Oops! I Did It Again
Yesterday we discussed self-worth versus self-esteem. Some people are still a little confused. After all, we are told that having good self-esteem is great. A few think I am fiddling with semantics. First, thank you for reading, and secondly a huge thank you for commenting.
Who had a perfect day today? I mean, not only did everything go perfectly, you did everything perfectly. In fact, the day exceeded your wildest expectations, right? Well ….. I had a pretty good day. First of all, I’m still alive at the end of it so – Yea! My two meetings went well; the objectives for both meetings were met. I got my shopping done but…I did spend a little more than I had planned. Tonight it began to rain, just as I was taking out the trash and yes, I did get wet.
My day was good but no, it was not perfect. Very few of us have perfect days. In fact, the average person describes less than one third of their year as very good and the statistic for perfect days nonexistent. The server goes down; someone scratches our car opening their car door; traffic delays us; the weather prevents our outdoor plans. The list of things that go wrong and still qualify as good days is endless. Life happens.
When we base our sense of self, our value as a human being on external happenings, then we run the risk of having low self-esteem. When we do a self-inventory and recognize our strengths and contributions, then we increase our self-worth.
We should and need to feel good about ourselves. Exercising, eating healthy, contributing to charities are all ways in which we feel good about ourselves. What happens, though, when we can no longer afford to contribute monetarily because we had a pay cut? What happens when the fresh vegetables are no longer in season and we start eating more fast food and gain a few pounds? What happens when we get snowed in and cannot go running outside or break our ankle and cannot exercise at all? What happens to our good feeling and self-esteem then?
When we base our sense of self on external things, most of which we have absolutely no control over, we give up our personal power. The person who has worked hard all their life and bought a big house and fancy car might base their self-esteem on those material possessions. When the economy adversely affects them and they have to down-size, their self-esteem takes a hit as well as their bank account. There is nothing wrong with having those things if obtained legally. However, when the foundation of our sense of self is based on them, we will feel worthless when we no longer have them. Instead, we need to value the hard working ethic that “bought” them. We need to recognize that we can still use that to our advantage.
Psychologist Dr. Christina Hibbert explains the problem with relying on self-esteem alone: “Self-esteem techniques can and do help, but only if there’s already a foundation of self-worth.” Our skills and talents are not lost because the economy has taken a downturn. Our potential is still there. We all make mistakes. Learning from them turns those mistakes into opportunities. Your potential is there, just waiting for you to discover it.
Writer George Bernard Shaw once said: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” So tomorrow might not be a perfect day. It might just be one of those “Oops! I did it again” kind of days. Don’t let it take away your belief in tomorrow.
Famed southern novelist William Faulkner had some great advice on developing self-worth and improving self-esteem: “Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”