“Sure, I’ll have more mashed potatoes. Be right back.” These family things always make me see how little I’ve accomplished. Brother with a PHD. Doctor over there’s a well-respected surgeon. Cousin’s on the board of every foundation in the city. Ya, so, I published a book, have some students, clients, contracts, and do shows every now and then. Big whoop."
I don’t know about you, but I have been known to make an art out of undervaluing myself. There are so many paths to sabotaging ourselves from truly embracing our worth. Lets see, we have the option of sabotaging ourselves by unknowingly choosing unfair standards of self-measurement. Then we build self-talk full of statements reminding us of the ways we don’t measure up.
These unfair standards include measuring our worth based on accomplishments that we are told are important. Examples include our net worth and our notoriety. Also, we
give ourselves arbitrary time frames within which we must achieve those accomplishments “By the time I’m 30…”
While these standards may seem like they’re set in stone, it’s helpful to understand that we have a choice about whether or not to buy into them. I know how easy it is to mistake the amount of people who buy into a belief for the truth about that belief. Still, we can look deeper and make a more informed choice.
First, we can ask ourselves if the accomplishments we are told are important, are truly the most important. For example, does net worth have to determine our self worth? It’s helpful to remember that the positive impact of our work does not always correlate with financial remuneration. For example, teachers and social workers make a very important difference, but historically have been underpaid.
We can examine the importance of notoriety as a measure of self-worth. As an actress, I have examined this issue. For actors, there is often an unexplored goal of “making it”. This often equates with achieving stardom.
When I looked more deeply, I realized that the essence of that goal was the ability to work in the field, and for being known for doing good work. Looking at my goal in this way allowed me to feel good about already having achieved that. I felt no need to measure by worth by the amount of people who knew me and my work.
We can examine the importance our self-imposed strict time frame for achieving our goals. We don’t have to buy into that schedule, no matter how many others might. We can recognize and follow time frames that work better for us. Opening up to other options can give us the chance to explore and commit to multiple goals, to give ourselves time to try some directions, learn that they are not for us and take a different path. Or it may afford us the opportunity to stop and smell the flowers along the way.
When we make informed, fair choices about our accomplishments, we can build self-talk that reminds us of the ways we do measure up. We can take pride in our inner qualities, in our achievements, and cherish our own, unique, personal paths.