I feel a lot of pressure sometimes. Pressure to be somebody and do something. Not just something, but something huge. I spend my days with a racing mind, hoping that one day I’ll figure it out.
What it really comes down to is, I want to be worth something.
I have the desire for people to see me and see that I am doing things. To avoid the negative images of lazy or time waster. I want to be seen as happy and successful and it feels like the only way to make that happen is to constantly have things to do, own the best stuff, or have a huge presence in the world.
Not only is it exhausting, it’s also a bit humiliating. These new standards for success make a lot of us feel like a simple life is not good enough. Like being busy is the only way to live.
I’ve been a little consumed with all of this. I’ve struggled with my social media status. Struggled with being okay with my desire to be a stay at home mom. I’ve struggled with feeling like the stuff I won isn’t good enough. As if it’s showing the world that I’m a failure. I’ve had to really take time to think about what self worth really means.
Can it be an objective term with a blanket definition for everyone? Can we all really take the same path to cultivating self worth? It’s heavy baggage to walk around with, spending your time comparing yourself others. Checking to see if your worth matches theirs. This is why I think it’s time to realize that worth is not the same to everyone and it doesn’t look the same to everyone. Self worth is not something other’s can put on you, it’s something you have to find within yourself.
WHAT SELF WORTH IS NOT
YOUR WORTH IS NOT YOUR STUFF.
Raise your hand if you have a list of stuff you need to own so people can see you’re worth something (raises hand shyly while looking around the room). Yep, absolutely I do this. I look at my stuff and I feel like anyone who walks into my house can see how little I’ve done with my life (on the objective, “career minded” self worth scale). I hesitate to take photos of myself and my house. Feeling ashamed of my cheap clothes and hand-me-down furniture.
I had to step back. I had to take a second look at my stuff and realize that I actually enjoy the things I own and it looks just fine. Even though my stuff isn’t the newest or the latest trends, it’s unrealistic to think that someone would walk into my home and judge me just because of the things I own.
The thing is, stuff does not define you. I had to really retrain my mind when I got into minimalism. When I finally let go of the idea that I was worth only as much as my stuff, I was able to accept the fact that the things you own are not a reflection of your success. Anyone who judges you based on what you own is not someone worth having around.
YOUR WORTH IS NOT YOUR PRODUCTIVITY.
It’s so difficult to feel like you can take a break. The second I take a minute to relax, my mind starts racing and I think of all the things I should be doing. I think about the clutter I could put away, the shower I could be taking, the post I should be writing. I don’t feel like I can actually rest the way I need to because I never stop giving myself a hard time for sitting and doing nothing.
Really, it’s our survival of the fittest instincts. That little voice inside of us that says we have to keep going because motion is what keeps us alive. To some extent, sure, that can be true. We shouldn’t always be doing nothing. We shouldn’t strive for nothing. But taking a break, like a real binge watch anything and everything while eating junk food and being a slob in your PJ’s break, is also what keeps us alive. Resting and taking our time to go through the motions. Appreciating every little thing we do. Taking in the small stuff. That’s the stuff that makes life worth it. That’s the stuff that makes us, us. Being productive is great, but it isn’t a measure of our self worth.
YOUR WORTH IS NOT YOUR SOCIAL STATUS.
And yeah, I’m talking about instagram again. Freaking instagram will be the death of me. I feel shame everyday that I go to my feed and see less likes and followers than people who don’t even try when I know I’m trying really hard (okay, yeah, fine, maybe a little too hard). It’s not even just the actual numbers that bother me. It’s that little voice in the back of my head telling me that the numbers are low because no one cares. No one thinks I’m worth it.
The bottom line is, instagram isn’t life. Instagram isn’t even the whole internet. I am not measured by my number of followers. It kills me trying to live for instagram in every moment of my life. I can’t put my worth in what others think of me. I realized that if I’m basing my self worth on someone telling me I’m worth it, I’m going to feel worthless for a long time.
You see how all these blanket terms for worth can really be damaging for a lot of us? I’ve stayed in this mindset of defining self worth for so long. It got to the point where I really felt worthless. It’s not anyone else’s fault. It’s not the world’s fault for me feeling this way. Really, it’s my fault for letting the world make me feel this way.
The first step to finding your worth is taking responsibility and putting your worth in your hands. It’s all about not letting anyone else define your personal worth.
WHAT SELF WORTH IS
YOUR WORTH IS YOUR HEALTH.
The fist step in feeling that worth within yourself is by taking care of yourself. I’ve noticed when I want to snack, eat unhealthy foods, and be sluggish all day are the moments where I feel the worst about myself. It’s comfort food. The stuff you want when you feel like you’re not worth it.
My journey to discovering my self worth is on going, but the moment I started treating my body better was the start of my journey. Whether you believe you are your body or your body is just a vessel, you know you need to take care of it. It’s not even just about the mentality of giving yourself the nutrition you not only need, but deserve. It’s the clarity that comes when you stop clouding your mind with junk. Your brain works better, your skin looks healthier, your body feels lighter. When you take care of yourself, your body thanks you with glowing skin and a clear mind that can help boost your confidence and make you feel worth it.
YOUR WORTH IS YOUR HAPPINESS.
I think a big issue with feeling a lack of self worth is feeling like you don’t deserve to be happy. How many times have you thought of something you’d love to do and then immediately stopped yourself with the thought, “You can’t do that. You’re not good enough.” For me it’s been blogging. I’d start and every time, without fail, launch day would come and I’d tell myself that no one cares what I have to say. Maybe no one does, but that’s not the point of it.
While it’d be great to have people read something that I put passion and effort into, it really just makes me happy to write. So what took me so long to get to the point of just going for it no matter what? That feeling that no one would ever read it and I’d be a failure and everyone that knows I started a blog would know that I’m a failure. I put worth in the numbers, not the content, not the effort. So I’d fail before I even started because I always stopped before I began. That little nagging thought that no one cares because I’m not pretty enough, popular enough, or clever enough would always stop me from doing the thing that made me happiest.
So do that thing. Do the thing that makes you happy and do it because it makes you happy. Happy people get that way by doing what they love whether other people love it or not. So just do it. If nothing ever comes of it, at least you can say you gave it your all and you had fun doing it. Doesn’t that person sound like the most amazing person to be around?
YOUR WORTH IS YOUR SMILE.
It’s that face that tells other’s they’re worth it. The smile that comes naturally because you are so content with yourself that you just can’t help but pass it along.There’s such a difference between a fake and genuine smile. That genuine smile that you can only get when you know you’re worth it because you decided you are. The smile that comes from a person who is so happy with the life they live because they love it, not because others told them it’s good.
So practice your smile. No, I don’t mean in the mirror. I mean in your everyday. Practice by taking inventory of the moments you have and turning every moment you can into a moment you love living. Add some self care, maybe try adapting a little minimalism to clear away the overload of clutter. Just turn your life into one that makes you smile.
Self worth doesn’t have to be something unattainable that only the best of the best can achieve. It’s not reserved for those who’ve “made it.” It’s for anyone that decides they will have it and for everyone that makes the effort to feel it within themselves. It is a process to give yourself worth and it’s a process you have to decide to start. No one can truly give you worth but because of that, once you have it, no one will ever be able to take it away.