June 13, 2024

A Message in Self-Worth from the Other Side.

 

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It took a conversation with my dead Grammy Jayne to get my self-worth in check.

Technically, she was my grandmother-in-law, but she was more like a grandparent to me.

I scheduled an appointment with a psychic medium this past March. It was supposed to be my “reward” for finally going through with a biopsy I kept postponing. In retrospect, I think I booked the session secretly hoping for reassurance the worst was behind me after a tumultuous couple of years.

At the time, I had zero idea what to say if the psychic were to ask what I was looking for; luckily, the medium didn’t ask. Instead, she immediately channeled an older woman who had passed away rather unexpectedly from something in her throat and chest area. The deceased wished to say thank you to my husband and I for being there when she passed on.

It could only be Jayne.

Then the psychic said, “She’s telling me the way you think about and speak to yourself is too harsh. You need to give yourself credit for everything you’ve done and are doing. It’s enough, more than enough.” Tears cascaded down my cheeks.

Jayne always spoke her mind freely. Some faulted her for being too direct. She didn’t care. I adored the way I always knew how she felt about a particular subject. Jayne was unapologetically herself.

For her to say something was worthy of recognition caught my attention. Jayne was one of the only female physicists to work on the navigation system for the Apollo. In a male dominated field, she withstood her fair share of criticism, but she refused to change for anyone.

“If an MIT Physicist was proud of me, why the f**k wasn’t I proud of me?” I asked myself.

I thought long and hard about this. Even when I achieve a goal it doesn’t take me long to “yeah, but” myself. “Yeah, but I only came in the top 40-percent of females in that race.” Or, “Yeah, but I’m not exactly writing bestsellers.” As quickly as I cross the finish line, or get an email that I’ve been published, I diminish it.

“It’s really no big deal compared to what other people are doing,” I’ve found myself thinking.

We live in a world where we have access to more information than ever before. People post everything nowadays. We see plenty of people who make far more money than we do, or at least appear to. Advertisements for beauty treatments, non-invasive plastic surgery, or a quick way to lose 10 pounds litter our newsfeeds.

It’s so easy to fall victim to the comparison trap, in which we compare our lives, our achievements, to others. Many of us don’t even realize we’re doing it. Being exposed to these unrealistic standards of beauty or definition of wealth changes our perception, even if it doesn’t align with our own beliefs and values.

For me, it was never about the amount of money I made after grad school. I was fully aware I had chosen a career in which I would never be a millionaire but thought I could make a difference. Despite social pressures and what society has normed as beauty standards, my face had never seen a needle of Botox, eyelash extensions, or lip fillers. I prefer a more natural approach to aging. When I’ve had to defend my position, I proudly say my body has successfully bore a child and completed marathons. It’s amazing as it stands.

My examination of my own inner critic led me to realize our self-worth belongs only to us. We are not meant to compare our own achievements with anyone else’s because self-worth is based on our own values.

It’s easy for us to beat ourselves up when we are trying to measure ourselves against someone else’s standards. The best thing we can do to feel good about ourselves is be true to what we stand for and what is important to us. Just the way Jayne did.

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