MAY 21, 2012 11:37AM

I Decide My Worth

Rate: 19 Flag

Last week, final paperwork was signed, converting my legal separation to a divorce, and giving responsibility of an upside-down house to me. Each time I think I’m in the clear, I find myself circling one more ring of divorce hell. In several weeks, I’ll go to court for the last time, I hope, and hear a judge’s gavel fall… thumping out this sad failure. Not surprisingly, this past Friday night was a little blue.                                               

Bailed out again by an angelic friend, my sadness was kept away until late that night  by her endlessly patient listening. But when she left, I was stuck with myself, and a silent house. Ownership is sweet most of the time, but it can feel empty, too. I thought about how I worked with a real estate agent four years ago to make this house happen for my ex; because I wanted to make him happy. There were many things I did to try to achieve this aim.

Descending into thoughts of the miserably insulting events of the last six months, I was stuck in a loop in my mind. Not even resisting anymore, I gave in, and felt small and, well, kind of worthless.

Then something miraculous happened to me: a thought as clear as a noontime bell rang out four simple words, “I decide my worth.”

Climbing into bed, I repeated the thought, and mercifully fell asleep.

For the rest of the weekend, I worked on promoting my art to galleries at Cannon Beach; and got the word out about my new classes online. I visited another angelic friend, and then checked on my kids. I did what I have to do, all the while thinking about that statement: I decide my worth.

On the drive to Cannon Beach, I listened to playlists on my IPod, which include exclusively female artists. On my “Siren” playlist, I have Stevie Nicks, Heart, Tori Amos, Sarah McLaughlin, Imogen Heap, PJ Harvey, Fever Ray, well, you get the gist.  I thought about what these ladies are trying to say, and trying to become. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to be beautiful, and even acquiescent… it’s also okay to kick ass. It’s the mood and circumstance that moves us, and inspires us to act. In short, it’s okay to be a complicated woman: there is value in it.

During a much needed beach walk by Haystack Rock, I imagined I was that rock, set deeply into the earth; standing firmly, regardless of the crashing surf. I am home to little creatures, and my presence is not only appreciated but valuable…even life giving.

On the drive home, I worked through some anger about the futility of putting so much love and effort into a marriage that was both utterly unfulfilling to me and eventually pointless. I let go of some stuff. The struggle now is to not pick it back up.

Sunday morning, I was busy again, having coffee with another kind friend. But at some point, I had to face the unresolved question lurking in my mind: I decide my worth…so, what is my worth? While I did a lot of yoga and took another walk, I confronted the question head on, and found it wasn’t easy to answer.

At first, I asked with genuine curiosity, and then with the defiance of a fourteen year old. “I deserve better than I’ve gotten” was a good place to start. Then I worked closer to the answer by describing to myself what I want and deserve. Closer… but still it’s easy to side step the question.

Finally, I remembered what my mother told me when I was five: She said I was worth more than all the money in the world, all the stuff in the world, all the whatever in the world. She said I was priceless.

Surprised me she did….and perhaps now I can feel her meaning. My worth, everyone’s worth, is beyond measure. All of us are infinitely precious. If we’re brave, we can act on this, and treat ourselves and everyone else with respect.

I think anyone who’s been used needs to sit quietly and ask and answer this question, “What is my worth?” The revelation is deeply healing, and could even be lifesaving, as we gentle people endeavor forward in this often challenging world.

Perhaps our wisdom can inoculate us against those damned vampires, who enjoy taking our loving energy without replacing it, yet know not what they do. It’s time for the meek to inherit the earth, so to speak, or at least claim their worth in it.

So, what am I worth? I am worth a sweet life shared with loving people and good work. What’s your worth?

Author tags:

self worth, healing, divorce

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I am who I am and always put others before myself. Maybe that is why my life gets sucky but I am not about to change. I like to think I have done good but know I have suffered sometimes because of the way I have lived my life.

