What are you worth to yourself?

What are you worth to yourself?

As I sat under the shower thinking about my life and feeling helpless, I realised how weak I was. I realised that my need to be liked and my need to seek approval from others was far too strong; which held me back from being my true authentic myself. I made a sort of filter for myself where I’d show only the parts of me which I thought would make me likable; while I hid all my faults.

The interesting thing about this is that the things I call my “faults” are not even my judgement of me. It is my acceptance of the judgement of others about me.

I saw myself as flawed and imperfect and assumed that I was unworthy of love, appreciation, or respect. Because that is what I was shown and taught right from my childhood. That mistakes were unacceptable and only that which was suited to the will of the elders/teacher(s) was worthy of reward and appreciation. All my life I tried to please them so that they’d approve of me. And if I had their approval it meant that I was worth something.

If they said I was good, I accepted I was good.
If they said I was a horrible person, I accepted I was so.
If they said I was irresponsible, I accepted I was so.

Who I was, was exactly what I thought would make other people like me.
It did not come from an inner realization of my true worth.

I let everyone else define me.
And as long as it served them, they did me good.

But then I started asking questions. Then I saw that no matter what I did I was still criticized, and still kept seeking for approval. I saw that my self-respect did not come from within me, but I let others hang it in front of me, and by doing so I allowed others to define what I must do and be in order that I may enjoy some of it. I was a slave.

Trying to be polite and accommodating just so that I do not run into conflict.
I was just being the “nice” guy, expecting respect from others because I am so nice.

It’s like expecting the tiger not to attack or harm me because I am such a nice and graceful deer. But things have changed for the better, I now do realise that it had been only coming from a deeply-seated fear.

I define who I am now.
I define who I am going to be.
I assert my worth wherever I go and do not hesitate to flaunt my faults.

I do not need to please anyone anymore.
I decide how I may be pleased.

So I ask myself and to anyone who’s trapped in the cycle of seeking approval,
‘What are you worth to yourself?’