What is your source of self-worth? Where is your self-confidence born and nourished?
Where do you flourish?
I find the answers to the above questions in the aftermath of devastating experiences. It took me losing my job at a startup company to realize that I found self-worth in a job title.
It took 3 failed relationships for me to realize that having a guy infatuated with me gave me self-confidence. When I lost that infatuation, when we passed the “honeymoon phase,” my self-confidence decreased.
I met a friend once who was beautiful on the inside and out. I thought, “If she is my friend I can’t be that bad.” That ended when she moved away, got busy with law school, and we fell out of touch.
It took my grandparents reaching a difficult time for me to realize I leaned on them to assure me when it was really time for them to lean on me.
It took me gaining weight in pregnancy to realize that I got self-confidence from being fit.
After many years, life kept presenting me with this lesson. I had brief periods of feeling good, then the ingredient that gave me that feeling was taken away. When it was taken away, I wanted to get it back. Getting back the ingredient (infatuation, fitness, grandparent’s assurance) wasn’t the lesson I was meant to learn. So life, being very clever, kept giving me new examples to learn from.
It took me until now to realize this: The only true and lasting source of self-worth, and self-confidence, comes from within.
For a lot of you, this is common sense. You may be thinking, “Duh!!!”
But for me, it took a lot of examples before I understood the lesson.
This means that there is a worth that I was born with, that we all were born with, that isn’t dependent on what I achieve, how much I weigh, who loves me or doesn’t love me, who approves of what I’m doing or disapproves of what I’m doing. This worth is inherent because I was born. Some people call this God’s love or the soul (I tend to agree with both notions).
If I see my worth untangled from the actions and opinions of others, I am at ease. I get to walk off the rollercoaster and stand on solid ground. Everything I do and say from here is coming from the best of intentions.
My intention is no longer to earn love, respect, self-worth or confidence. It’s not to claw at someone to give me something that I can only get from myself.
My intention is to give what I can give to the world. Whether that’s being the best parent I can be, or volunteering on the weekends, or changing careers….
It’s about the small ways I can give without the hope that I will gain. Because what I hope to gain cannot be given to me anyway, it can only be found within myself.
Thank you for visiting Creating a Skyscraper! What lesson took you the longest to learn?