What Am I Worth?
1. having or showing the qualities or abilities that merit recognition in a specified way.
2. deserving effort, attention, or respect.
3. good enough; suitable.
4 months ago… I committed to full eating disorder recovery by checking myself into a hospital because my heart was beating below what was considered medically stable.
13 weeks ago… I was so confused about what was going on in my mind and my body, so conflicted about what was true or false, that I relinquished all control and submitted myself to professional help.
94 days ago… I made the hardest decision of my life, to give up everything in the world that I knew to be good and right and correct. I gave up my sport, I gave up my graduate program, and I left an environment filled with people I loved. I gave up control of my freedom, my independence, and my body. I gave up everything upon which I based my worthiness in this world.
Ever since I checked myself into that hospital, I kept thinking to myself. “Who am I now? Without volleyball, what am I worth? Without a job, what am I worth? Without my graduate degree, what am I worth? Without a thin, ideal, “athletic” body, what am I worth? Without friendship and community, what am I worth?” and the disordered voice in my head answered back to me: “Without all those things…you’re worth nothing.”
Throughout this journey, I’ve realized that society often equates a person’s worthiness with what he or she can tangibly produce. In school, students are praised when they produce papers, high test scores, and projects of high quality. In the athletic community, athletes are praised when they achieve tangible goals with their bodies, and produce a first, second, or third place on the podium. In a workplace, employees are praised when they completes projects effectively, efficiently, and often. As a friend, family member, and potential partner, I was praised when I produced humor and exciting experiences.
As a member of society, I equated productivity and the achievement of tangible goals to my worthiness. However, in the process of hospitalization and months of treatment, and in the absence of my own productivity, I’ve often wondered where my worth lies.
As I mentioned in my first blog post, I truly believe that God speaks through people when we need to hear something. During treatment, and in my interactions with friends and family, I have received several powerful messages about worthiness:
Worthiness requires authenticity: “You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” -Brene Brown
All people are equally deserving of worthiness: “Our faith tells us that each human being is equally worthy. The CEO of a fortune 500 company is no more and no less worthy than the cancer patient at the end of his life.” – my Mother
Worthiness is innate: “There are no prerequisites for worthiness” -Brene Brown
Worthiness never left me: “Kamila, even when you were in that hospital bed, facing death, you were still worth something.” -my good friend, Jessica McGuire
Worthiness comes from our souls: “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
As Christmas draws ever closer, it has been difficult for me to believe that I am worthy of receiving anything, as I am unable to produce many tangible gifts for others. BUT I have also realized that my worthiness doesn’t rest on my productivity of tangible gifts. It rests on treating others and myself with authenticity, and owning my own story instead of hiding it. It comes from understanding that everyone is worthy of love, acceptance, and care, at any age and stage of life. It comes from relinquishing all judgment of anyone’s outward appearance, and looking far deeper into the goodness of his or her soul.
When I am fully healthy again, I am determined to authentically live up to my own story of conquering an eating disorder, and using it to help others going through something similar. In this way, I hope to be more productive and give more than I ever have before. I hope to convince others of their own innate and profound worthiness.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, filled with love and light. You are worthy of joy and happiness during this holiday season. May your hearts be full!