I have a baby nephew who recently turned one. He has beautiful, big, brown eyes; Gerber baby lips; luscious rolls of baby fat; and a sweet, sweet disposition. To say that I would do anything for him is an understatement. After all, he’s worth it.
Isn’t it curious that we all started out just like that – perfect babies, full of potential and individual greatness – yet, self-esteem and self-worth are undeniable concerns in our culture and society?
And in spite of the increase in concern for mental health issues, we are often too busy to slow down and figure out what may be at the root of our problems. In our fast-paced world where there’s money to be made and no time to waste, it may seem irrelevant or superfluous to be reflecting on self-esteem and self-worth. But, if the bottom line is what matters, can an unhappy person make the right decisions?
Of course, there are plenty of people with advice, information and options to quell our anxiety. But although there are often flashes of inspiration from the self-help industry and the easily accessible media – TEDx Talks, list articles and YouTube videos – do they ultimately lead to inner peace? Should we also be looking within?
“No one will ever pay you what you are worth.
They will only pay you what they think you are worth.
And you control their thinking.”
~ Casey Brown (TED Talk)
Earlier this year, I was a bit obsessed with Meghan Markle. For some reason, I loved looking at her pictures. There was something about her; something beyond her appearance that I found attractive. Even enviable.
And like many people who paid attention to the details of her engagement to Prince Harry and the controversy regarding her father, I too thought about her “story” – her biracial background, her parents, her former marriage, her acting career – and wondered, “Is she worthy enough to be a “princess?”
Everyone is trying to prove themselves – to their boss; to their parents; to their spouse; to their social media followers. We spend too much of our lives trying to please and trying to impress others. Why do we give other people so much power? Why do we allow others to determine whether we are good enough?
In the end, Meghan Markle didn’t really care what I or anyone else thought. And to her credit, the loud, incessant chatter from the insignificant voices in the media and online didn’t influence her. She was in control of her own thoughts.
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.
It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
~ Albert Einstein
And, I think that’s the reason I was attracted to her. She exuded confidence. I want her confidence. How many times have I let my past experiences, self-pity or habit, control my perspective? Do I see mistakes or learning opportunities? If my child accidentally spills the milk, do I focus on the mistake, or simply wipe it up and move on? That simple, mundane occurrence which happened in our kitchen last Monday morning, was actually the one incident that gave me great insight into how we might have all lost the amazing confidence, unrelenting determination and desire to persist, all of which we had at birth.
Does my focus on the spilled milk, affect how my kids see mistakes – as huge and awful? Or, easy to manage? Without minimizing the importance of responsible behaviour, but consciously encouraging a mindset where mistakes aren’t bad and will happen, children learn to pick themselves up and move on. Ultimately they grow.
A few weeks before his first birthday, my nephew started taking his first steps. He’s not running yet; still just taking his time. He’s trying to steady himself. He falls down a lot. Every time, he gets back up.
He is perfect.