The pursuit of worthyness
I cried today. I asked a stupid question in class and so I came back home and cried. Then I watched a stupid romantic comedy and cried some more. Then I looked at myself, looked at the mess I was, got angry and cried one last time for the day. Nobody told me my question was stupid. But I will not deceive myself into thinking it wasn’t. This is not in a self-pitying-under-confident way, but a very-very realistic assessment of my performance. My self-worth took a hit from the reality check and it hurt like a bitch. The good news is that I am smart enough to identify the stupidity of my question. The bad news is that I have no idea how to improve. But that is beside the point.
Today I want to think about self-worth. How we identify ourselves, how we grade ourselves and most importantly, is there a plane of existence where our self-worth can be disconnected from our perception of how people see us? How do you even judge your abilities in silo? How is it *self* worth if it is dependent on what others think of us?
I would like to think of myself as a moderately confident person. I would also like to attribute some of my under-confidence to an unrealistically modest acknowledgement of my ignorance and some of my over-confidence to a supremely misplaced sense of self-importance. And the way I see it, how confident I am at any given point of time is directly proportional to my levels of self-worth.
Other than illogical internal factors like hormones, how well my bra fits, and if I’m having a good/bad hair day etc., my sense of self-worth is also dependent on certain external factors. How does the audience react to my presence? Has my intended target been giving me enough attention? How good are the participants around me? These are external stimuli that affect the way we judge our performance.
The way I see it, it is easier to control or ignore the internal factors than it is with the external factors. Internal factors can be manipulated to give ourselves a false (or arguably true/better) sense of well-being. They are creatures of perception. Confidence building measures like breathing exercises, mind tricks, and body cues projections are all meant to convince our brain of our self-worth. To be fair, being affected by these internal factors is kind of unfair for our realistic worthiness anyway. We are all that we have learned and experienced and all that we are capable of learning and experiencing. The internal factors are really just mental blocks we need to conquer.
But nobody tells us how to defeat the series of disappointing body cues you get from your audience. Unless you are a super confident jedi, chances are you will get affected by what other people have, to say to, or about you. And that is what influences our opinion of ourselves. Why? Because we cannot judge ourselves in silo. We need a point of reference to see how well or badly we are faring. In life. We need to compare, not necessarily compete, to be relevant. And nobody teaches us how to deal with the reality of not doing enough, not being enough. In life.
And so we are left with two choices. We either downgrade our frame of reference so that it sits well with our current reality or we plan an unimaginably courageous trajectory towards the original levels of worthyness. I call it the pursuit of worthyness.
Sure, what others think of us affects our judgement about our capabilities. But the chase, the collision course one maps out for oneself is more about how we would want to feel about ourselves and less about what others think about us. It is a pursuit of worthyness if what drives you is not applause but a sense of duty towards your capabilities, a homage to your worth. It is a pursuit of worthyness if you recognize that you are to be the last judge of your potential. This is the pursuit that I believe has driven courageous men and women. The knowledge of self-worth and the conscious effort to be better, be worthy of respect in their eyes.
We are all struggling with trying to prove ourselves, grappling with the intensity of our ambition, doubting choices we have made. This is our pursuit of worthyness and I hope we make it.