The Most Important Realization
The most important thing to know as we go through each day is also a thing which is often ripped away from us many times throughout our life. It is so crucial for understanding how and why life works the way it does--- and yet we are given the message over and over that it is not true.
That realization—the most important one to have—is that you matter.
It sounds trite and overused and because the words themselves are used when so many other events in life shows us the opposite it can be hard to believe, but sit for a minute with that thought and understand what it actually means, why it is true, and the reason it is so crucial to realize it.
Now here is the trick; we live in a society where things are structured in a hierarchical fashion with smaller amounts on top having more value and larger amounts and the bottom with less value. We are raised to think that our value similarly fits into a hierarchical structure where only the few at the top truly matter while the majority not at the top have less value. We use comparison to try to figure out where we fit in this hierarchy and we do it without thinking about it because it is so ingrained in us from the time we are little.
“Sure everyone matters” is the message given in grade school, “but the people that matter most are________”
Then you fill in the blank depending on what the values of your particular family or social group are. Maybe they are the smartest, the most popular, the richest, the best leaders, the most athletic, or members of a particular race, religion, gender, or other kind of social group. You see the people around you treat people with that trait in a different way and you learn that even though on the surface everyone is important the truth is only the people who emulate that particular characteristic really matter.
From that time on you go through your life comparing yourself to others based on that characteristic. That characteristic becomes the defining standard of importance, the key to success, and the quality needed for acceptance. If you feel like you have that characteristic and are treated as important by those around you then you start to feel like you do matter, but if you don’t and aren’t treated as though you are important then you start to believe that you really don’t matter or at least as though you don’t matter as much.
When you become an adult you will go out into the “real world” with the belief that you matter or the belief that you don’t and some scale related to how much you matter or don’t matter. That belief will have a profound impact on the way you think about yourself and others, the responsibility you are willing to take, and the choices you make. That belief will often lead you to find circumstances or situations that reinforce it.
For example, someone who goes out into the world believing that they matter will be more likely to take risks in order to reach for what they want. They will believe that they have the power and ability to build the life that they want to build and be less likely to settle for less than that or tolerate treatment that devalues them. They will take ownership over their actions because they know that they matter and they know that their actions do make a difference and influence things for better or worse. They will believe that they have the ability to influence the outcome and so they will make themselves accountable for the influence they have. Everything about them will vibrate with the energy of empowerment because they know that who they are has purpose and that since who they are has purpose what they think and do also has purpose. For this reason they will do the things they need to do to prioritize their life and their purpose and set into motion things that have meaning for them because they know that they matter.
People who don’t know that they matter will react to the world in a very different way. Since they believe they do not matter they will believe that nothing they do or say matters. They will feel powerless against the world and look for safety because without power the best that they can hope for is to not get beat up too badly by those who are powerful. They will settle for what is handed to them and not try too hard to change it because they won’t believe it is possible for them to change anything and therefore it won’t be worth it to put the work in to make a change. You can’t blame them for that, after all if you don’t matter and nothing you do matters why put effort into something? Why do anything if you know it won’t make a difference? People who do not believe they matter will be more likely to seek instant gratification because they will not feel like they can determine what will come in the next moment and they will be more likely to give up because there is no point in sticking with something that they know will be meaningless in the end.
So you see, this one belief about how much you matter can set you up for a very different experience in life and because it is a belief you are not likely to be super aware that you are holding it or that it is not actually part of the real world. Beliefs are interesting in this way because they are not part of what we think of as external reality, instead they are the lens through which we interpret that reality. If we don’t realize we are looking through that lens then everything we experience will be shaped by that lens and we will assume that it is real, but once we recognize that the lens is warping our vision, we can choose to take the lens off and exchange it for another.
The first step is to realize that it’s just a lens. This alone is difficult because it re-defines what is real.
If you happen to be wearing a lens right now that tells you that not everyone matters or that some people matter more than others I want to offer you a new lens right now. I want to offer it to you and I hope that you will try it on and really take in the view, because being able to see life through this new lens will change the way interact with it.
What if life wasn’t actually a hierarchy? What if some people didn’t matter more than anyone else?
Think about the person that you think matters the most in the world. Think about the most important person you can think of. Visualize that person and notice the feel growing in the lower cavity below your chest.
Now realize that you matter the same as that person.
We are all in existence. We are all filled with life and also with an essence that goes beyond life itself. This essence is the dance of the soul that we get to experience while we are here. It is bright and beautiful and infinite. It also runs through every single one of us.
Some people let it shine brighter than others, but it is always there and it is full of the essence of life itself.
If you can understand this deeply and not only on a mental level then you hold the key to understanding all the power and beauty and love in the universe.
You matter and so does everyone else.
You can focus on the “everyone else” part if you want, but the ego has a really hard time digesting that part and uses it to undermine the first part of the statement so for now let’s set that aside and focus on the part about you.
You. You matter. Your life matters. What you do matters. What you think matters. What you say matters. What you feel matters. How you act matters. Where you go matters.
I have seen too many people who do not understand this and here is the problem. If you don’t know that you matter then you will think that nothing you do matters. If you don’t know that what you do matters you are less likely to do things that benefit you or anyone else.
Think about it. Think about something you have said or done when you didn’t think it mattered. Then think about the implications of that if you found out that someone who loved and admired you had seen or heard you.
It matters because you matter.
We need to recognize this power within us. We need to know that we matter; that we have the power to make changes and that if we chose not to it is our choice. This is the way that we will be able to take ownership of our lives and also recognize the impact of our choices on those around us.
It’s easy to do something damaging when we don’t think it matters, it is much harder when we start to realize what that damage does. It’s easy to neglect doing something we really want to do when we don’t think it matters, it becomes much harder to neglect when we realize it is important.
I could tell many stories of times when people said or did things that seemed small—that they didn’t realize mattered, but I heard them or saw them and was impacted by them. They might not have ever known but to me it mattered. It always mattered and it still does.
There are things that you say and do that you might not think are important—but they are. Some of those things might impact many people, some might impact one person, and sometimes that one person might just be you—but it still matters because you are infinite and full of life and you matter.
When this realization sinks deep beneath your thoughts, through your brain and tucks its way into your heart you will see things change. You will realize how much you matter and it will be like a warm embrace that melts away a wall. You might cry, you might feel terrified, but you will also feel the weight of it—the truth of it. Deep down you know that it is true that you matter and that is why it hurts so bad every time something happens to make you think that you don’t. Every time you are ignored or shut down or invalidated it stings because you are being told that you don’t matter—but really you do.
When you feel it and it sinks into your heart and starts to bloom you won’t be able to live in the same way that you did before. You won’t be able to think the same kinds of thoughts or go through the motions to just survive. It won’t be enough to look for safety and spend your life hiding securely instead of living—because you matter and what you think and say and do matters. You will have to own those parts of you and then you will have to go out and live, really live.
Safety isn’t enough when you know how much you matter. Life calls you and you know that you have the ability to go to it.
You do matter. You need to know that. Hold it tight and remember it.
Thank you for reading.