How do you feel
about yourself? Being locked down under lock and key caused us all, I hope, to
really take the time to reflect on who we really are. How did you measure up to
your own expectations of yourself, when so much of your freedom has been taken
away so suddenly? Did you fall short of your expectations? Has your self-esteem
been affected? How is your bank balance faring?
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”
So much marketing
sends the message that beauty comes with a particular “look”. If you don't meet
those “requirements”, then you simply are not beautiful. This play on our minds,
particularly women, can be extremely damaging to the way you view yourself; from
your weight, to your complexion to the size of your “assets”, to aging. This can
cause many women to have serious insecurities that can lead to health
challenges as they battle with one aspect or the other, of their bodies.
good looking comes with advantages but if your self-worth depends only on your
looks, you are in for a challenging time as you change through ageing or
otherwise. Physical appearance can be fleeting; it is the content on the inside
that is timeless.
Self-worth versus net-worth
is an external measure of how much we are worth in financial terms, while
self-worth is an internal measure of how much one values oneself. In our
society, there is a tendency to attach self worth and other people’s approval to
material things and shows of ostentation. The truth is that those that measure
their self-worth by their net-worth never really feel valuable. It is never
enough. Many people live beyond their means in an attempt to feel good about
themselves. Getting into debt just to keep up appearances seldom ends well. All
the goods and possessions that you possess just don't reflect who you truly
The dangers of materialism
society that celebrates a person’s worth based on his or her financial assets,
connections and influence is materialistic as it builds social strata based on
material things. When people are “encouraged” to amass and cling to
possessions, when our pursuit is on making profit, pursuing pleasure, and
obtaining position, it leaves little energy, time, and ability to focus on our
real purpose and the things that really matter.
societies rate individuals not on personal character and achievement, but
rather on the fantastic display that they are able to put on, and other extreme
shows of ostentation. In Nigeria, a societal value system has evolved where
material fortune is more widely celebrated than diligence,
honesty, honour and integrity; these virtues are seldom accorded the respect
they do deserve.
materialism becomes endemic and a society equates self-worth with net-worth, with
far too much emphasis placed on money, power, position and possessions, and
acknowledges and celebrates wealth without questioning its source, there is a
tendency for people to go to extremes in order to increase their net-worth at
all costs and by any means possible leading to dishonesty and corruption.
people compete to build the trappings of wealth and put these on display, the
seeds of corruption are sown. Greed and the insatiable love for materialism are
at the root of bribery and corruption, which have eaten deep into the marrow of
our society. The endless desire of all strata of society, both rich and poor,
for possessions, inevitably leads to moral decadence.
Some people can’t
complete a sentence without name-dropping. It gives a sense of worth that they
know “someone” as they think it comes with admiration from others. Does a long
list of “contacts” that people would die for, or a non-stop social calendar, make
you feel important?
It is dangerous
to base your worthiness on other people’s success. We must all dig deep and
work on ourselves and appreciate ourselves for who we are. If there is one
positive that has come from the dramatic change in our lives and lifestyles at
this time, it should be that it has helped us address some of those questions
around what truly matters. It is the small wins, relationships and seemingly
smaller moments that matter and make one feel fulfilled.
Who are you beyond the fancy job-title?
What do you do? Your
job title is another
area to watch. We often base our
self-worth on a job title. “Communications Director”, “Executive Director,
Finance”, “I’m an investment banker”, “I’m an attorney in a leading oil company”.
Don't let your job define you; don't let your job title consume you and forget
who you really are.
Basing your self-worth on a title comes with huge risk to
your psyche; when you shed the title, it could be hard to adjust. A pandemic, a recession causing a sudden
shift in the job market, or a major health concern can end your career in the
twinkling of an eye and lead to an identity crisis.
Look at who you are without the fancy titles and learn to be
comfortable with that. Does your self-worth
come from your job and all its perks, your money, your position in government or
in the private sector and the attendant trappings, or your position in
It is natural to
feel good about your achievements and accomplishments, but don't base your self-worth
and self-esteem on this or you will be constantly chasing “success” and never
stop to live. Many successes give you a
temporary lift and then you are racing on to the next thing. What really
matters to you at your core? It is your sense of values and ethos that will
give you that life of meaning and purpose.
Why is self-worth important?
Have you ever thought of how you measure yourself? Reflect on whether
you have measured yourself through your looks, your job, your money, your
position, or your possessions. Life is not about looking beautiful or accumulating
wealth and possessions, because in the end, you cannot take them away with
you. We often feel a false sense of security by having a large net worth
or more wealth than our neighbor.
Net-worth and fortunes can
change dramatically; wealth can be transient. Our lives and livelihoods can
change in an instant. Wealth is nice to have, and can and does bring pleasure,
but it is important to keep it in perspective. In order to
develop a sense of well-being beyond material success and its outward trappings,
an internal appraisal is necessary; a strong sense of
self-worth is the key to true contentment and lasting fulfillment.