“You are enough. There is nothing to prove to anyone.” ~ Maya Angelou
How do you measure your self-esteem? With the salary you earn each year? With the number of lines in your resume? How many people are following you on social media?
What if you never need to measure your self-esteem again now? That’s what I want to do.
I grew up as a talented kid, had high expectations for booting, and always pushed myself to meet them. I did the best I could, secured a full ride scholarship to a local university, and immediately enrolled in one of the country’s leading law schools.
Thanks to all the achievements, my self-esteem was high. I believed that I outperformed my peers and boosted my ego. I felt safe in this comfort zone I created.
The law school has changed my view of the world. My fellow group has become some of the smartest and most talented people in the country. I tried to compete with them to prove myself, but I struggled to stand out and feel more accomplished than ever before.
In just a few months, my ego began to crumble and lost its former lofty values. I was outside my comfort zone and felt invisible.
I turned to strangers online to undo the fragments and restore my value. I relied heavily on social media for superficial likes and comments. I turned my lifelong hobby into a side hustle and validated the content I was interested in here and there.
I was desperate to find a reliable new measure of success. But until it was already sacrificed, I was unaware of the damage that despair was doing to my mind.
My ego protected me from doubt for a long time, so as soon as it was gone I didn’t feel good enough. If I thought I was a failure, I immediately tried to be active in a new field and continued to confirm my depressed feelings. I compared myself to the best and the best and treated myself as the worst and the worst.
I was trapped in a downward spiral and became worthless. Only when I slowed down to look back on my mental health, I realized that my life looked like an endless rat race to find the proverbial cheese. I was nervous to earn my value and ended up empty-handed.
If you’re always chasing self-esteem, you won’t stop to see if you’ve found anything.
Why do many of us believe that our value is conditional? I think it’s a long and demanding process.
Many of us have learned to grow to relate self-esteem to certain achievements. We linked our value to excellence because we found that the figures of authority gave us the most positive feedback and attention when we were doing a great job. Without that encouragement, we would have lost our way.
The world around us uses this correlation on a daily basis. To some extent, it makes the world go around.
Western culture, in particular, thrives by permanently linking the values it achieves. The more people pursue success in their work, the more productive they are and the more money they flow. Therefore, society constantly seeks to advance the idea that diligence is sacred and ultimately leads to a life of achievement, the value of Ergo.
Western culture does not just reward those who are happy with what they are. Instead, we are expected to continue to spend our efforts until something goes well. Still, some jobs are valued more than others, so we just have to find the right job to do to get through.
So if you don’t feel happy and fulfilled, do you just need to work harder?
However, not all hard-working workers are benefiting. After all, you need to meet certain criteria to achieve it, and inevitably need to be better than someone else. Only considerable time and effort can lead to a worthwhile victory.
Some systems in play inevitably have or do not, as they play the system best and reward a limited number of the most successful people. The more limited the rewards, the harder everyone is forced to work hard every day.
Unfortunately for us, rewards are clearly just the verification we need to live our lives. If our value depends solely on our performance, we have no choice but to compete with each other for limited and essential resources. The results are as valuable as the rare ones.
But you can’t win this competition. There is always a lot to do. And someone always does more.
You will not be satisfied with external verification. It only makes you want more.
In my struggle, I had a hard time understanding how to see my value.
How much is it worth? How does it compare to the value of others? Do you go up or down?
When is I finally worthy?
To answer these questions, I eagerly tried to number my values as much as possible. After all, numbers are a concrete and trivial concept. I knew if it was more or less than someone else.
Therefore, by using numbers, I could easily measure my own value and the value of others. This gave me a way to understand my place in the world.
By using the numbers, I was also able to determine how my value was changing. For example, if I liked it more than usual, I must have done something right, so I was happier than usual. The less I received, the more immediate improvement was needed.
Except that the numbers are hollow. They have no value unless we agree to give them value, but our obsessive nature often gives benign extraordinary value.
Use shortcuts like numbers to explain concepts that are difficult to understand. Self-esteem certainly seems to be one of the concepts of those attempts, always out of reach like the elusive fruits hanging above us and the pool of retreating water.
By breaking away from social expectations, the room for self-esteem has become as complicated as I make.
If self-esteem does not have to be conditionally present, it can be inherently present.In fact, it exists now Without exception.
You cannot assign value to your value. It’s just that.
Thanks to the fact that you are alive, you are as valuable as anyone else who lived before, now, or later.
We all enter the world in the same way and leave in the same way. Our lives can vary greatly in content, but in value. There is nothing that separates us at the most basic level.
And none of us start with a lack of value. We do not have to embark on a lifelong journey to gain our value by moving up in the world. Our value remains immovable regardless of how our lives are shaped.
Work does not shape our value. No matter how you decide to share your skills and talents, the world will be better if you trust in yourself the value of what you are doing and who you are.
Society may try to tell us how we should see and feel about ourselves, but we are not obliged to listen. Fighting those deep-seated thoughts about what others think we should do is by no means an easy fight, but it’s worth the independence.
Whether or not you measure value, it doesn’t change and it’s rocking.
It’s enough for now.
There are millions of ways to compare yourself to others, but it’s up to you to downplay the differences and enjoy the shared humanity.
So how do you move forward, knowing that you can’t increase or decrease your value?
Well, the possibilities are endless. The door opens in a life where you can be you without being shy. And more importantly, you can be part of something bigger than yourself without feeling small.
Waiting for others to prove that you deserve is a good time to spend on sharing your true self.
After spending the last few years of my life trying to prove myself without reaching the level of success I wanted, I decided that my definition of success would continue to change until I couldn’t feel fulfilled. I noticed. Unless universally respected, I stopped being happy.
Instead of enjoying my time, I lived mysteriously, spending my free time trying to make myself look like I was achieved. I didn’t prosper myself, but matched what people thought they wanted.
My true self was suffocated. Even the most primitive criticisms made me feel like I was stabbed in my chest. I didn’t feel like I deserved to like it anymore, so I was farther away from others than ever before.
But I am myself, worthy of taking up space and contributing to the world in my own way. And you do too.
Knowing that what you are doing cannot change who you are promotes freedom of the way you want to live, freedom from others, as well as freedom from expectations and doubts. ..
Knowing that you are always worth it allows you to connect more deeply with the people around you, empathize with them, and support their journey in life.
With this knowledge, you can find and share your true joy.
You can pursue what you like, not what you think you should do. You can work at your own pace to become the person you want to be. You can continue to exist, knowing that neither praise nor disapproval will affect your value.
However, many have a hard time agreeing that you can exist in peace without having to fight to prove your worth. Even I, as well as the denialists, are still struggling to keep my inner, learned uncertainties away as to whether I offer something of value.
Learning more about your inherent values means, as we know, stop learning those harsh and deep-rooted principles of life. These principles never disappear completely, but we can make daily choices to drown them.
Take it from me, your life doesn’t change immediately with discovering your own value, but the more you keep in mind your discovery, the more it can improve little by little every day. .. As with any migration, there are ups and downs. I still have the suspicion of creeping up when I don’t expect them the most.
But the more openly you live and share yourself with others, the more these principles will take hold and the stronger you will be to challenge what life throws your way. Instead of seeking achievement and improvement, you will be content with the universe.
You will be free.