Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Worth

According to a well-known dictionary of legal terms, "the value of a thing is what that thing will bring."

Judged by that standard, I am not worth very much.

Yes, I understand that the quick-and-easy pop psychology gurus tell us that you "must value yourself" and that "you are most important to you; what other people think does not matter."

Those things are true, to a point.

And yet we spend our lives being valued, which often makes the difference between joy and misery. The value of our work is set by others; so is the value of our possessions. We depend on those measurements for survival, for success.

In the end, we cannot escape setting our personal value based on what we will "bring." Are we worth being loved? Are we worth listening to? Are those innermost needs and desires that can only be met with another person worth that someone else's attention or effort?

Perhaps more to the point, does what we "bring" to someone else increase their value?

Experience past and present has shown me my value in this value-oriented world. What this "thing" of flesh, blood and -- purprotedly -- a soul will bring is:

Nothing.

Nothing I consider of any value, anyway.

That's a hell of a payoff for 56 years of trying.

My own self-evaluation may well be more favorable. In fact, it is. But like any trader, I get little comfort from having set a high value on myself when at the crucial moment, the "thing" brings no return.

In a way, this is a variation of the "does a falling tree in the forest make a sound" question:

If I see myself, and try to comport myself, as a kind, loving, caring, supportive, interesting, lovable, valuable person and no one chooses to see that, is it really so?

The answer, based on the doctrine of worth, is a resounding no.

Today has not been a good day for me. This month has not been good for me. This year, which started out with such promise, has turned sour.

And I'm not sure that knowing I am a worthwhile person is good enough, if I alone am able to see it.

3 comments:

Justfly said...

That is an interesting sentence: "My own self-evaluation may well be more favorable."
I wonder how our own self-evaluation sizes up to someone else evaluating us.

MrScribbler said...

justfly -- the answer to your question is, of course, the point of this entry. When we find out that the evaluation made by someone who matters very much is unfavorable, self-worth evaporates....

fin said...

There are plenty of people on JS who feel you have worth.

Truly sorry you had a bad day, and tonight I understand fully.