No matter how you live your life you are priceless because there are some that would miss us if we were not around. You are a goddess to your children and to me , so never forget what you are worth to all of us.
What a lovely reflection. Your worth is infinitely great, and you are worth so much to me! ;)
Linda- I love you! What a treasure you are to me and countless others who are blessed by knowing and reading you.

B- You are such an important friend to me. I love you much and value your kindness and wisdom. We're going to get it dear! Though I shouldn't have bought those the temptation is too great!
Thanks for sharing your wise reflections, Maureen. Hopefully there will always be a place in this world for loving and gentle people. I really love your image, "I imagined I was that rock, set deeply into the earth; standing firmly, regardless of the crashing surf." Keep on rockin' on. :)
a moving, introspective piece. Sounds like you have the right mindset.
Maureen, this is a direct quote from my memoir, which I wrote during and after my divorce:

"Through the bittersweet process I've learned that growth, understanding, and acceptance take their due course. What's important is not to lose hope, and not to yield into thinking that Life is over. Stop, take a breath, and put a distance between raw wounds and irrational thoughts. Trust in Time. It takes and it gives; it rips but it also heals. When you finally let go of what was not yours, you will be left with all that is, and regain , as I did, the will to live, to forgive and to rebuild what no one will be to take from you again."

I hope that answers your question about what is I'm worth and what I'll never compromise again. With love,
" one will be able to take from you again"
You are priceless and I am, too. We should have known it all along.
It's too bad that those words from our moms can get lost when we're out in the world. I'm glad you discovered them again.
A question I was forced to answer in the last couple of years, too. It's not something easily forgotten once determined, and I also realized I'm worth being taken care of and that starts with me.
I'm sure you'll continue to grieve and heal, and, in the end, it will all be worth it.
Maureen, its rough getting back on your feet, however you’re doing an amazing job. It gets better I promise.
Yes you are priceless!
Maureen, I think you've found that being a giver without boundaries, trying to make someone happy, doesn't work. I've certainly had to learn the lesson of letting go and then not picking up again, over and over. You are priceless - go discover your own worth.
Recognizing and getting away from vampires is essential to connecting to a sense of self-worth. Sounds like you're doing well (despite some painful spasms - think Birthing Yourself).
Dignity, couage and integrity.
I meant courage.
Unless I sell a novel that ends upon the Amazon/ NY Times bestsellers lists I'm pretty much screwed as far as money goes, but I still value my time and hope for the best.
The hard part is remembering that what you are worth- to you- is yours to cherish. We can't put that worth on ourselves like a price tag, and ask for bidding. The love our parents feel for us will never be the same as spousal love, and for our own children (should we have them). The other hard part of valuing our worth is not equating it with the actions, deeds, gifts, words of others. Because they will pretty much always fall short, in some respect. You aren't your marriage, and you aren't your divorce. Maybe even the life you have lived isn't you, either, just what you've been doing with you. It isn't a reflection of your worth. It's very, very hard not to put a bride price on our own heads, when our results don't match up to our endeavors.
"So, what am I worth? I am worth a sweet life shared with loving people and good work."Sweet,sesnitive,good thinking..Maureen,great work...Rated...I think I worth the same...
Whoa, you are my new role model! It took me years to get anywhere near this clarity. Remarkable too since my own divorce took over three years from start to finish and I had loads of time for perspective looking. We should compare notes over a glass of champagne sometime. We'd both end up laughing! /R
Enjoyed your piece. Been there as a man but I think this question easily goes beyond any gender questions. First and foremost we are all human beings capable of love, hurt, and a myriad of other life experiences. Be blessed. R Duke
Thoughtful questions, introspective piece here M, now to the answer ?
I believe that our true worth is always there, just like your rock. Solid and true. We just get knocked around, and a little scared, or angry, and our perception suffers as we try to make up stories of "why". What a terrific post about getting your clarity back. These messages are really important. Very best to you.
Maureen, your introspection and your writing of it here is amazing. You voice so well and so clearly that which I seem totally unable to do at the moment.

A big, big hug to you.
You sure are precious. Good questions, beautifully asked. Nice to meet you, Maureen. I hope the divorce is behind you now.