ruthless compassion (aroraborealis) wrote,
ruthless compassion

From whence self-worth?

kimcob asked in her livejournal:

Where does your sense of self worth come from? within? your job? your roles in life? the money you make? sexual knotches in your belt? your friends? accomplishments? how you change the world? video game scores? what?

I wanted to post my answer here, too, for posterity, and I'm also curious to hear from other folks on this, if it strikes your fancy.

This is an interesting question, and I'm not really sure I know the answer for myself. I like to think that my sense of self-worth isn't tied too closely to any one thing, but rather, that it collects around everything I do. The nice thing about that, if true, would be that no one thing could deliver it a killing blow. And, in some senses, I think that's the case. I may get into a funk for a short while, feeling bad about myself over a tough work day or not getting a longed-for phone call, but that rarely holds over for a long period of time...

Unless, that is, whatever delivered the blow continues to be rough. When that happens, it's not hard to get into a real ditch of self-doubt.

For me, I mostly identify my self worth in liking myself and my choices and the people around me and what they bring to me. I figure I can't be too far off in thinking I'm a nifty person if so many amazingly fantastic people (ie, my friends and family) like to have me around. So, the externals (my people) are a bit of a reality/sanity check on my internal scale, since I know I can't ever be unbiased in how I evaluate myself.

But that doesn't actually say where I get my sense of self worth so much as where I double-check it. I think my sense of self-worth, though, does, to some degree, come from the people around me. If people about whom I think highly seem to think highly of me, that feels good. But I don't think that it's only an external process for me, because (and maybe I just want this to be true) the people around me shift and change, and come and go, and sometimes, as I've learned, someone who has been very close can tell me something very hurtful about myself, and although that's difficult and painful, it doesn't cripple my sense of self-worth.

I'm pretty sure that part of what plays into it is feeling good about my choices, though, and how I'm moving through the world. Am I generally being consciencious about how I treat people, both strangers and people I know? Am I considering my impact, both good and bad, on the world around me? Do I feel defensive about my choices? If so, maybe I should consider why.

And, very broadly, my sense of self worth comes, in large part, in how much time I'm happy to be with myself, whether also with other people or not. If I'm spending a lot of time trying to distract myself from myself, that's a bad sign. This was happening a lot in the months leading up to my decision to flee the country the other year. Sure, even when all is well, I sometimes want a distraction from myself, and one of the things I love about certain interactions with people is that they can switch off my brain in a real vacation-like way, but if that's what I'm seeking all the time, when I'm alone or when I'm with people, that's no good.

I don't know if any of this actually answers your question, but it was interesting to think about, so I'm going to repost my answer in my journal, too. What about you? Where do you get your sense of self worth?
Tags: thinky

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