Learn to Value Yourself

You are the most important person in all of human history.

That isn’t a hyperbole used for the sake of using a hyperbole. Consider for a moment who can be you right now. No one. You are the only you there is. And yes, I already know ‘you’ is going to be overused in this posting and I’m slowly coming to grips with it. Why are you so important? Only you have your experiences, your ideas, your perspective on the world.

If you are like me, you find yourself struggling with self-esteem issues from time to time (if not always). I have a tendency to be what I’ve lovingly called a ‘hyper-realist’. I desperately want there to be a universal absolute reality – one yardstick by which everything is measured. I want the world quantified and put into nice, neat containers with clear, easy-to-read labels.   Maybe a reference picture or two, but that isn’t directly necessary. The little packet of potpourri is also optional. My convoluted point is I am one of those people who doesn’t know his self-worth. I rely upon outside factors to determine it for me. Society gives us so many nifty numbers that seem objective by which we can measure ourselves. We can measure our wealth, our debts, the number of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, our age, the length of our relationships, our weight, the amount we give to charity, the miles we travel, the minutes we talk on the phone, the number of children we have, and the number of miles we jog. So many factors, some I can control, some I can’t, all of which feel like they should add up in some way to definitive measurement of my self-worth. Yet, they don’t. They really don’t. The more I lean on one number or another for my sense of self-worth, the more my self-esteem relies on the random happenstances of the universe.

Honestly, as much as I don’t consider myself to be materialistic, I really look at how much money I am making as a gauge of my self-worth. Other people value me at this rate of pay, so that is what I am worth. It is market dynamics in play. And then I get laid off and suddenly I have no value at all. Or I get a temp job at $10/hour and that’s all I’m worth and it is so much less than what I was worth before that I feel like I’m on a clearance rack at the thrift store. Using ‘market forces’ to measure self-worth is stupid and misguided. Wages and salaries only measure such a tiny part of who we actually are that trying to use it to measure our entire person is like measuring the size of your backyard and making a guess as to the size of the world.

Your self-worth needs to come from inside you. You are the only yardstick that matters. See, how I looped this back around to the beginning and why you are so important? You measure you using yourself. No one else can assign a value to you because no one else knows you like you do. I warned you that a certain word would be repeated a lot.

What I am actually writing is a message to myself in response to something I wrote in my private journal which I’m going to share with you right now.

In an anthropological sense, if a member of a society isn’t doing anything that society sees as being worthwhile, that member might as well not exist. I know this isn’t exactly true, but it feels like it. I want to date, but I feel like I can’t because honestly, who wants to get involved with a 40-year-old unemployed man? That sounds like a recipe for failure.

I always try to gin up my personal issues as if they were part of some scientific study, thus making them more valid somehow. I wrote that and then reread it and had a bizarre out-of-body experience as if I was reading this from someone else. I had an immediate response to it, this blog post is that response. If a loved one of mine said this, I’d want to reach inside their heads and turn that dial to a better station.

Whose labels are we using to define ourselves? By whose standards are we living our lives and why did we give all these strangers any amount of power over us? You are important and vital. I am important and vital. People will judge us and define us any way they want, we can’t control that. Our sense of who we are should never be part of the market forces (the same market forces that caused the housing bubble).

You are awesome because you are you.

Published by Sean D. Francis

Sean D. Francis is a technologist, writer, and geek. He podcasts, makes video, and dabbles in all the geeky genres including horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.