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The other day I heard a song from a very talented Baha’i musician named Andy Grammer. The lyrics immediately struck a spiritual chord inside my soul:
It doesn't mean you're weak
Or that you got low self-esteem
We all got hearts that forget why they beat
We are brilliant, we are unique
But we forget so effortlessly
And when you're questioning your worth in the way that we all do
And your version of amnesia starts to seep on through
And you know that you are great but you can't remember why
I will be there by your side
I will remind you, I will remind you
I will be, I'll be your memory
I will remind you, I will remind you
All you need is someone else to see
I will remind you. – Remind You, by Andy Grammer
I’ve always heard that if you want to be a good writer, then write about what you know. I believe that’s true, but ironically, more often than not, I tend to write about what I want to know and need to learn. For everyone who has forgotten their brilliance, the Baha'i teachings remind all of us:
O My Servant! Thou art even as a finely tempered sword concealed in the darkness of its sheath and its value hidden from the artificer’s knowledge. Wherefore come forth from the sheath of self and desire that thy worth may be made resplendent and manifest unto all the world. - Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 47.
O My Friend! Thou art the daystar of the heavens of My holiness, let not the defilement of the world eclipse thy splendor. Rend asunder the veil of heedlessness, that from behind the clouds thou mayest emerge resplendent and array all things with the apparel of life. – Ibid.
These beautiful Baha’i quotes tell us how we can discover our hidden worth. To do so, Baha’u’llah reminds us, we must transcend the “sheath of self” and tear away the “veil of heedlessness.” God created us in His own image and likeness. We are each unique, magnificent and noble, but we sometimes forget our high destinies. Each of us has gifts to offer that no one else in creation can manifest. The Baha'i teachings ask us not to doubt or even question our inherent nobility:
O Son of Being! With the hands of power I made thee and with the fingers of strength I created thee; and within thee have I placed the essence of My light. Be thou content with it and seek naught else, for My work is perfect and My command is binding. Question it not, nor have a doubt thereof. – Ibid., p. 6.
When I focus on my failures or shortcomings, I can drown in a sea of sadness and remoteness from my true self. In this state, I jeopardize my feelings of worth, and my chattering ego can run amuck with negative messages. The only way out of this illusion comes from spiritual guidance:
O Son of Spirit! I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting. – Ibid., p. 7.
The problem for me comes when I try to validate myself through other people. If I give others that power, then I tend to bounce back and forth on a teeter-totter of elusive self-worth. Instead, when I internalize the powerful messages in the Baha'i writings, I realize it’s not beauty, intelligence or any physical consideration that gives me my worth. I am worthy because I am a creation of God. When I realize that, I am not held hostage to anyone’s approval but God’s.
The fact that we feel unworthy might mean that we compare ourselves to others on some level. But no one can know or judge another’s spiritual state except God. We are all imperfect. Our worthiness comes from God’s presence within us. The more we focus on reflecting that light within, the more we come to know ourselves and thereby feel more loveable and worthy:
O Son of Being! Thou art My lamp and My light is in thee. Get thou from it thy radiance and seek none other than Me. For I have created thee rich and have bountifully shed My favor upon thee. - Ibid., p. 6.
In the end, we should resist judging ourselves or others. We should strive, in each simple moment, to act as channels of God’s love. We will never deserve all the wonderful gifts God bestows upon us—but He continues to bless us anyway. Striving every day to become worthy of God’s boundless mercy and mirror forth His virtues gives us our only true worth. Don’t forget to remind yourself!