Have you ever wondered about who you are, what potentials you have deposited in you and how you can harness them? Have you found yourself asking how you can carve your niche of comfort in a society saturated with demands and expectations? If so, what responses do you give when these questions pop up? What choice of words do you use in describing your answers? Do you consciously or unconsciously belittle your person whether in front of your mirror or in the presence of an audience? Do you find it challenging to point out your abilities in a positive light and would rather dwell more on the not-so-perfect aspects of you? Do you thrive on the excitement derived from the perspectives of others about you but in closed doors, you know that is not who you really are? Do you depend on others to motivate you or you are self-motivated?
In a world where social media is fast becoming a panel for evaluating “the person” in the society, self-identity crisis is a huge matter of concern that requires adequate attention. The interplay between self-identity, self-worth, self-appreciation and self-worship cannot be overlooked in human interpersonal relations. Self-identity which means the recognition of one’s potential and qualities as an individual, in relation to social context is a continuous pursuit in human existence. Your perception of your identity influences the presentation of your self-image. The society has its ideals and norms that it saddles individuals with and if you allow every single decision to be driven by what the society requires of you, you can be at the risk of underutilizing potentials and getting shut in the wardrobe of the society’s definition of you. Who are you and what do you stand for? In spite of the pressure, knowing your identity plays a huge role in imbibing the culture of self-worth.
Self-worth is that confidence you inspire in your own abilities. Putting this in perspective, it can be termed self-respect, self-esteem, your personal value, your dignity, your honour or your self-confidence. Importing the English Thesaurus is expedient at this point to avoid a misuse of the term. If you know your worth and believe earnestly in it, you do not need validation from others or anyone to feel good about yourself or take those bold steps in a bid to pursue your goals. This is a mental concept and worthy of note is that the mind is keen on playing games with you – the tussle between the conscious and the subconscious. Do not let yourself be plunged into the likes and followers syndrome and the realm of social media delusion. The number of likes you get on Instagram and the followers on your profile should not be a determinant of your value or worth. Simply be yourself and move at your own pace. Self-worth is your judgment of your own self and this particular judgment is all that matters. Do not install yourself on the seat of mediocrity by judging yourself based on the standards of others, or judging yourself before giving you the chance to do exploits. This dents your self-worth. A farmer does not underestimate the potential of the seeds before the yield gets the chance to flourish, he nurtures the seedlings and guards them jealously. This is what you should do to your self-value. Know your worth and stand for it!
Nonetheless, acknowledging and nurturing your self-worth engenders self-appreciation. Self-appreciation should not be mistaken for self-worship. Self-appreciation is an inward projection of kindness demonstrated towards others and to yourself. On the other hand, self-worship is an act of exhibitionism; an extravagant admiration for or devotion to oneself. Practising the culture of self-appreciation does not mean that you need to stop being kind to the human race or stop being nice to friends, family or acquaintances as needed. This means expressing gratitude for who you are and what you are at every stage of your life; understanding that it took your actual being a lot of courage and strength to function through all of your life’s journies to the point you have currently found yourself. In Andre Gide’s words, “loving yourself isn’t vanity, it is sanity”. By extension of Gide’s words, self-worship seems to be the onset of the journey to insanity.
The confused interpretation of self-appreciation and self-worship has caused certain people to avoid exercising self-appreciation and in the process, they have stripped themselves of their self-worth. Taking this a step further, understanding the importance of your self-worth and cherishing it is a sine qua non for earning respect, respecting others, and even respecting God. If you cannot practice the culture of self-worth, how do you truly understand and cherish worshipping God? The crux of this matter of concern lies here. Self-worth and self-respect are to humans (you and people), while Worship in its pure and undiluted form is to God. Your service as God’s creation is to worship Him not yourself. Avoid engaging in self-worship which could be the port of entry to the realm of narcissism; which is of the flesh not of the Spirit.
Irrespective of your flaws and imperfections, understanding that life is in seasons and uneasy circumstances are temporal events is vital. Being faced by an unplanned circumstance or things not working as you planned them is not an excuse for you to render your value vulnerable to be diminished. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his words advises the human race that “we must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God”. Hence, no matter the situation, learn to love and care for that person in the mirror – You.
Ponder on the words of Sahaj Kohli, “the fact that someone else loves you doesn’t rescue you from the project of loving yourself”…take a brief moment of introspection and ask these questions; How do you defend what you stand for and how do you live it on a daily basis? Remember, if you do not love yourself, you cannot keep your self-worth secure and if you do not love God, it is impossible to love yourself like you truly should.
Whenever you are tempted to look down on You; even if your best is yet to be actualized, always tell yourself You are the best version of You, while you intentionally work towards breaking those grounds of excellence.