Being open to sharing our stories connects us to so many others and creates a bond we didn’t know existed before. Today I’m grateful to be sharing this post by author DelSheree Gladden as she opens up about her story.
I think there is a moment many of us have in life where we wonder what we are worth. It could be wondering what we are worth to the company we work for, to our friends, to our families, to our self. Everyone worries about how others see them. It’s hard not to. We are creatures who need social interaction, validation, and acknowledgement.
Worth can be determined in many ways. To an employer, it is spoken of in the terms of money. Is an employee efficient, or are they costing the company money? It’s a little harder to define worth when it comes to family and friends. Many factors come into play like reliability, support, friendship, and so much more. One of the most difficult to define it self-worth. How do you judge your own worth without letting others opinions and judgments affect your reasoning?
This is a topic that is very important to me, because I know exactly how much your own view of yourself can impact your life. When you grow up in a home with a parent who consciously tries to break you down, it doesn’t take long for you to internalize their words and actions. As I child, trying to uncover who you are is difficult enough without someone else there constantly telling you the opposite of what you want to believe.
When I was away from my mom’s influence, it was confusing, because I felt like I had things I was good at, like I was a nice person overall, like I tried to be good and kind. Of course, I made mistakes and fought with my siblings and got into trouble here and there, but overall, I felt like I should be someone she cared about. It didn’t make sense to me that she honestly didn’t seem to like me. No matter what I did, I never felt accepted by her. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong and I had no idea how to make it better.
As I got older, I started to understand that my mom suffered from severe bouts of depression. Her own mother had done many of the same things to her that she was doing to my siblings and me. Her own self-image was severely warped, and she projected her anger and frustration at the way she had been treated onto us. For reasons I don’t fully understand, I bore the brunt of her contempt.
It affected me deeply to constantly feel like I wasn’t worth her time. It really wasn’t until high school that I made a few new friends who seemed to know that I needed their help. They began helping me see myself more clearly. It isn’t an easy process, shedding an identity you’ve come to believe and stopped questioning. Even as an adult, I fear being rejected by the people in my life. I constantly worry about making mistakes and making them see me as someone not worth their time.
I’ve come a long way, with the support of family and friends and writing, to see myself more clearly, but it has taken me years and years to rebuild my self-confidence, and I know I still have years of work left to do. The worth a person sees in themselves is so important, more important than how anyone else in this world sees them. The advice to “think before you speak” has more merit than some might realize. The way you treat another human being affects them, for good or bad. You can either be responsible for building someone up, or tearing them down. Either one only takes a few minutes, a few words, but rebuilding what has been broken can take a lifetime.
About the Author:
DelSheree Gladden was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read. Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.
Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by. When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.