“The fact that someone else loves you doesn’t rescue you from the project of loving yourself.” (Sahaj Kohli)
I really continue to struggle defining my self-worth, even with many great insights made in my therapy sessions in recent years and even with all the other personal work I’ve done on myself. For too long, I’ve thought my self-worth needed to be defined by how much money I made or by the type of job I held or by how many close friends I had or even by the number of likes I got on the postings I made on Facebook or Twitter. Thankfully, I clearly see now though that it’s not healthy one bit to base it upon any of that, as looking outside of myself for self-worth has constantly led me to feelings of inadequacy because there’s always been someone else who’s had more money, a better job, greater friends, all while getting tons of more likes on social media. Regrettably, I’ve lived this way for years and it’s often led to me becoming overly depressed.
That’s why I started asking myself as of late, how do I REALLY define my self-worth with still not having a paying job, with the amount of health issues I continue to have, with so very few readers of my blog after years of writing, and with a very limited number of true friends that have stuck by my side through it all. As you can see I’ve truly struggled with a pretty negative image of myself and a low sense of self-worth.
A brother of mine in my men’s spiritual group recently told me that if I want to have any lasting self-worth, I really need to define it from within, not without, so I began trying that, which has proven to be quite difficult. Yet, each day I am consciously looking now for things to define my self-worth that don’t come from outside of myself, that aren’t based upon some other person, place, or thing in life.
Things like the meticulous work I’ve done on my yard and gardens. Things like the unconditional love I’ve shown myself, my cat, and those few friends I’ve drawn close to me. Things like all the 12 Step recovery work I’ve done to help others with their addictions. And things like the social get-togethers I’ve coordinated between people who normally wouldn’t spend time together. Honestly, I never thought about any of those being things that could define my self-worth because for the most part, I’ve always defined it by how people see me, not by how I see myself.
Another big realization I made only recently when it comes to defining self-worth is that every act of self-care I do for myself, especially when I’m hurting physically, also helps to cultivate more of it, because so often in life I neglected self-care and instead allowed myself to go beyond my limits, hurting myself a lot more in the process. So caring for myself as I continue to heal on many levels actually improves my self-worth. Go figure.
Thus, I see now I have a long road ahead of me to totally reshape my self-worth from what it has been, that being consistently looking outside of myself for it, to what it needs to be, that being to look within for it. So, as I make a daily concerted effort now to see it in my own reflection, I’m hoping to start feeling a whole lot better about myself and my life in general…
Dear God, I truly do struggle defining my self-worth. I’ve looked quite a bit for others to define it for me for a long time now and feel pretty low more than not because of it. Help me God to cultivate my self-worth from within, and not from without, because I know in doing so, my outlook upon myself and my life will be a whole lot brighter.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson