Thursday, February 23, 2012

Research: Finding Personal Value

I am on a quest to understand personal value. I've searched online and one of the first sites I found lists 7 stages to understanding and uncovering our personal value. Here are my notes from reading these 7 stages, along with some of my own personal thoughts and interjections.

"Self-Awareness"
  • How do you see the world and, more importantly, how does your presence impact the world? (Huh. I thought I was self aware but I never thought of this second side of things - how we impact the world.)
  • Do not judge your impact. There is no reason to minimize your impact or fear your own impact on others. There's a great quote about this by Marianne Williamson:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
  • Some people don't even know that they have an impact on others and the world around them! (Gosh those people are irritating!)
  • Do you know how you're viewed and why? If people's perception of you matches the impact you are trying to make, you are being authentic.
  • Accept your ability to make an impact, be amazed by it and then learn how to develop it and direct it in ways that you want.
  • "Your very existence is changing the world. That is valuable," says the website.

"Self-Worth"
  • We are worthy because we have come into being. This connection to Creation is what makes us worthy. Not our good or bad actions. Not our good or bad qualities. (Those of course are judgements made by man.) We come into this world 100% worthy and nothing can change that. A diamond is still a diamond even if it is dirty and caked with mud.
  • (A little voice inside my head is calling out "We're not worthy!" like Mike Myres and  Dana Carvey in Wayne's World...)
  • When we oppress our feelings or deny, ignore or judge our emotions, we cover up the light or energy connecting us to Creation. 
  • Self-worth is a foundation, a solid core. It is the strength to take on life's lessons and challenges and the knowledge that we deserve life's gifts.
  • Marianne Williamson also has an interesting quote from a post called Feminine 2.0 on her blog:
"Women should be the keepers of the conscience of the world. We are keepers of the internal flame - the light of humanitarian values and the primacy of love - and our greatest power lies in keeping it lit." 
"Self-Esteem"
  • Seek out and earn self esteem - not from posessions, other people or good deeds done, but from love earned from oneself.
  • Self esteem is the evaluation you make about yourself. The story you tell about yourself. Arlene Dickinson from the CBC's Dragon's Den writes in her book Persuasion:
"...take a hard look at your own narrative. Think about how you'd tell your life story to a Hollywood producer, how you'd explain the highs and lows. Have you cast yourself as a victim of circumstance? If so, maybe your story could use a rewrite, starting with a lead character who has choices-and sometimes makes the wrong ones."
  • The site also suggests that self esteem requires honesty with ourselves; clarity of thoughts and feelings about our life. (What is my story?)
  • We also need to understand our responsibility (Are we willing and able to respond.) What CAN we be responsible for?
  • I also think that for perfectionists, we need a degree of compassion here. Be honest with ourselves but not overly critical. We are not responsible for everything. One website on Self Esteem suggests that healthy self esteem is "having a balanced, accurate view of yourself."
"With healthy [Self Esteem] you are confident and think positively about your strengths, abilities, accomplishments and physical appearance. You like and respect yourself despite your faults but also don't overvalue your strengths. You recognize your basic worth as an individual yet don't think you're better or worse than others."
  • Finally we need to be able to trust ourselves:
"Can you rely on yourself? Are you in your own corner? That's what trust is all about. Knowing that whatever life throws at you, you will deal with it. Maybe not as elegantly as you would have liked. Maybe not as easily as someone else. That's okay. Trust is knowing you can cope."

It seems to me that these 7 things are like optimism - learning about them and incorporating them into our lives happens organically. Being optimistic and having healthy self esteem fluctuates with life and our experiences. Sometimes we are optimistic and have healthy self esteem. During those times we have a strength about those ideas in us. We eminate those values. Other times however, we need to lean on others because we have briefly forgotten these values or have just gotten temporarily lost or bogged down with life's lessons. But if we take care to exercise these values and keep them in our lives like we know to properly exercise our bodies we will stand a better chance at weathering the storms around us.

More on the following in future posts:
"Self-Love"
"Self-Confidence"
"Self-Respect"
"Self-Realization"

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