The elephant in your room

January 12, 2024

I can’t get out of my mind this notion that there is an elephant in the room that we’re trying to ignore. That is, when it comes to our well-being.

We all know and are continually reminded with growing data from research that we are not a happy or content people. No, we’re pretty anxious as a lot and a good number of us are depressed. We know this.

But the elephant in the room…the source of much of our discontent…is even more bone level than fear and sadness. It’s our declining self-worth. We don’t like who we are or who we’ve become and suspect that no one else does either.

I feel this way about us for several reasons. First, I have personally done so much soul searching over the last few years, having made a major transition in my life and begun staring at age 70 just over the horizon. Yeah, even old people wonder about their worth.

Then there are the conversations I’ve been regularly having with clients and friends. For instance, a number of young undergrads asked me to pray for them at a recent retreat I helped lead. Every single one of them had worth issues they were weighed down by. And I’ve realized that the coaching I do is, at its heart, a “What I see in you” moment. A shot of self-worth that many times results in tears.

So, I wonder if this is an elephant in your room? Here are some diagnostic questions to ask yourself to determine if your self-worth is flagging:

Are you struggling with self-confidence? Frequently unsure whether you can do a thing before you?

Do you beat yourself up a lot? (I found myself doing this lately.) Are you too hard on yourself?

Do you find yourself wishing someone would pay attention to you and, at least, just ask how you’re doing

Do you wonder if you matter to anyone?

Are you lonely? Feeling isolated? When your self-esteem struggles, you pull into yourself and away from others.

Do you hate critique?

Are you frequently indecisive?

Do you avoid risk to protect yourself from failure?

Do you have to fight off shame?

These are just some of the symptoms of low self-worth. They make for a rough life. What to do if this elephant is taking up so much space in your room?

Tell someone you trust. Let them remind you what is true about you, because you’re not thinking straight about yourself. If it is particularly acute, seek out a therapist. If they’re any good, they’ll ask all the right questions to help expose the lies you believe about yourself and equip you with tools to good self-care. Then turn your attention to the deepest part of you…your meaning, your purpose, your why…the thing that only you can do or be. The thing that sets you apart. Your destiny.

I can help you with that last one. I’ll sit with you…in-person or virtually…and explore all that there is about you. We’ll examine your life story, your passions, your personality and your giftedness. And I will help you see that thing you were made for…and the reason why you are of estimable worth. Reach out to me here, via my contact page and I’ll get back with you quickly!

Oh, and I’d be happy to come to your group and present a Destiny Workshop. I’ve done workshops for thousands of people all over the country…for fraternity chapters,  manufacturing companies, service industry teams, youth groups, churches, neighborhood groups and even families.

When you know why you are here and grasp your calling, you realize you have a superpower that not only contributes to the world but helps you stand straight with pride and confidence.


  1. Mark Oehler

    It was one of the first things God did for me after my conversion in college. He led me to one of three books on my bookshelf that I had not read thoroughly (the others were a history of the Spanish Civil War and the Bible). Psycho-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. It changed my life by helping me under the importance of self-image and self-worth. And the manifestations of the inferiority and superiority complexes.
    For self-worth, I always point people back to the declaration of independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” If God has given everyone value it informs how we treat others and ourselves.
    Difficulties between men and women? The early chapters in the Bible.

    • Dave Rodriguez

      Thanks Mark! I like those “self-evident truths.” They are ground zero of self-worth. Good thoughts!


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