Everyone wants to be liked and loved. Everyone likes to hear praise from people they admire and respect. But there’s a big difference between wanting and enjoying the love and admiration of others and needing it to feel worthy. If you can only feel good about yourself when you have an incoming stream of affection and love and don’t feel happy or confident if that stream slows or stops, then you need to reflect on your sense of worthiness. The trick with developing self-worth is that, ideally, you won’t have a time when you don’t feel loved or that you’re not getting praise, so it can be hard to determine where your sense of worth is coming from. Adding to this opacity is the fact that love and admiration are good. In general, they do suggest that you are a valuable person, and they feel good to receive. So, understanding the foundations of your sense of worth can be challenging. The key is the difference between want and need—the difference between independence and dependence.
Some people, as they move through life, begin to feel out of touch. It may start with the interests of younger people—music, apps, gadgets, etc.—and extends to a general feeling of being left behind. But it’s all a matter of perspective.
As you get further down your path, you should feel more and more confident, and increasingly trust your judgement based on your experiences. It’s not necessary to like, or even be aware of, every new trend. You should remain open to new ideas or experiences, but should not worry about those that don’t interest you—don’t think that you’ve become irrelevant just because you’re not engaged in the latest rage. Develop a balance between what’s known and comfortable and what’s new and different. And trust yourself to know what you like.
It’s possible to go through life without really putting your own stamp on what you do. You can go through the motions, do what is asked of you, check all the right boxes, but still not find an outlet that allows you to express yourself. It’s also true that you can live what appears to be an ordinary life, and through your personality and interaction, or your vision for the path forward, you can make it part of you, and in doing so, make your life a little less ordinary. This isn’t complicated, but it always involves a leap of faith—you have to take a chance and make yourself vulnerable. The risks that you take—the risk of failure, of opening yourself up to criticism or ridicule, of opening your heart and soul to the world—are all worth it, as the rewards are substantial. You’ll gain a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that could not have come as a result of less personal achievements. We are all here to share who we are—don’t lose out on putting your own stamp on the world.
Just be yourself.
This is advice we may get when we are children. It implies that if you just be yourself, people will see that you’re genuine and will like you. Parents often offer related encouragement, like “You’re a great person” or “You’re really funny.” But the main point is that you should be yourself regardless of your admirable qualities because ultimately, you can’t successfully be anyone you’re not.
When we’re born, we are truly ourselves. There is no purer version of ourselves we can be. When we’re tired, hungry, scared, angry, or happy, there is no filter between those feelings and our identity. When children grow up, they may start to experiment with different identities and personas. They notice the personalities of their friends, siblings, and parents and start to mimic some of their personality traits. As many people continue to grow up, gain confidence, and become comfortable in their own skin, they are able to truly understand themselves and who they are and embrace their identity.
How much time do you spend trying to make other people happy? Most of us spend a lot of time working to fulfill a need or being responsive to the requirements of our various roles. This can be good, healthy, and normal, but it can also be very unhealthy if we do it to the […]