As babies, we are born knowing our self-worth. Self-worth enables us to believe we are capable of making the most of our talents and deserve to lead a full filling life. As time moves on, however, the comments, expectations, and attitudes of other people and ourselves can wear down our natural sense of self-worth.
Self-worth is necessary to like ourselves in such a way that promotes self-confidence and self-esteem. If our self-worth becomes too low, we begin to feel defeated and depressed…A dangerous place to be, where self-worth can only decline.
I recently received an incredible e-mail. It read, “Amy, I met u on a flight from California to Newark, NJ in 2000. U saved my life and I want to thank you. I have wanted to for years but could not find u. If you’d like to hear the story give me a call or text me. It’s a story worth hearing. I have told it many times. You are an angel that was put in my life. Richard.”
I was speechless. I lived in Los Angeles for five years and flew back and forth a few times a year. I always flew alone. I didn’t mind small planes, but I hated the big commercial jets. Right before takeoff, I ‘d introduce myself to the person next to me and ask them to hold my hand until the beverage service.
At beverage service, a flight attendant would line up three mini bottles of vodka and stick straws in them for me. I’d suck down the first two instantly and then sip the third. My tray looked like a game of three bottle Monte’.
I decided to call Richard right away. I have to admit, I was curious. And very nervous. If what he said was true, he had been looking for me for fourteen years.
I dialed, got his voicemail and left a message. My phone rang almost as soon as I hung up. It was Richard. He was laughing and talking at the same time. He said he first wanted to make sure he had the right Amy. I asked him if I used a wheelchair and he said yes.
He remembered everything about me. I was from Upstate New York, I had been a swimmer, gone to college in Michigan, had moved to L.A. for some special physical therapy and had a little nephew and niece I adored.
He proceeded to tell me how I helped him. After we landed in Newark, he was going to kill himself. He was a functioning alcoholic and drug addict. She had a wife and three beautiful children, but his self-worth was so low he just needed to escape. In truth, his self-worth wasn’t low, it was nonexistent.
He said all throughout the flight he observed how I had to ask for help for every little thing. I could never afford to have an aide fly with me, so I had to rely on the flight attendants and my fellow passengers for help during our six hours in the air.
Richard said what struck him about me asking for help was how I asked… His words were “with grace and dignity.” I had no shame. I quietly asked for what I needed and I knew I deserved it, just like anybody else.
He said what really soaked into him was regardless of how much help I needed, my self-worth was palpable. He said other passengers could feel it, as well. I simply expected to be treated the same as any passenger; no better no worse. My self-worth was not intact; it was thriving.
He said when the plane landed, he went home and told his wife he was an alcoholic and drug addict. He told her he wanted to kill himself and needed help.
He said meeting me gave him the courage to believe in his self-worth and he deserved help. The following day he checked into a ninety day inpatient rehab center. He has been sober since and his self-worth is making leaps and bounds.
I wish I could remember him. I cannot believe I was sitting next to an individual whose self-worth was so low, he planned to end his life. The way the Universe puts people in our path at the right moment is mind blowing.
I was honest with Richard about my own self-worth. He met me six years post-injury. When I was first injured, my self-worth dropped very low. It was only through the love and support of others my self-worth blossomed again.
If you need help in your life, reach out…Someone will reach back. Being our highest self and letting our self-worth shine at all times is vital. The person you hold the door open for, the person you smile at in the grocery store, the stranger you give a compliment to… You may have a life-changing effect on someone and have no idea. It’s corny, but we should always be the best we can be. You may just save a life.