others are to make negative, diminishing comments as to your value as a person, from little snipes to direct put-downs? Often those closest to us are the worst offenders, using words to painfully try to degrade us. I remember as a very young child, my father constantly implying that I would never amount to anything due to my disability, and as much as the sting of that stays with me till this day, from as young as I can recall, I somehow had the insight to know that he was among the least qualified men on Earth to assess my “value.” The reality was, he was an unemployed alcoholic, who went on to be the poster boy for deadbeat dads – not exactly someone who should have been throwing stones in his glass house. If I could have expressed it at that young age, I would have gladly said, Remind me again how that beer can in your hand qualifies you as ultimate judge of my potential? You might say that I learned to “consider the source” at a very young age as to others’ assessments of me.
Of course, my father was no exception. It’s downright alarming how quick many are to strive to diminish others’ “value,” and it’s even more alarming how readily many take it to heart, feeling lesser because of what others have said. …Don’t be silly, you’ll never accomplish that. …Why would anyone ever love someone like you? …You’ll never amount to anything… I mean, I’m keeping my examples here tame compared to how vicious some can be – words from others that sting, scar, and damage. Think about how many children have had their dreams crushed, or how many spouses have had their self-worth shattered, by so-called loved ones diminishing their value with spiteful, hurtful, abusive words. Maybe you, too, have been there?
However, here’s what’s ironic about those who strive to diminish your value: They are not just morally wrong, they’re factually wrong. Assuming you’re living an integrity-based life, no one ever has a right to assess your value as a person – not your parents, not your significant other, not your friends, no one. While none of us are perfect – we all can always grow and improve – you are intrinsically “enough,” where you deserve to be embraced, wholly, as-is. No one gets a vote as to your intrinsic value – ever. You – and your higher power, if you practice such – are the sole deciding factor toward who you are, and what you can achieve, point blank.
What’s even more telling is when we consider the source of such verbal attacks. It’s never anyone of real merit. The Dali Lama or President never call to tell us how worthless we are. Rather, it’s always a bitter, deeply-troubled person – an alcoholic parent, spiteful spouse, or teen bully – who has no right to judge anyone. We know that anyone who’s compelled to belittle others to make oneself feel better is really projecting one’s own horrendous self image onto others.
I live my life very simply. I set my value high, where I know that I bring a vast offering to the table of life. Cerebral palsy is part of who I am, but not all of who I am. Yet, if someone is to be in my life at a sincere level, he or she must truly love and accept me wholly, as-is – no exceptions. In return, I love and accept others wholly, as-is. It’s these reciprocated, unconditional relationships that elevate our lives to levels of love, trust, and safety that are greater than many have ever known.
The next time someone takes a verbal swing at your value – not accepting you wholly, as-is – consider the source and don’t give such ignorant words credit. Little people say belittling things. Know that you are a giant in comparison, where you have unlimited potential to not just rise above all, but to truly soar.