This week, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of awesome teens on self-worth. What I realized while sharing is that my broken pieces–the things that hurt me so badly as a teenager–have shaped me into who I am today. I am grateful for my life today, but when I look back into those years I don’t know that I would do it again or do it the same. I had a terrible time fitting in as a child and a teen. I was loud, not very self aware, hyper, and loved socializing with people, but it was not something often reciprocated by my peers. Through those years, my self-worth was built and shaped, and if I had to describe it, it probably looked like a pile of broken pieces taped and glued together. It is hard enough to be a kid, but to be a kid that doesn’t fit in can be devastating.
I look at those pieces now and as I share my story they begin to heal. I see kids with brokenness finding hope that they can one day overcome their stigmas and become something of worth. What they don’t see is that they are of worth now. We all are. We all have broken pieces, some are jagged, some are smooth breaks but not one of us are perfect or have ever been. It is hard for kids to understand the power of their words and actions because they don’t have the capability to understand the devastation it can do. The truth is, even as adults we underestimate the power of our words and our responses.
As I sat and spoke with these amazing teens, I watched as their hearts responded, both verbally and non-verbally. Some shared the devastation they experienced as children, some shared the teasing and ridicule they are experiencing now in high school. My heart broke as they spoke because all I could hear was “I am nothing”, “I’ll never be good enough”, or “What’s the point?”.
“I’ll never be good enough”
I think we underestimate the power of our words, actions, and reactions. Every day, we have the opportunity to mend the broken pieces of others’ self-worth. If we all carried around a mirror of our reflection, each would have cracks, pieces missing, or even be shattered. But what we don’t realize is as much as we have the power to break others’ image, we have the power to mend it as well. We all have broken images of ourselves that have been shaped over time, but it within that brokenness that we shape others. The power of our words can last a life time. I can remember many instances when I was a kid when other kids used their words to shape my heart. Those are words I will never forget. I remember kids reactions to me as a hyper, over-charismatic kid. Those reactions shaped my self-worth. I remember others’ actions toward me when I didn’t fit in with their group. Their dismissal of me also shaped my self-worth.
BUT, I also remember my mom’s reaction to me, my grandmother’s reaction to me, my favorite Sunday school teacher, Lois Wright, and her immense love for my energy. I remember the people who told me I was good enough and the people who said I had value. And today, I have the chance to speak the same self-worth into the lives of those around me, and so do you.
I challenge you today to see the worth in those around you. To see past the quirks and differences, and know that they are people just like you: with feelings, emotions, and self worth. You have the chance to speak value directly into the hearts of the people you come into contact with. I challenge you today to find someone who may need to see the worth you see in them and share with them the beauty of flowers.