What is your worth? An economist would say your worth will depend on your demand. The more you are in need, the more worthy you become. A socialist would rank your worth based on your level of influence. The more people you know , opinions you can shape and change you can bring about determines your worth. A biologist would base your worth on your fitness, physique, propensity to ailments, much like an evolutionary thinker who would deem you highly worthy for you ability to survive in an uncertain environment.
A humanist would value the good that you do and balance your worth with on your altruism. An intellectual would value your knowledge and expertise. A romantic would call you worthy for the lessons you evoke and the emotions you arouse. A stoic would observe your grit and resilience to judge your worth. A philosopher your obscurity, a psychologist your complexity, a magician your vulnerability, a politician your naivete, a neighbor on your degree of reciprocity and your parents on the frequency of your misbehavior.
So, when worth is so fragmented and transient, is it worth the energy we spend on cultivating it? Although commonly measured through time and attention, worth has always been relative.
A Chagall painting would be deemed worthy in varying degrees by people who visit a gallery; an Art student, professor, critique, couple on a date, a husband, a child and an amateur. They would hold different degrees of delight and boredom in their eyes while viewing the expression of a man who created something he deemed worthy of display. May be not the child who finds the colors depressing, or the husband who’d rather his wife look at him in awe or the professor who has grown cynical with the constant rejection his paintings receive.
So, how does one know their worth? Self worth? You never do. Like the old and wise have said, you determine your own worth. But worth, or value, as a concept will change based on the social, economical or any other operating context. In all that, the fluctuations of your worthiness will cause emotional and mental upheaval.
But the truth is, you are not worth it. Even when you are found valuable or worthy, it is for that period by that person for a particular reason. Then the axis moves all those reasons will disappear. So, worth doesn’t exist. It is a figment of our mental representation. It is our Chagall painting hanging in our mental gallery, waiting for the critique to appreciate and the child to dismiss.
So, knowing that you are worth nothing , while seemingly harsh, is comforting. Because, then it doesn’t matter whether your representation is good or bad. It doesn’t matter whether your skills, looks, rationale, intellect, body meets expectations or not. All that matters is that your Chagall painting will be true and honest.
That makes you worth it.