A lot of the times, I find that we tend to base our happiness, growth or success on quantity. We are obsessed with numbers and we let it determine how we should feel about how good our life is. How many zero's do I have in my salary? How many targets did I hit? How much was I able to spend on nice clothes, nice things or eating at a nice restaurant? How much did I pay for my car? How many likes did I get on Facebook or Instagram? How many people swiped right? The list is endless.
Although these things may accurately represent how fulfilled your life is (bigger the number, the better) I want to implore you to scratch deeper. Lets start with salary or your job. If how much you earn determines your happiness, ask yourself why. Yes we need money to survive in the least, and then lead a comfortable life. Go beyond that reason. Being able to earn a living can give you both security and freedom. Which of the two motivates you? Putting in hard work, utilising your skills and solving problems- all parts of any job, are key things that give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose. What makes you feel content?
Do you know what you get out of, from what you do on a daily basis? Does your title or salary validate your self worth? Take that away, do you still value yourself the same way or has that made you question your worth? If it did not change anything for you, what are those things that you see in yourself that make you unequivocally YOU- who is as important as anyone else in the world? Where is your light coming from? Is it your kind and loving heart, your intelligent and creative mind, your authentic and deeply enriching soul? Is it your meaningful relationships you have cultivated in your life, your impact on the people around you, or merely your amazing resilience and conviction of yourself that allowed you to face any adversity?
Now lets flip the coin on the other side. Do you feel that you are now not as worthy as you were yesterday with your title? How much did you value yourself as A, B or C and how much do you value yourself as YOU? It is normal that we derive our sense of self worth by what we spend most of your days doing- our jobs. If you realise that, that was the only form of validation you allowed yourself to accept, ask yourself- what was, or what is it exactly that you get from it? Why does it matter? Is that all that matters? Surely not. Where else is your validation coming from- is it the people around you, your significant relationships? What is holding you back? What inside of you is dimming your light from shining? Or what outside of you is telling you how much you are worth? And if it is not your absolute best, why are you letting it chain you to the ground when you are meant for the skies?
A few months ago, I quit my job. Oscillating between feelings of freedom, moving on to a new chapter, the excitement of what the future would hold and then the dreaded worry over the uncertainty of the future, feeling stuck and mostly feeling like a failure- it sure brought ups and downs. Regarding my self worth- I begrudgingly discovered that despite having a positive outlook on the lessons learned, the impact (however small) that I made, and the sense of relief that whatever false validation I was giving myself, it was gone- I did feel like a failure and only then, I was able to see all of the fragile branches my self worth was hanging on to.
But in all of that, it brought me space- for me to breath, and for me to stop running from Task A to Task B and just be. It brought me my insecurities that I dusted off in a dark corner, my fears that I hid under the carpet and my sorrow, frustrations, heartbreaks and anger- ones I did not even know that I had within me, and ones that I previously did not allow myself to feel, to accept and to resolve- ones that I simply just moved on from, because that is who I am- forever looking forward, an eternal optimist.
So, why am I writing this post? Have I left my days of optimism behind? Do I now want to make everyone feel less than? Why else would anyone question your happiness, sense of achievement, sense of self worth? Well, there is no particular reason besides me wanting to share what has been on my mind recently. I have been asking a lot of these questions to myself, and many of the answers I find are not what I would want to hear or accept, but I am just beginning to learn (and slowly accept) that what makes me ME is how I truly feel, and not how I wish I felt. I am trying to find my light in this world and what are the things that make my light shine. More importantly, how can I help other lights shine too?
I do not have an answer yet, but one thing I have discovered about what comes closest to making my light shine the brightest and in the process, help light up the others too- is through connecting.
I am making it a purpose of my life- to connect with authenticity, with meaning, with beauty and with kindness.
I am still unsure of what this might look like- what will I be doing on a daily basis? What will my goals be? What will I consider to be an achievement? I do not know but there's a quiet, assuring voice inside of me that is leading me on a path. It is all foggy and I can barely see ahead. I am very slow, and am held back by so much I am still yet to figure out. But I am willing to acknowledge that there is and will always be more to learn, and it will take some time to shed my fears, my perceived identities- and finally embrace my bare, authentic self that I know is abundant with love and warmth.
This is my first step in my journey to connect with you. If you have read this far, start your own personal journey and join me alongside mine. I implore you to explore all the facets of who you are, why you are the way you are. Lets connect fully, and deeply!