(Dedicated to all those who question their self-worth.)
You see them all the time … vultures circling over a carcass on the road, or they may be disguised as a meek animal, such as sheep, when in reality they are nothing more than a wolf.
But, beware, we’ve all seen the type — the “Snake Oil Salesman,” and every day they sell quack medicines to anyone that will buy.
I use these examples figuratively speaking, of course.
In my photo I use the Turkey Vulture, but the vulture is not circling, he is merely sunbathing. Yes, sunbathing and not getting ready to pick his dinner up off the road, not showing off or showing its dominance … merely sunbathing.
Of course, wolves can’t dress up like sheep, but wolves are sly and cunning … especially before they attack the prey of the day.
And finally, The Snake Oil Salesman. Snake oil medicines were introduced by the Chinese who came over to the United States during the mid- to late-1800s. Although no one knows how many Chinese immigrated to the U.S. during that time, it is estimated more than 180,000 came over as indentured laborers to work on the Transcontinental Railroad.
Among the items brought by the workers was various medicines, which included snake oil. Snake oil, in this case, was derived from the oil of the Chinese water snake, and because of its high concentration of the omega-3 acids, aided in reducing inflammation, treating arthritis and bursitis.
Snake oil didn’t get a bad rap until the Chinese began sharing their remedy with their American counterparts and before long the pages of newspapers were advertising fake tonics claiming miraculous cures of almost everything … and by the 19th Century the fake tonics and those that peddled them began being labeled snake oil and snake oil salesmen.
So much for the history lesson … but, what do all these have in common?
In life, there will always be someone circling, sneaking and scheming or trying to sell you a fake tonic, or persona when you are at your weakest or when your guard is down.
I realize this sounds negative, and I am not one to sound false alarms or cause someone to put up additional walls … we all already have enough walls in our lives … but, rather to say, be careful when you find yourself questioning or downing yourself when you are in a less than happy state of mind.
The advent of social media has made it all too easy for people to prey on others … and many don’t care to post their entire being, including woes on social media sites.
It complicates matters when someone who has fallen prey to the vultures, wolves and snake oil salesmen or saleswomen so many times in their own history, they jump at the chance to be with someone because of a kind word or two.
Personal history and tendencies are important when attempting to define what really makes you tick.
Those who’ve suffered through emotional and mental abuse are extremely susceptible to those that would take advantage.
Millions around the globe hold a less than kind opinion of themselves due to their experiences in life. Millions reach out to anyone who will lend a kind ear, empathize with them and just love them … and some will find that one person, while others find just another vulture, wolf or someone selling a fake tonic … only to set themselves up to feeling unworthy, again.
Many find themselves buying into the bill of goods sold to them by the vultures, wolves and snake oil salesmen or saleswomen of the world without realizing the damage those types do, and how it can make their victims feel about themselves long-term.
Ask yourself this one question. “If I took out all the bad relationships where I was degraded and told I wasn’t good enough; if I took out all the vultures, wolves and the false pretenses used to lure me into a relationship by the salesmen or saleswomen and if I took out all the circumstances where I made decisions based on listening to or being around those groups of people, what about me would be unworthy?”
I would venture to say most of you would be hard pressed to come up with real, not perceived, personal traits that made you “unworthy.”
What I have found is beneath all the circumstances of life, most — other than the vultures, wolves and snake oil salesmen and women — have a good heart, good intentions and are generally good people … or are just waiting for the opportunity to show the good inside them.
It only takes one look in the mirror to see a person worth investing the time and effort in loving … you.
I’ve always said, if you can’t love yourself, no one else will either. So, it is important to love yourself.
Life’s circumstances will always influence both who we are and who we think we are … we should always aspire to be both at the same time, meaning, being real with ourselves and not who others think we are.
I’ve often heard others say, “I wish you could walk a mile in my shoes,” heck, I’ve even said it … then I realized, I am the one that makes walking in my own shoes a challenge because I am the one making the decisions. I am only in the shoes I walk in because of decisions I have made, and not from decisions others have made for me.
Everyone has circumstances they have no control over … money, jobs, medical issues and a lot more … but, each of us has control over the relationships we maintain that are or could be detrimental.
Taking control of those detrimental relationships, be it people, drugs, or alcohol is probably a good first step into feeling better about who you are.
Certainly, seeing someone who specializes in helping with self-worth issues is probably a must, because it won’t be easy turning around the way you think about yourself.
Life isn’t always going to be grand; life will always be a challenge, but you owe it to yourself first and foremost to give the person in the mirror … you … a fighting chance.
From the lips of my 5-year-old who understands the value and wisdom of his dad, even when he doesn’t get his way, “Guess I better get to making some lemonade, cause I just got lemons,” I offer you the same advice.
Life will not always be what you want it to, but if you divest yourself from all the vultures, wolves and salesmen and saleswomen in your life, the lemonade might just taste a little better. If someone blocks your path in life with a tree, make firewood and stay the course.
It’s cloudy out today, but behind the clouds I’m positive the sun is shining. It’s a place where I know you will find your way to shine.