The trouble with trying to measure intangible ideas is that there isn’t really any ruler or scale or container that can hold the value of that idea.
If you were trying to find out how long a piece of plywood was, you could certainly use a ruler or a yardstick or a tape measure to find that out.
Or if you wanted to know get the exact amount of hamburger you needed to make your Grandmother’s famous hamburger stew, well then that would be very helpful to have a scale to weigh the ground meat on.
And if you were mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, it is really important to put just right amount of brown sugar into the mixing bowl, so that the cookies are sweet enough without being too sweet. So measuring the sugar with a cup is a pretty important thing to do.
Measuring ingredients or boards or weighing ourselves when we are on a diet is a good way to understand the process of change. When we measure a board to be cut, we know with a fair amount of certainty that the board is going to be ready to do what we want it to do.
We know that it will be able to support the house or fit in the space on the floor so that we can put down the carpet. When we are making a stew we want there to be enough meat in it, but not too much, so it’s also important then to have an accurate scale at home or in the store so we can prepare food the way we want.
And for cookies, not only is it important to have the right amount of ingredients so that the cookies taste good, but there is also a chemical change that takes place when they bake. And without the right amount and proportion of ingredients, the cookies are not going to turn out the way we want
Pretty Simple To Measure
All those situations of measuring things in the world are pretty simple to understand. They might take a bit of practice so we can learn to do them easily, but after a couple of times of doing the same task, we are going to be pretty good at it.
Kind of the same thing goes with strong emotions.
We have a pretty good idea most of the time that when someone close to us passes on, that cold empty feeling is grief. We might give it a couple of names, but pretty much, it’s cold and empty and feels like our insides have been torn out by a bear. On a scale of emotions, that one is pretty easy to measure because it is so strong.
And with joyful emotions, it is also easy to feel if they are strong or not. When your babies are born and you are holding them in your arms for the first time, that is a fabulous feeling of joy and wonderment. The world is light, your tummy feels warm and kind of squishy and a peaceful kind of reverence comes over your entire demeanor. Your soul knows this is a truly blessed event and your body gives you a perfectly delightful feeling to have.
You don’t even need to measure this, you know with absolute certainty that the world is right. But if you did measure this felling of joy, it would be up there as an 11 on a scale of 10.
Some Things Are Easy To Measure
It is easy to measure stuff in the physical world, and it is easy to measure strong emotions.
Some Things Are Not So Easy To Measure
But how about other ideas, like those of friendship or truth or in the case we are talking about today, value or worth. What do we do to measure those ideas? Truthfully, they are quite important ideas, arguably more important than our cookies not coming out right and certainly more common than babies being born in our lives.
You would think that because these kinds of situations, in which truth or friendship or worth come up so often in our lives, that we would be well experienced in understanding how to measure them an their impact on our lives.
Lots of Experience
And we do have experience, a lot of it. Trouble is, it is usually the experience and judgment of somebody else, rather than our own.
We are taught at a very early age that people who are our elders in life, like our parents or teachers or other authority figures, are smarter than we are and have more experience than we do. And so we should defer to their ideas about all kinds of things in our lives.
Ideas like staying on the sidewalk instead of crossing the street through traffic are really excellent things to learn, you pretty much get only one chance at that, and you had better be right the first time.
But those things are different than learning how to value ourselves to ourselves and to the world.
But we are taught them in the same way as learning how to make cookies, how to stay on the sidewalk instead of darting into the traffic on the street, or how to measure a board for cutting so that it fits the right way.
And Some Things We Don't Learn About
- We do not learn how to listen to our internal signals which tell us when we have done something well
- We don’t learn how to give ourselves a reward for accomplishing a difficult task in our lives
- We do not learn how to be kind to ourselves when we are having a bad day.
In short, we do not learn from anyone else how to be worthy of our own good thoughts.
In order to feel value, in order to feel worthy, we have to depend on our own internal sense of measuring.
Do I feel good when I think about doing this, or do I feel bad?
Am I really worth spending the afternoon alone with my thoughts instead of needing to be up and doing the ironing or sweeping the floors or finishing the schoolwork?
Well, the short answer is Yes.
And the long answer is, it takes a bit of practice to feel that way authentically.
So today, after you’re done reading this, just take a moment to say to yourself,
“Self, I am so worth it. I am worthy of good feelings, I am worthy of treating myself well and I am well worth taking a couple of times to practice to get this idea into my own heart as a habit.”
Fair warning, though, once you start to believe you are worth it, you are never going to want to go back to thinking any other way.
Well, I guess there could be worse things in the world.