Where do you get your sense of ‘worth’? Does it come from within yourself or does it come from other people? When you leave it in the hands of others, essentially you have no control over how you feel about yourself. When it comes from within, you are the one in control.
Of course, we all can appreciate validation, being told by other people that you have done a good job, that you are a good person and that you are heading in the right direction. The problem comes, however, when we rely too much on this when we are unable to feel worthy unless we are being praised or directed by an outside source.
Be that from the people around us or conforming to the expectations or norms of society. We can become disassociated with who we really are, do things or act in a way that we are not entirely comfortable or happy with. All because of expectations and a fear that if we do not we will be ostracised. It can be a real struggle and play havoc with our mental health.
We often don’t use our inbuilt compasses to guide us, we are not confident in making judgements for ourselves about ourselves, which seems completely fantastical, for surely the one, the only person who can really know that we have done a good job with something is ourselves? Instead, we turn to others to make that judgement for us or worst of all we turn to social media or celebrities; where we measure ourselves against near-impossible standards or things that ultimately are a façade.
Take the classic example, when you go out with friends despite really wanting to stay at home and relax. You go out because you feel that you have to, that you are expected to and end up ignoring how you really feel. Or those times that you see on social media people doing this or that and as you are not doing those things you give yourself such a hard time thinking that you should be doing them. It can be a nightmare and such an easy trap to fall into.
For me, it is something that I have struggled with for years and still does often especially now with the Covid pandemic and the fact that I live abroad. It is so easy to look at other people’s lives and convince myself that I am not coming ‘up to standard’ or that I should be doing something, thinking that by neglecting these things, they are the reason why at times I feel unhappy.
Whereas in reality, the opposite is true, I am unhappy because I am not ignoring how I really feel, I am unhappy because I am chasing after unachievable or unwanted things. The more that I can listen to myself, and look at the things I am doing and say to myself, I have done a good job there, the more genuinely happy I am able to be.
Likewise being able to do something that I really enjoy doing and be unashamed of doing can be so liberating. I know this and when I do it I am genuinely fulfilled but it is annoying that for the majority of us it can feel quite strange, though it really shouldn’t.
What makes it even more bizarre is, part of me thinks that all the people I know are spending a considerable amount of their time scrutinising everything that I do and making judgements, tutting at this and shaking their heads at that. They are not, the reality is that, yes people care about me but they are simply not that interested in everything little thing I am doing, they are too busy living their own lives. As much as I may think that the sun revolves around my life and my life alone, it doesn’t.
Once I am able to remember or recognise that fact, which does happen once in a while, am able to build my own self-worth from the bottom up. I realise that I need to forget about there the cheerleaders out there and focus on the cheerleader, the biggest, the best and the most authentic one, that is right here inside of me. And what’s more, is they are ready to rock and roll twenty-four hours a day, I just need to give them the pom-poms.