“We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.”

I’ve had this post sitting in drafts for like a week. Ha. Maybe time to finish it?

I was reading a forum recently and someone asked “How do you define your self-worth?”

People responded with a variety of answers.  Some people who are in school talked about their grades, a couple stay-at-home moms mentioned their kids’ well-being or praise or the state of their homes. Most people said it came from their jobs. A lot of people said they rely entirely on the validation of others, which I totally get.

I realized it’s actually something I’d never given much thought to. I have self-worth, but where does it come from?

I found some college essay thing (I don’t even know) with a pretty simple definition: Self-worth is the portal through which self-esteem is received.

As work I rely on praise almost entirely. Which, obviously. It’s good to hear that you’re doing well and that the people you work for think you’re important and a necessary part of the team.

But what about the rest of my life? My job isn’t really a career (administrative assistant for life? No thanks. Sorry y’all), and I certainly don’t live for work. So if the things I do outside of work are what’s most important to me – which they are – how am I maintaining my sense of general awesomeness? I think there’s a little bit of a difference between job-worth and self-worth. I like my job, I like that I’m good at my job, and I’m glad my coworkers seem to agree, but I am not my job. No way. However! It occurs to me that I feel a lot better about myself now, with a job I like, than I did when I had a job that made me homicidal. So that’s worth noting.

Before I continue– someone on the forum said this:

One thing that really stuck with me is that if I were to ask the people who really love me why they think I’m great, not a single one would list any of the things from which I derived my entire self-worth – being smart, being competent at my job, being skinny, etc.

She hit the nail on the head.

So anyway. Where does my self worth come from? In no particular order:

  • Having a job I don’t loathe and being decent at it.
  • Appearance – on the days I make an effort to look good, I feel better about myself.
  • Accomplishment – specifically, completing goals I set for myself. This is everything from vacuuming the apartment to getting all my workouts done (and/or bothering to work out at all, depending on the day) to finishing this post.
  • Validation – compliments, y’all. If they come from someone I respect, they really mean something.
  • Humor – making people laugh is the best.

Once I stopped over-analyzing, coming up with that list was pretty simple. Seems to me it’d be similar to one many other people would make. But it’s still kind of nice to know. Y’know?

Uh… the end? I guess I never thought out the conclusion to this post. I don’t get  introspective very often, so it was kind of nice to take some time and think about myself in ways other than “have I lost weight or do I need to wash these pants?”


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