“I Think, Therefore I am.”
Have you ever been in the position of buying in a new car? Or even in the positive where you realized that the car you currently drive has started to lose its usefulness to you? This is something people go through everyday, whether it’s a car, a juice blender, a bike and the list goes on. This is fine, after all, the examples given are just pieces of machinery designed to make our lives easier. What’s not okay is when people unintentionally regard themselves as pieces of machinery.
An example would be basing their self-worth on what they have accomplished in life. The problem with this mindset is that once you are no longer useful, what happens to your sense of self-worth? Do you live in the past? Do you seek to duplicate your success in another endeavor? What happens if you do not achieve the same level of success in the new endeavor?
Your sense of self-worth should simply be based in your positive acceptance of your existence. While the endeavors you seek to pursue should be based solely on your interests or getting simply getting your basic needs met.
Why Your Accomplishments Should Not Be Based on Your Self Worth
Your ability to work, provide a service or a product is temporary. This is because it’s based on the amount of energy and focus you can dedicate to the activity to produce an outcome of high value. A good example would be a top tier professional athlete. We have all experienced our favorite athletes reach their prime and experience the inevitable decline. Experiencing a decline in a natural ability or learned skill is a natural cycle and process of life and there is no getting around it.
The problem with basing your self-worth on what you have accomplished, is that its temporary. Once you are no longer able to maintain your level of accomplishment, you begin to see yourself as unworthy. This then leads to issues with depression and anxiety. This phenomenon is also common among retirees who have developed the habit of equating their hard work with being worthwhile. As a result they struggle with the feeling of not being wanted or being useful and find themselves returning to some type of work. It is also common among people who have experienced a radical shift in social status for some reason or the other.
What Does it look Like to Have a Healthy Self Worth?
A healthy self-worth is one based on a fundamental appreciation and acceptance of one’s self, simply for being aware of your existence. If you have been raised with the mindset that your self-worth is based on what you accomplish and contribute to society, this might sound off putting. However, people who fundamentally accept themselves simply for their existence, have an easier time going through and persevering through challenges in life. This is because their egos are not attached to what they accomplish or how other people perceive them. They can experience failures in life, learn from the experience and keep living their lives.
The mindset of accepting yourself unconditionally, makes it easier for people to experience more success in their daily endeavors. In the absence of a fragile ego, they become more courageous about taking risks to succeed in various activities. Another benefit of having a healthy self-worth, is being able move past hurt and pain from wrongdoing by yourself or others and creating a better life for yourself.
This concept of healthy self-worth does not mean taking the easy way out in life. It also does not mean failing to hold yourself to needed standards. By accepting yourself unconditionally, you can put aside any unhealthy judgments about yourself and live your best life.
This concept is taken from Dr. Albert Ellis, the founder of REBT, (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy).
Ugo Uche is a psychotherapist and expert in anxiety and related disorders. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book your first appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.
Ugo also provides Online therapy for those who cannot travel to his office.