How do you determine your self-worth? Many people fall into the trap of using an unreliable gauge to evaluate their self-worth, myself included. Whether it is determining your self-worth based on your social following, or people you surround yourself with, relationships you make and the ones you can’t keep. Many people find self-assurance in what they do for a living, how much money they make and the material goods and possessions they have. Others may base their entire self-worth on how they look, and how flat their belly may be. At first when I asked myself this question, I was not happy with my answer.
“There is no way to happiness – happiness is the way.” -The Buddha
Would you agree that happiness goes hand in hand with self-worth? Usually when a person is happy, they feel worthy of love, affection and have strong self-esteem. The average person’s mind typically believes “When I get what I want, I will be happy.” After taking a step back, the truth really is – When you stop wanting, then you are happy. How can this be? It just is! It seems so simple, and easy from this point of view. Why do we desire external fulfillment to feel strong self-worth? Clinging to fulfillment from this material world when really all we need to do is look within?
Don’t get me wrong… achieving a long-term goal, buying a house or car and falling in love does feel great, awesome and uplifting! Phenomenal moments in life feel great but, attaching your self-worth in-line with these moments is flawed. It is a never ending, disappointing mirage that you will unfortunately not be able to find true lasting happiness in. After you loose five pounds, it feels great for a moment. You are not anticipating the future or dwelling on the past. For a moment, you are happy from fulfilling that desire. Before you know it your mind is on to the next desire, and you often time forget about those five pounds you achieved. Your self-worth does not come from having a flat belly, it comes from within.
Pleasure comes from getting what you want, a feeling of short-lived fulfillment. If we seek fulfillment from these fleeting pleasures in life they are nice for a few moments, but it doesn’t last forever. I couldn’t be more guilty of this. For example, when you know you are getting together for dinner with all of your girlfriends and you want to buy a new outfit. If I am wearing a new cute top from Anthropolgie, then I will be confident, sexy and happy. Eventually, the happiness will go away, and then.. you are left wanting more. If our self-worth is attached to our fulfillment in pleasure we will be stuck in a constant emotional swing of happiness. True happiness comes from within, that is permanent and doesn’t fade.