Who Am I? (and what am I worth?)

“Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life is impossible.” ~ Leo Tolstoy (Tweet)

Have you ever wondered who you were, deep inside, in your heart and soul and the marrow of your bones? Do you ache to know? To get a glimpse into the mystery of your own worth and value?

If so, you’re not alone. Every month, about 101 million searches (or over a billion annually) ask Google for insight into the perennial question: “Who am I?”

Judging by the reported increases in depression, anxiety, suicide, drug use and other social/psychological indicators there seems to be something of an identity crisis of pandemic proportions seeping into the consciousness of a growing disillusioned and disengaged mass of lonely people.

This identity crisis seems to be mostly felt as a general emptiness and sense of directionlessness. But others feel it much more viscerally, as a pain in the gut, a vacancy in the soul, a throb at the temples.

What about You?

Do you feel lost, unmoored and adrift in a sea of self-doubt, wondering who you truly are? Do you feel your value has been so much spare change in the ashtray of life?

Or do you sense there is something deeper than that, something you haven’t yet been able to put a finger on, but that seems vaguely more, like you were destined for something but haven’t yet been able to make out in the shadows what that thing is?

Standards of Value

And how should a person’s ultimate value be measured, anyway? Should it be the accountant’s yard stick? Rank and title? The value of reputation and legacy?

There is no obvious way to measure who you are and what you’re worth. But some yard sticks are better than others.

  • If sold for our chemical elements (our bodies are composed of so much sulfur, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, iron, iodine, silicon, etc), our value would be something close to the price a candy bar or a single scoop of ice cream.
  • If you were to sell a body to the cadaver industry to be stripped for parts, you could pocket about $80,000.
  • Mexican and Nigerian kidnappers get about $50,000 per unfortunate soul. Somali pirates and Radical Islamist Militants (a small and twisted faction of the larger Muslim community) get an average of $5 million per kidnapping.
  • In California (my home state), it costs an average of $47,000 to incarcerate each prisoner each year of their sentence. So a life term, of say 50 years, would cost $2,350,000 for each and every lifer.
  • Medicare pays $55,000 to keep cancer victims alive even if it means they live for only one more year.
  • It also paid $40,000 to surgically implant a defibrillator in a 93 year-old man with terminal cancer to keep his ticker ticking long enough for his cancer to kill him.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration has valued a human life at $86 million when you take into account the anticipated tax revenue we generate over a lifetime, bone marrow, egg, sperm and blood donations, and the value of other marketable parts (like heart, eyes and kidneys).

So, are you feeling better about yourself?

You just went from the value of a small bag of peanut M&Ms all the way up to the price of a small island in about 200 words! How does that feel?

What it all Means

So what does it mean that the value of our lives can be measured along a spectrum that ranges anywhere between the value of a juice box and Oprah Winfrey’s Montecito mansion?

Well, frankly, nothing.

The monetary value of a person pales in significance to what is truly valuable about humanity (and any particular jeans-wearing part of that 7 billion member clan).

You are more than the value of your parts. You are worth infinitely more than the cost of sustaining you. You are worth more than the tax revenue you generate, the value of your labor or investment potential or service you will have rendered by the time you kick the bucket. You are worth more than what the state pays to keep you alive or lock you up or what bad guys would ask as ransom.

Your True Value

You see, your value is incalculably infinite. Your worth is eternal. Who you are is so much more than what you do or what you have done or what you will do. It’s more than the number of friends you have or the size house you live in or the kind of car you drive or the number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers you can brag about.

As a matter of fact, such things have little to do with who you are or what you’re capable of or what you’re truly worth.

So, Who Am I?

You are an infinite being with an infinite heritage. You are the child of Love, of Power, of Creativity, Divinity, Spirit, Soul and Godliness.

You are, in fact, a child of God.

Can you fathom what that means? Can you imagine the implications of such a thought to your limitless potential?

Think about what that says about you, deep inside, about your innate value, your inherent worth, about who you are below the surface of your skin, below the income, below the insecurities and humiliations and fears and anxieties and ribbons and trophies and wins and losses and missteps and failures and victories and sins and trips and stumbles and every other significant and insignificant way we define and describe and identify and evaluate ourselves.

You are a wonderful and wondrous creation of Heaven. You are an angel on loan. An indestructible life of deep and abiding significance—whether realized, accepted, felt or not.

The Sum of Creation

You are the sum of all creation. You are the cherry on the sundae, the cap of snow on the mountaintop, the crème de la crème of life. You. Inside. Perhaps hidden by years of put-downs and offenses and shoves into life’s corners and verbal and physical slaps to the ego, the heart and face.

But there, perhaps submerged or buried, subdued, sunk somewhere inside of you, but there, still alive, ticking, beating, waiting, is a life that is glowing, the embers of which are still lit, whose heart still pumps, whose potential is still eternal and amazing and breathtaking.

Truth Caught in an Infant’s Face

If you’re not sure I speak the truth, try this: Look into the face of a sleeping infant. Now do you see it? That’s you. You are the infant God sees, slumbering, not yet fully awake, waiting to be born into an awareness that you are more than the sum of your parts or the peculiar algebra of your past and anticipated future.

You are, in short, so much more than you see in the mirror. You are more than your suspicions and doubts. You are eternal, endowed with embryonic glory. You are but the tip of a gigantic iceberg of potential and possibility. (Tweet) Most of your greatness waits to be discovered below the surface of your self-acceptance.

You matter. You are worth more than the human mind can imagine. Even if you wince as you read this or scream obscenities at my words, you know somewhere deep inside, in a quiet moment, something whispers the truth of what I’m saying to you. Hang on to that whisper.

Then let it sink inside and grow larger, expanding to fill your consciousness. Sit with it. Feel it. Know it. Accept it. Believe it. Act on it. It will speak the truth to your heart and mind, breathing life back into your weathered soul, even if ever so quietly at first.


You are the embodiment and personification of synergy, something greater than, bigger, grander, more profound and beautiful than your elements, parts or history.

Go claim it. Go realize it. Go bask in the warmth of that realization. And then go to work reflecting that reality. But don’t get fooled into believing the degree to which you don’t yet reflect it is an indication of some cosmic subtraction on your worth and value.

Who you are is not only what you see or remember or feel or believe you are worth. It is also what is beneath it all. It is what God sees in you. It is what God planted in you. It is the spark of divinity.

Let that be the starting point from which you fashion a life and the image you see in the mirror behind the eyes staring back at you.

In the 1970s, there was a TV game show called To Tell the Truth where 3 people would claim to be the same person.  The contestant would ask questions to try to determine which one was the real person in question. At the end, the host would call out, “Would the real so-and-so please stand up!” The real person would stand and the contestant would win or lose.

Here’s the good news. I’m telling you who the real person is at the beginning of the game. The outcome is rigged. The answer is fixed. You win if you but call out the truth. “Would the real you please stand up!”

Now, let the deeper, potential you, the one that glows within, that is connected to the eternities, that glistens with the effervescence of the divine, let that person now stand up.

And then smile as you realize how profoundly, gratefully and confidently happy you can be about that bit of identity clarity.

Your Turn …

If this message resonated with you or you think it would have value to others, please share it far and wide to help stave off the growing identity-amnesia that’s infecting the hearts and souls of far too many people.

And, as always, we would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.