Self-Worth is Who You are as a Person

Self-Worth is Who You are as a Person

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

In a previous article, I discussed the relationship between happiness and personal satisfaction. Personal satisfaction is related to our sense of well-being and who we are, where we had been and where we are going. Lack of acceptance of our reality can foster toxic dissatisfaction.

So, who are you? Are you someone who has a spiritual-, psychological- and a physical self? Of course you are!

In the spiritual and the psychological realms, you can become whatever you want to become. You can transcend any heights and surmount any obstacles in the path of your spiritual and emotional development. In the physical self, however, you can improve only on some of the aspects, but others you must accept.

It is possible to have a sense of physical well-being and good health in spite of the body not feeling all that great. In case of a serious and chronic illness or handicap, acceptance of "as is" is critical in order to focus on accommodations (of the limitations) and improvement.

Life is more about climbing heights and jumping hurdles than about staging a walk in front of an audience. Yet, a lot of people believe and act as if they are on display. Their central inquiry is about "How do I look?" rather than "what am I like as a person?"

Personal satisfaction to some extent is related to the satisfaction with the body. The extent to which you let the body satisfaction influence your overall satisfaction is up to you.

For a balanced perspective, we should perhaps view ourselves ninety percent spiritual and psychological beings, and ten percent physical beings. Bodies decay and develop problems, as we grow older. Therefore, it makes sense to assign larger percentage to the nonphysical aspect of our existence. However some people put these percentages the other way around. They act as if they are one hundred percent body and nothing else!

As a result, enormous anxiety and depression could build up around physical appearance, size and weight. There are people who are afraid and disgusted with their bodies. Some even kill themselves in the process of changing their bodies by starvation, over exercise, surgery, drugs or synthetic hormones and all because they can't stand the sight of their body.

You don't lose your motivation for self-improvement when you appreciate and feel grateful for what you have (or don't have). You can still work diligently and persistently on self-improvement. In fact, you are likely to progress faster and overcome the obstacles with an attitude of acceptance and gratitude.

People, who don't believe that progress is possible without being self-critical and discontented, will notice a difference in the progress if they just try for a few months to feel appreciation and gratitude for what they have.

So, if you are one of those who think their face is too long (or too round), their belly is sticking out, thighs too fat or thin, breasts too large or small, you should try admiring yourself in front of the mirror instead of always feeling apologetic.

Changing the focus of the attention works better towards the goal of improvement. For example, if you are unhappy with your weight or some other aspect of your body, find other activities and interests that can bring you joy. Discover for yourself how enjoyable life can be without focusing on how frustrated or disgusted you are with some aspects of yourself.

So, change the focus of your attention if it has become an obsession and still be disciplined to work diligently and persistently towards self-improvement. Who says that you have to be disgusted with yourself in order to exercise, eat better and work harder?

As the focus of negative attention should change, so should the toxic meaning of certain distorted values. For example, food should be for the purpose of nurturance. If you have a love-hate relationship with food, you must change it. The sole purpose of food is to nourish the body, mind and the soul. Is it serving that purpose right now?

Beauty truly lies in what we create and what we offer to others. If that is the case, know that you are beautiful. Okay, so you have people around you who think that physical attraction is all that there is to beauty. It doesn't matter. What matters most is what you believe.

True freedom also involves freeing yourself from the tyranny of such negative emotions as guilt, self-criticism and self-dissatisfaction. Don't give too much power to the things you can't change.

Find your self-worth in who you are; not in how you look.

Return to Self Help 

Copyright 2002, Mind Publications 
Posted November 2002


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