Within Arms Reach

Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it's a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.

The people who love me and will be there regardless of the outcome are within arms reach.

This realization changed everything. That's the wife and mother and friend that I now strive to be. I want our home to be a place where we can be our bravest selves are most fearful selves. Where we practice difficult conversations and share our shaming moments from school and work. I want to look at Steve and my kids and say, “I'm with you I'm in the arena. And when we fail, we’ll fail together, while daring greatly.”

We simply can't learn to be more vulnerable and courageous on our own. Sometimes our first and greatest dare is asking for support.

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly


No sooner do we believe that God loves us than there an impulse to believe that he does so, not because he is love, but because we are intrinsically lovable.. But then, how magnificently we have repented.. (so) we next offer our own humility to God’s admiration. Surely, he’ll like that? If not that, our clear-sighted and humble recognition that we still lack humility. Thus, depth beneath depth and subtlety within subtlety, there remains some lingering idea of our own, our very own, attractiveness.

It is easy to acknowledge but almost impossible to realize for long, that we are mirrors whose brightness if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us. Surely we must have a little – however little – native luminosity?

We want to be loved for our cleverness, beauty, generosity, fairness usefulness. The first hint that anyone is offering us the highest love of all is a terrible shock.

CS Lewis, The Four Loves

do I have value?

To say a person has worth or value formulates only half a sentence. It begs two questions and raises a third: Worth what? To whom? Who says? These questions reveal a search for a source, a valuer, an authority behind the action of attaching worth. This quest implies our awareness of a person larger than us, who initiates relationships with us. Our parents stood as the original superhumans in whose eyes we wanted much worth. Now as adults, when we feel worthless, we ache with the dangling half-question. Do I have any value?  We used to seek evidence from Mom and Dad of our importance to them. Though we no longer look to them as our source, we have not yet identified a new one. We spin our wheels with the unanswered questions of our half-sentences. We wistfully yearn for some authority to come along and fill those gaps that our parents left.

Dennis Gibson, The Strong-Willed Adult


We don’t have an internal value meter that tells us how much things are worth. Rather, we focus on the relative advantage of one thing over another, and estimate value accordingly.

High-priced entrees on a menu boosts revenue for a restaurant – even if no one buys them. Why? Because even though people generally won’t buy the most expensive dish on the menu, they will order the second most expensive dish. Thus, by creating an expensive dish, a restaurateur can lure customers into ordering the second most expensive choice (which can be cleverly engineered to deliver to higher profit margin).

Suppose you’re shopping for a house in a new town. Your real estate agent guides you to three houses, all of which interest you. One of them is a contemporary, and two are colonials. All three cost about the same; they are all equally desirable; and the only difference is that on of the colonials the “decoy”) needs a new roof and the owner has knocked a few thousand dollars off the price to cover the additional expense.

So which one do you choice?

The chances are good that you will not choose the contemporary and you will not choose the colonial that needs the new roof, but you will choose the other colonial. Why? Here the rationale (which is actually quite irrational). We like to make decisions based on comparison. In the case of the three houses, we don’t know that much about the contemporary (we don’t have another house to compare it with). So that house goes on the sidelines. But we know that one of the colonials is better than the other one. That is, the colonial with the good roof is better than the one with the bad roof. Therefore, we will reason that it better overall and go for the colonial with the good roof, spurning the contemporary and the colonial that needs a new roof.

Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational