Thanks to everyone who sent in some questions, feedback or shared their own struggles with self worth. Let me answer it in the best way I know how.
Some feedback / questions from you:
1) But doesn’t our self-worth go up when we get a promotion at work? Earn more money? Win a race? Our kids do well at school? We are liked?
2) I really don’t feel that I have any worth when I stuff up at work, my kids go off the rails, lose my job or health, don’t qualify in a race I was expected to win, (the list goes on)…
3) But we have been taught form early age that your better when you win the race / coming 2nd is the first loser, have to be in the top x% of the class, get the “with honours”, the ‘better’ title on the business card… (again, the list goes on)
Okay, here is my first question: if your best friend lost her job would she be worthless to you? What if she had no money? What if his kids went of the rails? What if your best friend never graduated from anything other than Kindy? Worthless, right?
No! of course not! Your friend still has worth…
Second question: Ready?
How come those same rules don’t apply to you…?
Yes, I agree, those things above, it’s what we grew up with, it’s what we learned, which is why we believe it… Repeat: “we believe it”…
More often than not people attach their sense of self worth to how well they are doing in life…
In that model of thinking: When we are doing well our self-worth goes up and when we are not doing well our self-worth goes down.
Wow, what a constant rollercoaster…
Okay, first of all: “doing well”… According to whom…? Compared to what?
I’m sure we all have a different definition of what “doing well’ means: Earning X dollars, being liked, having a certain title on the business card, having a book published, being a good mum (good luck measuring that or waiting for your kids to thank you), behaving to a certain standard, being healthy or fit, the kids doing well… And on and on the list goes…
You do not have any control over many of the contributing factors, which make it possible for to reach your goal or not.
You can’t control who the kids meet, what other people think, whether the supplier delivers on time, whether the boss has already decided on someone else, nor a global financial crisis, the weather and most certainly not what other people think…
Of course, there is a lot you can do, to stack the cards in your favour. You help the kids learn great values, you do great work, you apply yourself, you put good systems in place, install the firewall, use common sense, you eat healthy and work out, you take time out for yourself and still…
No matter how much you try to control life there will always be things you have no influence over whatsoever. Sorry to be so blunt.
The only thing you can control is how you respond to whatever life throws at you. (Which is a learned skill and we can get better at it.)
So would you agree that it’s not a great idea to attach your self worth to something that is largely outside of their own control…?
Would you want your kids to live like that? Can you imagine how much pressure that would put on them?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about being under achievers… Not at all! Quite the contrary.
Of course you want to do well! Of course you want your kids to do well! Heck yeah!
But do it for no other reason than because you want to! You want to see just how fast you can run… How far you can push the envelope… How well you can treat people… How you get to the point where your kids thank you for being a great parent once they’re in the thirties… See if you can get that promotion because it’ll make you grow and learn and contribute… If you can win that gold medal…
Yessss! And yes!! Go for all of that!!! And more!
And do it because you want to!
Can you imagine what a relief it is to go for it just because you want to? Knowing your self worth is a given no matter what. How much more fun it’ll be going for it only because you want to?
Don’t ever fall into the trap of believing, your self-worth depends on reaching that goal. It doesn’t!
Never hang your self-worth on that hook. It’s a trap.
Of course I want you to read my emails and think about them, talk to friends about the ideas I put out in this world. And I am stoked when you forward one of my emails to someone you care about! Or hit reply and share your thoughts on the matter with me. Of course I am!
But do I attach my self worth to that?
I make sure I don’t (and when I catch myself doing it, I have a stern talking to myself.)
Then I use any and all feedback I get, to learn and improve. Which is why your feedback is so valuable to me! It’s the fastest way to improve.
So, if you have any comments or questions, just let me know!
Today I am grateful for every single person reading this. And for everyone who has given me feedback. Any feedback.
And I am eternally grateful for my old girl sleeping under my table, making sure she’ll wake up should I move… So contented, so in the moment… I bet she doesn’t apply her self-worth to anything. She just knows she’s got it!
And now I’m off to take her for a swim…
Yours in happiness and wellbeing