“Have patience with all things but first with yourself. Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being. You’re a perfectly valuable, creative, worthwhile person simply because you exist. And no amount of triumphs or tribulations can ever change that. Unconditional self-acceptance is the core of a peaceful mind.”
St. Francis de Sales
THE SEARCH FOR PERSONAL VALUE
People often search for their personal value in what they accomplish, their relationships, and the wealth and possessions they accumulate. Inevitably, life happens and we don’t accomplish what we want, relationships are strained, and we don’t possess what we’d hoped. Typically, we respond by blaming ourself or others. We are left wondering what we did wrong or why someone would do that to us. Either reaction leaves us dealing with emotion; anger, sadness, fear, disgust, and the like.
Often our emotions overwhelm our logic, reason, and thought, leading to emotional distress. Simply put, logic and emotion can’t exist in the same brain space. So we are forced to regulate those emotions in order to think logically, which is complicated work.
It’s the work of therapy.
Integrating thought and emotion becomes critical in our mental health and emotional wellness. Finding congruence in your life, along with regulating emotion, leads to unconditional self-acceptance, which leads to peace.
Your accomplishments don’t define your value.
Failure is more common than success. Likewise, success requires a significant amount of happenstance, such as knowing the right people or being born into the right family or being in the right place at the right time or not getting caught. Hard work increases your odds, but it is only part of the equation.
Like I was told by a mentor before I went to college, “There will always be someone better than you at anything you do.” Simply put, comparing our accomplishments to others’ suppresses our perceived value of self and is destructive to our well being.
Your relationships don’t define your worth.
Put two people in a room long enough and you will eventually disagree on something. Relationships can be fraught with disagreement, but in our differences we learn more about the world, others, and ourselves. Exploring other perspectives cultivates new thought, ideas, and understanding, leading to wellness.
Our brains are social. Relationships are critical. How we respect and engage others promotes peace as well. However, we are human. Our brains are wired to protect and defend us, which leads to selfishness and emotional disorder. Realistically, we will inevitably offend and hurt others and they will offend and hurt us. Learning to maneuver them is a critical aspect of wellness, but our success in them doesn’t define our worth.
Your wealth and possessions don’t define your significance.
We are often taught the American dream is to accumulate wealth and possessions, which ultimately insinuate power. However, that is not the American dream. The dream is for equal opportunity for everyone to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.
Life, liberty, and happiness promote unconditional self-acceptance. So pursue that which is not material. Along the way, remember…
You are valuable, worthy, and significant simply because you exist.