Posted by: gljcm2 | January 9, 2001

On Being Valued

January 9, 2001 ON BEING VALUED

Today, I had an epiphany — a true moment of personal insight. After days of feeling frustrated and blue I came to realize the underlying cause. I was looking to feel valued!

At one point, I thought I only wanted someone to listen. Another time, I felt I needed someone to tell me they loved me. On Sunday, it was wanting obedience from one of my children without any backtalk. None of these were forthcoming when I needed them. And the feelings of alienation started to grow within me.

A mother, often by nature, is a nurturer. She gives and gives almost till she can’t give any more. She doesn’t often ask for anything in return, but that does not mean that the need is not there.

Inspite of the walls I seemed up against, the overwhelming feeling was made more intense by my inner lament… “I love each of them so much”, which also encompassed “how can they treat me like this?” It was so terribly hard to understand and accept.

And so it was, that as I drove to town, my mind wandered over the events of the past few days and the lightbulb suddenly lit up. I want to feel VALUED. Not just listened to; not just obeyed; and not necessarily loved. What I desired most of all was to feel that they acknowledged my worth. I longed for someone close to me to recognize that I was giving from my heart, being there for them when they needed it, fulfilling the mundane and the important needs of a family. Most of all I wanted to hear someone tell me something positive about me!

What comes so naturally to me, does not come as easily to my children and husband. By their very natures they are different creatures. At 15, my daughter’s self involved world does not often extend to perceiving that her mother too has feelings. And yet I admire her so much for her accomplishments in academics and sports. I marvel at her beauty and the way she looks after herself. It is not hard to see wonderful things in this young woman/child. But she is not yet ready to see wonderful things in her own mother. In fact, she has become my largest critic and judge.

My 13 year old son has always been my huggy bear. The one who offers the love and kisses, the snuggles and the words that warm a mom’s heart. But as he moves onward into adolescence I see the “enemy” silently moving in… and the occasional glare now covers his face when I do not meet his expectations. Once again I must face a child growing into the years when mom and dad are no longer the recognized strength in their worlds.

And there is my husband. He’s a quiet man of much internal strength. Emotion does not rule his world as it sometimes does mine. He sees a job to be done and he does it. He is reliable as the day is long. And yet knowing all this, I feel devalued as well, when he chooses on the rare occasion to stay in town after work for some socializing. The socializing I have no problem with. My feeilngs enter when he does not call to let me know he will not be here. I plan my evening on his arrival and his failure to arrive or to call, causes me to feel that I do not matter; that I have no value.

And so, having had this moment of enlightenment that what I longed for was to be valued, the picture suddenly seemed so much clearer. I knew what I was really looking for. But that was not all. I realized that I must first value myself. I cannot force these others to acknowledge my worth, but I can recognize that I do my best and therefore value who I am and what I am doing. And I also recognized I need to look after myself because I am valuable.

Instead of feeling depressed and isolating myself, I will seek out activities which will provide a sense of accomplishment internally. I can make choices where results will be evident to my own eye. And I will value myself enough to treat myself well.. eating healthy, exercising, leading an active life which leaves me feeling successful and happy. For these are all within my control.

Yes, being valued is more than a possibility. It is within my grasp and I only need to reach out and do it. Perhaps once I have done that, I will talk to my family about valuing others and letting them know. Perhaps these are lessons to be learned by each of us.

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