I’ve been messing up a lot lately and I think it’s a direct correlation to the confused state of my focus; of my values. Remember when I asked you to think about where you invest your time, you talent, and your treasure? How did you decide what would capture that focus? Or did life just go from moment to minute to hour to day to week to a routine that you never anticipated to begin with? That’s where I am.
Ever wonder about ‘value’? Not morals but the parts of our worlds that we place value on. And not necessarily material things (cell phones, homes, a good cup of coffee) but humans, relationships, family. Or success and goals and pride. I have struggled with value very recently because what I value, who I value, seems to be concrete in my heart but what I can’t control, the desired to be valued or considered valuable is getting to be pretty hard. I think that’s where unconditional love comes in — that the whole truth of caring or respecting someone, something, is being able to do it when or irregardless of whether or not the person or thing feels the same, or is capable of valuing, me back in the same way. What’s more, we all express care or value in different ways. I find I am a lot like my mom — I like to bless people with baking or my time or a little surprise or something that shows that they are thought of. But as I am learning, just because I do it this way, others don’t and it doesn’t mean they care any less.
But back to being valued. When did I decide that my measure of worth was based on if I was affirmed and valued by other people? Yes, I realize that I cannot demand to be valued by the same cup of coffee that I value so deeply. However, with people it’s hard not to scream “can’t you see how much I care about you?” and aside from scaring someone silly, that actual admission would cause my head to tumble fast to the floor and my heart to lead which is something very, very difficult for me. What’s more, admitting that makes the potential of no return much more possible — when you actually face what you value, who you value, head on. Whatever it is, especially with friends, the chance that you care and value a relationship to an exponentially large degree can reside on the chance that the other 50% of your relationship doesn’t feel the same way, or feel as much as you do. I think that’s why I have very few good friends; I’m a bit overwhelming in the caring department.
Mom told me recently that I am a winner. She reminded me of the things I would do or wouldn’t do growing up and even in the recent years solely based on whether or not I could tell I would be successful or not. Meaning: unless I know I will win, I won’t do something. I need instant gratification, I need to know I am rewarded for the effort I put in. Success to me has never been less than what I know I deserve. If I got a B+ and I barely put any effort into an essay, that’s one thing… but if I got that B+ and worked hard and visited the prof and did my very best, I would be enraged. Literally. Same with relationships. If I’ve been around someone for a breath and can sense that this is worth the investment and worth the effort, I put more than 100% in so I know I am doing all that I can to know I am doing the very best that I can. BUT that doesn’t mean it is returned and that fear of failure, the fear of not being worthy of that same type of respect or adoration or value makes the risk of putting my heart out there for a friend or family or whomever something I don’t do very easily — certainly not with confidence. Why? Because there is an immense vulnerability in this risk that a winner might actually end up losing.
But where has my goal of caring and loving and valuing unconditionally gone when I apparently expect and want a return? Or to know it’s been worth it? It is worth it? If nobody ever calls me back or I never text message anyone, then why do I take my phone with me wherever I go? Because there is a potential somebody will.
I mean, isn’t that the point — defaulting to the positive, not negative? Believing that people do value you just as much as you them? This is where I get lost in my own insecurities that I am doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong feeling, laughing at the wrong time, or caring where it isn’t welcome.
Back to coffee. For the value I find in a good, honest cup of coffee, it’s a bit of a blow when it turns out to being a syrupy cup of bitter and gross grinds-infested-not-even-resembling-coffee liquid. I get discouraged. I am sad. I wonder why I placed so much of my heart and desire on that tantalizing mug when there is always a chance for disappointment; or a chance that it will fail me.
I do think it is all worth it when there is that chance, that moment where I feel, even if only for a breath, that not only is the investment necessary to my living my life the best way I can but that I am doing it with joy and commitment to… not make any concessions, for anyone. I am going to be me and hopefully that in itself will be rewarded value enough.