This post is part of the Weeks of Self Blog Series. For more information about the other posts and contributors, go here (after you read, though.)
I used to be a really good school teacher. Okay, maybe a great one, but after 9 years of teaching it was no longer enough. I wanted more.
So, I took the next logical step and spent a year enrolled in an educational leadership program so that I could become a school principal.
Shortly after I began my first job as an assistant principal, I found that I didn’t love it. Again, I was good at it, but I didn’t love it. I wasn’t inspired. I wasn’t happy with the hours. I wasn’t happy with the paperwork. I wasn’t happy with the bureaucracy. I wasn’t happy with the power plays of my bosses.
But, I was afraid to leave--afraid to quit.
It wasn’t just about what people would think or say.
It was about what it would mean.
Without the title, without the salary, what would I have? Who would I be?
My self-worth got so caught up in the “haves”, that I suffered.
Finally, the pain of staying got to be more than the pain of leaving. In my third year, I quit. I didn’t even finish out the school year.
I was unemployed. I was a quitter. I was a selfish, irresponsible, mean-spirited quitter. I had let people down--not just the adults, but the children too. What kind of person does that?
I felt worthless, and thought I was.
Or, so, I thought.
Over time--lots and lots of time, I came to understand that my self-worth wasn’t actually tied to my title, or my salary, or my degrees. And, it wasn’t tied to the approval of others either.
Self-worth isn’t earned, it is given. Given to you at birth.
Unfortunately, our society has conditioned us to think differently. Starting with stickers and smiley faces, then grades and test-scores, then university names and degrees, and finally titles and salaries.
We have been given the message that our self-worth is tied to what we accomplish and what people say about us, not to who we are.
I am here to tell you differently.
You are worthy. You are enough. No matter what you have earned, or how people treat you, you are worthy. Worthy of love and compassion. Worthy of respect. Worthy of being listened to. Worthy of anything and everything you desire.
As my fellow coach, Amy Smith says, “Self-worth is not bestowed. It’s not granted. It’s a choice. There is no self-worth store you can swing by and see if you qualify. You and you alone make that choice.”
Stop looking for self-worth around the corner, or in people’s praise, or in another title or degree. You already have it, just let it shine.
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.