Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Am I Worthy?

Hanging out with a lot of other rabbis can bring up many feelings of inadequacy for me.
(I'm currently at the Central Conference of American Rabbis' annual convention)

We're all the same, we all have the same degree and training. But so many of my colleagues are wise and talented, well-spoken, well-written, and doing amazing work.

I am NOT fishing for compliments here, I'm being serious. I know very well that I'm happy with my work, doing well in my job, and outside of the professional realm, absolutely unbelievably BLESSED  with my family and friends. But it doesn't really matter. I still feel that little question nagging at me - do I really belong here? How on earth can I stand shoulder to shoulder with so many amazing people and really feel my own sense of worth?

The rabbinate isn't really like academia, for example, with its concept of "publish or perish." I can dwell in obscurity and do my work happily. I don't have any need to be "important" in the rabbinic world - I'm not aiming to be president of the CCAR or even sit on a board. But I do want my voice to be heard, I do want to bring something to the table and share my ideas and beliefs with my colleagues. Often, though, I am reticent to open my mouth since I usually think "oh, there's someone way more qualified than me to say that."

Maybe when I'm older.
Maybe when I've been at this for longer.

And so it goes.

It just so happens, however, that the blogging  world has done it again. It has reminded me, in its infinite wisdom, that I AM WORTHY.

Just by being me. That no matter how I feel in the presence of colleagues and friends, no matter how I might, in the secret moments just before bed at night, wonder if I'm really just pretending to be something that I'm not....that no matter....I am worthy. Today and Everyday.

But, damn, it's hard to say sometimes.


Paul Kupnes said...

You aren't worthy. Jkjk
I suppose they don't quote you in the Talmud for teaching a rabbi 10 years older than you how to be significant while blogging, but that makes you my rebbe.

Otir said...

I guess there are so many different ways to look at the feeling, to see how widely shared it is by everyone (suffice to look at all the comments on the link you gave) and that affirmation can have a great power of reassurance, and retraining of our thoughts.

One cannot be always content with oneself for it would just leave us motionless, just content, that is good for old age - very old age, when a lot was accomplished and a lot was lost and still the world goes on, whatever we have done.

One can also feel that asking the question is also a way of feeling so grateful about what we receive, including the not so pleasant feelings, when things are difficult, unfair and sad. Are we worthy of it all?

The search for a genuine sense of connection can be overwhelming, is overwhelming most of the time, and it is probable that doubts arise most when connection manifests itself in venues like where you are.

Thank you for sharing, sharing your talent to express universal feelings and letting others connect with those feelings and wonder how they can deal with them.

Jew Wishes said...

Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts with us, affirming that each of us, in our own unique way, is worthy.

Otir stated "just content, that is good for old age - very old age". I am retired and although I have a sense of contentment within me, I also strive to explore new avenues and strive to continually learn. I will continue this path until I am no more, or until I am unable to do so. I don't want to sit back and watch the world around me go by.

Minnesota Mamaleh said...

i love this post and its sentiment. one thing that i adore about children is how sure and secure they are in themselves and their accomplishments. we don't have to say anything at all-- they *know* they're great. somewhere along the way, people and do i dare say often, women, lose that sense of i'm great! thanks for modeling something we should all be able to do naturally but as you said, find it hard!

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of a conversation I had some years ago at my 10th high school reunion with our Senior Class president. Highly-accomplished, she was extremely nervous about attending the reunion, feeling that she had not lived up to everyone's expectations. I was just amazed by her revelation. Here was this amazing, beautiful, incredible woman---who felt inadequate and hesitant. It made me feel better about my own misgivings and anxieties.

Don't be fooled; we all feel it sometimes.

That's the basis for carrying the two truths in our pockets.

And for keeping a strong support system to build us up when we falter. Or feel as though we are faltering.

JanetheWriter said...

I know a lot of rabbis...and you're at the top of the list when it comes to technology, social media and the web!