Have you ever watched The Joy Luck Club? There are so many tremendous scenes, but one has always stuck in my head. One of the daughters whom the movie focuses on has been left by her husband. He comes by to visit and to see their daughter and she always makes him his favorite dessert – peanut butter pie. Her mother is staying with her one day when she is buying the fixings. The mother chastises her. “You are saying that you are worth nothing more than this pie he gets to eat. That is your value.” You can watch the full part of this plot here.
The real problem Rose has is that she thinks from the first time that she meets her husband (ex-husband) that he is better than her. He’s cute, he comes from a well-known family, he’s rich. The fact that he comes on to her immediately flusters her even though she’s brilliant in her own right, and she spends most of their life together losing herself in the wake of whatever he wants. I have a feeling that in one way or another, this story would resonate with a lot of people. You are going along and all of a sudden a person whom you feel is really important starts to pay attention to you. You feel flattered, flustered, excited, confused, lucky, even. And you are instantly hit with a worry. “What if they find out I’m not good enough?”
People come up with all sorts of ways to fight off what they feel is that inevitability. Some people make things like Rose does in the movie. Some people change their religions or change their personalities. In the worst case scenario, some people even succumb to abusive relationships, almost as if they expected things to go that way. The other person is so much better than them, after all.
Until you value yourself enough, you will signal to people that your worth is only in how you measure it. If you change your religion, your value is only as good as your new beliefs are deep. If you make things your value is only the value of those things. If you let yourself remain in an abusive situation, your value is the same as a punching bag.
When you find your value, when you know it and embrace it, you will no longer feel that nagging feeling that you need to make up for something. You will no longer feel “lucky” when people like you. You will no longer be surprised that people whom you like and respect like and respect you back – and for who you truly are. You won’t need pie or an act or anything but yourself.
What are you telling people your value is? Are you sure that’s the message you want to send? Are you sure that’s the message you want to believe?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamieanne/4704792547/ via Creative Commons