If I asked you to list five things or people you value and love; how would you respond? The typical answers include close family members, pets, hobbies, precious items, money or a recent experience. The one thing many people forget or leave off the list is themselves. I started asking this question after I had my own ah-ha moment a few years ago. I was recovering from a car accident and I spent every waking minute trying to heal.
It was the first time in my life I put my own needs first. I was unbelievably uncomfortable knowing at the end of the day the only thing I did was care for my broken body. Over time I significantly devalued my self-worth because I felt I was useless to the world and sometimes I would feel valueless to myself.
Check Your Preconceived Notions
I could not grasp I was a steady client for medical professionals and their staff, my lawyer and his staff, and alternative health providers. I helped contribute to their paycheck and I challenged them to think-out-side-the-box and learn new techniques. Some of them have changed the way they practice because of what they learned from me. I was incredibly valuable to them, but what I gave them was vastly different than the impact I was used to creating and I failed to accept my worth to them at that time.
Why did putting myself first on the list cause such feelings? It was perplexing as I explored how it could change. I did gratitude exercises and took educational classes. Then I tried to volunteer. I celebrated my recovery achievements. It was one continual experiment to see myself in a better light, but it was not changing my situation.
Accomplishing Is Not The Only Game In Town
Unfortunately, in many nations like the United States and Canada, the culture highly regards accomplishments and achievements. Thus, when I am not striving for or accomplishing note-worthy goals and objectives then I perceive my value as less than others. Although I understand my thinking is flawed, I still feel this way. My value should be based on the assessment others have of me and not the sense of merit I place on myself.
For example, if I am the first person to respond to an emergency, like a car accident, and I provide the assistance the injured need; they will see me as treasure. Their evaluation of me has nothing to do with the money I have in the bank or what I have done or not done over the last few hours, days, or years. It also has nothing to do with my assessment of my contributions to the event. Furthermore, a value can have an accumulation element.
Friendships I made in high school are typically deeper than the relationships I made with people I met yesterday. Developing this kind of history can increase their significance for them to me, but they don’t necessarily bring feelings of increase worth to me. The dilemma remained for me. How do I feel valued and put myself first on my list?
Through this process, I learned my life’s worth did not come from the benefits I provided to others on any one given day. Certainly, it is possible to make a big impact in a single day such as assisting during an emergency, but if I didn’t influence others on a specific day, it didn’t mean I was worthless.
Become Your Own Best Asset
After all of this time experimenting and asking others, I determined it comes down to one simple thing. Choose to be the best resource to yourself and to others. The old saying is true, you cannot pour from an empty cup. First, you must fill it and then it will be an amazing resource for others. Always, put yourself first on your list. Become the best asset only you can be. It might be a long road and it might feel like it will never happen, but you must choose to trust the process.
As you are on this journey of life, may you understand your worth takes a lifetime to develop. It starts with loving and caring for yourself. #ChoosetoBeFirst
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