In Norse mythology, Mjölnir is the hammer of Thor, the God of Thunder. Of course, we all know it thanks to the Marvel universe. Mjölnir is one of the most powerful weapons in the world, able to level mountains and control lightning. The thing about Mjölnir is that not just anyone can handle it. As Thor always says, to the chagrin of his peers, is that only those worthy can wield his hammer.
We humans do a lot of crazy things. Irrational things that often make no sense. There are entire books on the subject, from poor decision making to going against our better judgment. We are flawed, to say the least.
One of these crazy things we do is measure ourselves against unrealistic expectations. We track how we are doing based on an expectation that we have embraced in our minds. Essentially, we are trying to gauge our worthiness around very specific parameters.
For example, we believe we should drive this kind of car. We should have this kind of job. We should associate with these kinds of people. Every person has their own set of checkboxes that they believe they need to tick to be worthy. To believe they have accomplished what is expected of them. Where does this come from? Moreover, is it even a good thing to do?
Where Worthiness Comes From
Worthiness is the quality of being good enough. But how do we judge that we are good enough? Unfortunately, the tendency is by comparison. We compare to our siblings, our friends, and our enemies.
I have to write a book. I have to run my own business. I have to get my PhD. I have to be attractive. I have to lose weight. These are all reasonable goals for an individual can strive for, but not when they are used as a measuring stick for worthiness. Not when they are based on comparisons to other people.
Worthiness has become a self-imposed rating system we all use, based on a wide variety of factors. Through media and advertising, entire industries are built on this feeling of not being worthy.
Yet it’s hard to shake. We all have our thresholds for achieving worth and they come from all sorts of places. More often than not, they are a reflection of our surroundings. Our family and friends. Our culture and communities. We see that our father believes that money is power, so we too focus too much on financial success. Or we see that our friend believes that creating knowledge is the pinnacle of achievement, so we also adopt this idea as what we want from life. The things that we find others value, become the things we come to value too.
Ultimately, we notice these patterns and underlying realities within everything we observe and we extract our own meaning from it. We dissect what we see into a set of goals that can be used to define our worth. These are the things we must do to be worthy ourselves.
When we don’t achieve these goals, we feel guilty and helpless. We feel bad for ourselves and get caught in a cycle, where we don’t even try to pursue our ambitions. After all, we’re not worthy.
The biggest problem with all of this, is that we rarely look inwards to understand our worth. We look to others, to the outside world, to the expectations that are there, to find our meaning.
We don’t really know why we want the things we want. Just that it’s imperative we have them.
Far too often we stay on the surface of these goals, understanding what they are, but not anything further. We don’t question if they are indeed good things to have or if we even truly want them. We simply know that we’ve seen society respond favorably to them, so we want to follow suit.
We get caught up in the rat race, stuck on the hedonic treadmill, but the problem is that our worth doesn’t come from these things. This whole idea is built on a lie. Worthiness is not something you have to earn. It’s already yours.
Worthiness doesn’t have pre-requisites.Brene Brown
What we need to do is redefine our worthiness. While being worthy is the quality of being good enough, it is not in comparison to everyone else. It’s not a competition, but rather an acceptance of yourself and who you are. It is acknowledging that you are capable to achieve what you desire.
When you look at your expectations for deeming yourself worthy, you need to realize that you already are worthy. These goals are just that. Goals. They don’t change who you are or what you can do. It is making this realization that unlocks the rest of it.
On the other hand, if our self-worth is so intricately tied with these expectations, then we’re already at a loss. It’s this type of relationship with ourselves that scares away happiness and causes difficulties.
The most important thing to understand is that your worth doesn’t have pre-requisites. It’s already yours.