Your value isn’t derived from what you produce

When we identify ourselves by external forces, such as our jobs, physical appearance, as well as our art or creative work, we tie our self-worth to objects outside of ourselves. As time goes on, our job may change, our skin will age and our work will get lost, copied or become redundant. If we only see ourselves as good as what we produce, we begin to feel threatened and defeated when those external sources of support begin to wane.

Sure, it’s great when people are impressed by our job, when we feel at our best physically or when our work of art derives media attention and praise. However, when we identify too closely with what we produce, and not with the skills and hard work it took to produce them, we lose self-value when we lose our jobs, gain some wrinkles or produce work that isn’t well-liked. We are not the work we do, we are the driving forces behind how it gets done. It takes skill, drive, perseverance, and ingenuity to continuously create great things. It’s in the hard work itself that arises the greatness, regardless of whether popular opinion approves of it.

If someone or something gets in the way and destroys your project, then simply start another one. Priding ourselves on our “things” is only temporary; if we spend our time cultivating our skills and putting in the work, we can live creatively every day with self-esteem that’s concrete, not contingent upon something else. So share your art, spread your message, change your hair, and switch your job. Don’t worry that someone will steal your ideas or copy your style, and don’t be afraid to alter your environment. When your self-concept is strong, you know you will be fine no matter what you produce.


This article personally appeared on The Goddess Rebellion

Shannon Leigh is a writer, hand letterer and modern-day curious cat who’s particularly fond of cold weather and big-picture thinking. You can follow her on Medium, find more of her writing at The Goddess Rebellion or explore all her hand lettering and cat photos at @shanleighwats. Shannon’s new articles are posted every Tuesday for The Leading so check back weekly and please recommend this post!