Do You Suffer From Worth Decay?

We all know what tooth decay is. Tooth decay is a combo platter of genes, poor dietary choices with haphazard oral hygiene habits. Don't be surprised if you find yourself in great pain when you eat and drink a bunch of sugar without regular brushing and flossing. Tooth decay happens slowly, often silently, until one day -- OUCH!

People who suffer from worth decay experience similar symptoms. One day they may feel fine. The next day, they may feel less worthy. As we age, we fret over how we look. We mourn the loss of some kind of ability. Our abilities change due to a wide variety of factors such as our careers, love life and health status. What we believe in also factors into our sense of worth.

For example, do you believe your personal worth is solely based on the number of digits in your pocket (how much cash you have on hand) or the numbers of social network friends? Is your personal worth defined by Dow and S&P 500 reports? Maybe your educational beliefs tie your sense of worth to P&L or bank statements. If so, what do these numbers do for you? Do these numbers comfort you when your nose drips while suffering another round of sneezes brought on by the latest flu virus? How might pieces of paper (other than tissues) such as statements, currencies, bonds, deeds or stocks ease the pain you feel when you learn you (or someone you love) lives with a medical condition that no amount of money will resolve?

Now more than ever before (given the upcoming elections) it's high time to look at ways to prevent a potentially deadly disease known as worth decay. Deadly? Really? Yes. Deadly. As we all know, stress kills. Stress (rooted in feeling more and more worthless), creates an endless downward spiral of despair. As we age, experience loss due to death, poor health, career changes, abusive relationships, and/or shrinking finances, one's sense of worth will decay when left unchecked.

We'll start our journey to identify a primary source of worth decay. Time to focus on some physical health facts. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, a part of the World Health Organization), cancer rates are up. How might the various investment indices (Dow, S&P 500, etc.) play a role in the rise in cancer rates? We all know stress attacks our immune systems. (No stress in following the DOW -- right?) The National Cancer Institute reports how stress wreak havoc with our immune systems. How do you factor in your physical health in your personal sense of worth? How do you sacrifice your physical health to increase your financial worth?

Do you dare to find out some real answers to this first set of questions? Great! Ask some more questions!

How would your partner, children, family members or dear friends answer these questions about you:

• "Does [your name] work too much?"
• "Does [your name] eat healthfully?"
• "More often than not, is [your name] happy?"

Next, do your research regarding domestic violence. Start with the Domestic Violence Resource Center. Often, domestic abuse involves issues concerning finances. (I know this first hand based on being back-up to domestic dispute 911 calls.) Sadly, when you spend time crunching the numbers from domestic violence reports, numbers continue to increase as more abused souls take the bold step to report the abuse they've taken (often for far too long). Just about every domestic violence report appends the disclaimer that "true statistics are difficult to obtain" based on the reality that many victims do NOT report being abused for fear of more abuse. I know this disclaimer to be too true based on my work as a social worker who helped de-escalate 911 domestic violence calls.

What stock do you take in the number of or quality of personal relationships? Do you factor in the level of respect you give or receive every single relationship you have? How aware are you regarding your reputation in other people's eyes?

How would your partner, children, family members or dear friends answer these questions about you:

• "How much does [your name] respect you?"
• "How often does [your name] argue about financial issues?"
• "What's [your name] reputation like in your circles?"

Remind yourself your personal worth is far more than numbers printed on any kind of paper. For example, the next time a complete stranger inspires a smile because they simply smiled at you, KNOW you're worthy of feeling happy for no reason at all!

Be sure to chime in on this post as well. Constructive, compassionate dialog always welcomed.