Preamble: This piece sets aside the trauma of abuse committed by narcissistic parents, and partners. Manipulation and harm wholly intended to in fact erode the abused individual’s worth so that they are more easily controlled in the service and interest of the abuser.
I took this photo in front of the house my friend is building and sent it to him with the note – “I make your house look good,” because I’m the main character in every story I tell myself about myself. Welcome bedfellow of an only child.
Are you the main character in your life’s story?
I certainly hope that your answer is Yes.
If not, then I hope you eventually get to this answer.
There are two layers here – value to God, which is not my place to understand or explain. And worldly value which can and should change with the choices we make, and how we engage and treat others, most especially those from whom we can gain nothing, and those over whom we might exercise any kind of power (from emotional to spiritual, and everything between and outside).
If you willfully harm, cheat, lie and manipulate others, your stock should and will inevitably go down because it is a reflection of how you treat others (not of how others respond to you). If, however, you are someone who treats others with kindness, grace, and humility, and if you are someone who takes care with your tongue to not harm others, then you will most certainly be, as you should, valued above the asshole in the previous sentence. (Forgive me for using market language here.)
Setting all above tips of the iceberg aside, and turning back to the original intention of this piece – when we are dismissed or devalued by another, either a platonic, or otherwise beloved, we might feel like shit for a limited period of time. We might even re-evaluate who we are and what we bring to the table, and worst of all, in moments of sadness and vulnerability, we might let the whispers in our brain convince us that we are somehow less. That the way another treats us, is a reflection of who we are – unworthy of receiving more.
BUT WE ARE ALWAYS WORTHY OF MORE. I am all caps but with ALL LOVE AND GENTLENESS.
Because even unkind prickish behaviour serves a purpose – it might, for example, force us to realign our boundaries, and teach us to identify bad behaviour which we then no longer entertain.
On a macro level, I understand that this is an oftentimes very difficult place to find rest, as we exist in a society constantly eroding our value, so that we might then buy things which supposedly reinstate it. A never-ending cycle of consumerism, this is a world where many individuals would rather diminish from others, than look internal and elevate themselves.
Now. Being the main character in your life’s story is not to be misunderstood as a carte blanche to be a POS to others, because only you matter. Rather, it is an encouragement to pivot in the face of the behaviours of others, while equally never behaving so badly that you then force another person to struggle with the above.
Being the main character in your own story ought to serve as a reminder for you to use the lens and language of care. You are loved. You are valued. You are worthy. Full stop, spaces occupied which then allow you to engage others from the same spaces of love, value, and worthiness. This is the goal, the last period in your life’s story, inshAllah.
When another character in another story occupies spaces of harm, cruelty, and selfishness, so treats others in kind, it is only a reflection on them, and absolutely not one other person. Because again, say it with me: The respect we show others is a reflection of the respect we carry for ourselves.
Everyone is welcome to behave as a shithead main character, and then reap the repercussions. My concern is with you, and your heart – it is that when your story comes up against that of an asshole main character’s, you always stand firm in your value. Go ahead into mourning and feel like shit because they treated you poorly, but don’t you for a second let that bleed into the essential weight of your character worth, my love. Because your core value remains, independent.
And though the actions of other people may have to do with us in a very small way – a painful repercussion, an expression of love, or a confirmation of neutrality – these actions have no consequence on our individual character worth, which is derived from and rooted in that we are one of a Whole.
Always, you are worthy.