A blog post on the topic of self-worth, written by Imogen, for the movement and community of 'Acting on a Dream':
My initial thoughts when Sara asked me to write something were:
Who am I to write anything of worth on how to pursue your dreams, or things I have learnt along the way. What way? I am still on the way to wherever the ‘way’ is. Who am I to inspire others? I won’t write anything of merit, that hasn’t already been said before by someone more successful or more renowned.
So, why bother?
My fingers hover Above the keyboard.
Self-doubt, fear, the inferiority complex, come creeping in. Sound familiar? Those thoughts you get before an audition, or a performance, or a speech, or a presentation, or an interview – or any occasion where you feel like you are ‘hustling for your worth’?
Then I saw the subject of self-worth listed as a potential topic for writing. There it was again. That word;
Now that is something I might be able to write about.
Before I begin, let me forewarn you that I’m right in my assumption that I won’t write anything you haven’t already seen on an inspiring Instagram quote, or said by someone ‘famous’. I’m essentially nobody of merit in the artistic community. Most of you who read this article won’t know who I am. If you do the likelihood is that you are a friend, a peer or colleague and thus I’m at a very similar stage in my life as you are in yours.
I am merely trying to get life right.
But then, perhaps that is the very reason why I am the right sort of person to write this article? Because I am in the process of trying.
I give you:
Age: 26. 27 in August – THAT’S NEARLY 30!
(Panic, fear, panic.)
Job Title: Actor & Director.
(Not being paid as either currently.)
Housing: Shared house.
(‘Rent’ is a thought that comes into my head at least twice a day.)
Marital Status: Single.
(Not like - “Yehhh I’m sort of texting this guy...” No. I’m single.)
Driver’s license: Yes.
(Got no car though, so…)
There you have it. I essentially have no assets. Nothing of economic or social worth.
I have zero capital.
Now, here comes the controversial bit, the words I am most afraid to write:
I am exactly where I need to be. I am successful. I am worthy.
Fingers hover above the delete button.
I think to myself.
Write more eloquently, with more finesse, wit and charm. Reveal less. Speak more of others. Inspire in blanket form – the way really good writers do. Like Kate Tempest. Be more like Kate. More, more, more.
And this is the moment that I hope will resonate with anyone who stumbles across my ramblings; We always have a moment where we think we should do more, say more, be more. We have those moments almost EVERY DAY, on small and large scales.
Well, I want to know what happens if we just decide we are enough.
We don’t press the delete button and we keep on writing.
We don’t wait for the moment that we are in the dream job, dream home, the dream relationship, to start feeling like we’re valuable and valid.
We may never get ‘the dream’. So, what if we just start owning our own worth in every passing moment despite that?
As you can see from my italicised thoughts, I am not immune to the voices that make me feel inferior or scared. I have them, all the time! It took a lot for me to write that sentence above and to own it. I’m not suggesting we abolish the inner thoughts we have. We can’t. I’m suggesting we don’t let them rule us. In fact, we defy them. We choose to be enough, despite often thinking we are not.
I told you I wouldn’t say anything original. This has all been said before.
So then, ask yourself
– are you doing it? Are you being enough?
Or, are you moaning that this is what everybody says but you have no idea how to do it? Or, you don’t feel ready to yet?
Well, we’re never really ready. I’m neither famous nor renowned. I’m a person, with no assets remember, fretting over how to write this article. The people who we aspire to be – our idols - they were once exactly the same as we are. Well. Not exactly, but you catch my drift?
During my second and third year of drama school I suffered from severe anxiety and a period of depression. Trust me, nobody hates seeing that sentence written down more than me.
Surprise, surprise another emotionally ‘unstable’ actor! Way to live up to the stereotype Imogen! Round of applause for being another cliché!
I used to say to myself. As a result, I made myself worse and suffered the consequences of that mentality for a few years following. To put it simply; I didn’t like who I was - For a while - I know, insane, right?
You can’t write that Imogen. That’s too exposing.
Of course, at the time, I wasn’t fully aware of what was going on. As far as I was concerned I had ‘recovered’. I was a sociable, seemingly confident, pro-active person. I wrote and performed a solo show to sell-out audiences. I directed drama projects in Russia and Tunisia. I set up my own theatre company. I collaborated with other theatre companies. I toured Europe for 6 months on my first paid acting job. But, we’re not here to talk about what I achieved because despite my achievements, I wasn’t satisfied, happy, or grateful.
I was doing things that were worthy, but without acknowledging my own worth.
I am a middle-class, white woman. I recognise that my class and social standing allows me privileges that I take for granted. But, I believe these feeling I’m talking about affect everyone, every day, whatever your race, gender, sexuality or class. Maybe not all the time or on the same scale for each individual, but it happens to all of us some of the time. We don’t think we are enough because of the ideologies that exist in our Western Culture.
Let’s be clear. I was in pain. I was anxious, stressed, and hurting. I was suffering. I had a right to feel, or to not feel, as it seemed some of the time. But, I didn’t have the right to be doing nothing for myself about it. I didn’t have the right not to be compassionate, to be kind and forgiving of my own shortcomings. I didn’t have the right to think I wasn’t enough just as I was.
Now feeling VERY conscious about how much the word ‘I’ appears in this article.
Here’s the thing about self-worth; You are the only person who will know if you have any, and you are the only person who can really change it if you don’t.
Do you think you have worth? Thinking you don’t is futile. And by saying it’s futile, doesn’t mean I’m negating the feelings that say you don’t. They exist. I have serious empathy for anyone experiencing them.
I want to wrap you in cotton wool and splash you with sparkle.
I want you to want the same for yourself.
I want everyone to do a little more to help themselves, because there seems to be a societal taboo stopping us from doing so, like we’re not allowed to want to like ourselves.
But before you quote;
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
at me, I will say yes. You’re right. There is more to life than contemplation of your worth, particularly if you have the luxury of reading this on your laptop or smart phone, with a roof above your head. However, it is a very important place to start.
Do you own your worth?
I have no assets to speak of. Zero capital. But have so much to be grateful for, and everything to give.
If you don’t know where to start, start by saying this:
I am exactly where I need to be. I am successful. I am worthy.
Say it now. Even if you don’t think it, just say it. And if you say it and feel nothing, then tomorrow go and do something to make yourself believe it. Seriously, you need to start giving a shit about yourself. You need to start thinking your individual imprint is important.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but nobody thinks of changing themselves.” –
(The original quote ends in ‘himself’, but you know…women exist. Cheers Tolstoy.)
See. I could have saved you reading 1,562 words because he said it in 12.
I wrote it all anyway because what I have to say has worth.