Finding Your True Self Worth

self portrait IWhen I was younger, I tied most of my “self-worth” to how others viewed me. Again, this is probably pretty commonplace, but I’m starting to think most of us lie to ourselves as “mature adults” by saying that we outgrew that phase in our lives. Have you? Are you sure?

The thing is that there’s no resolution from the outside. Having a lot of time on your hands, without many obligations, allows for interesting things to happen. Some days, I have found myself cycling through all kinds of energy – from painful loneliness to an amazing sense of connection – all in a matter of hours.

It’s funny. When I started writing this post, I did feel down. Now, I don’t at all. Yesterday evening, I felt discouraged by how many unfinished or unsettled issues are alive in my life right now, and then stepped out of my apartment, saw a gorgeous sunset, and all of that disappeared.

Life is an unfinished story. This is something else I’m seeing more and more. An old girlfriend, who lives a block away from me, and who slowly backed out of my life over a period of six months three years ago, suddenly reappeared for a few days in my e-mail in-box. I had figured our particular story was closed at “and now she lives down the street from me in silence.” But that didn’t turn out to be the case, and even if I now never hear from her again, which is fairly possible, what I thought was an ending turned out not to be.

Past lives. It seems to me that anything past is a past life. And yet, even those who have definitely gone from my life, like the dead, aren’t completely past. Yesterday, my father sent me a quote from my grandfather, joking that it would make a good t-shirt slogan. Grandpa used to say “Life’s great if you don’t weaken!”

Given how he went, several years of disappearing from the world through Alzheimer’s, his words seem pretty damned true. And this little fragment, among others, is still with me as I write this now. He’s gone, but also not. That’s how life is, flickering alive moment after moment.

Which is why your true self worth can’t be found outside yourself. It’s only through tapping deep within that you can find something stable to stand your life on.

Photo Credit:

self portrait I by Jason OX4 via Flickr Creative Commons. Some rights reserved.

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  1. avatar says

    Hi Nathan,

    I’ve experienced being in one frame of mind as I begin writing, only to write a line that causes me to reverse course mid-stream. Our brains are craft that way.

    I’ve learned that past relationships — good are bad — often are never really over, especially in the tech age where we can be easily found with just a few clicks. Over the last year, I’ve been contacted by four people who I thought that I would never hear from again. I like the “unfinished story” view of life that you frame. It fits. We may try to assign our basic human need to be understood to our immature pasts, but we’d only be lying to ourselves.

    • avatarNathan says

      Hi Ray. Thank you for the comments. I hear you about the one or two click away experience. It’s amazing how many people I have reconnected with in some for or another over the past 6 or 7 years, since I have started blogging and being more active online. Even if I want to write endings to relationships, I’ve realized it’s pointless. They run their own course.

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