|In recent times, it seems there are only three measures
of success: Money, looks, and fame. If you don't have one or all of them,
you just don't measure up. But you're an ordinary person, and it's hard to
feel self-worth, self-respect, and self-esteem when you go to an everyday
job in an everyday world. Perhaps you need to
overcome feelings of regret and sorrow. Well, you can overcome
your feelings... How do you find a sense of significance in a world that
seems so very shallow?
Cultivate a grateful heart. Gratitude is the one thing that most
people who feel a low sense of self-worth lack. If you can look outside
your own world, and see how good you really have it, you will feel much
more like your life is a worthwhile thing. If you don't have a terminal
illness, have had something to eat today, have a bed to sleep in
tonight... materially speaking you have it better than 70% of all the
people in the whole world. If you're reading this on your own computer,
you're better off than about 90% of everyone.
- Know when enough is enough. Take the advice of Mary Poppins.
She says, "Enough is as good as a feast." Think about that for a moment.
You can only eat so much, no matter how good the food is, or how much
there is. It doesn't matter if your meal is served in a fancy restaurant
at $1000 a plate, or in your own kitchen at $2.79 a plate. When you're
full, you're full, and if you try to eat more, you will very likely get
sick. When you have enough, it's exactly the same as having sat
down to a tremendous feast and eaten your fill. Mary Poppins is right.
Well, she is practically perfect in every way, after all.
Learn to value deeper virtues. The media seem to be overflowing
with images of the young, rich, and beautiful, and unless you fit that
mold, you feel less worthy of good things in your life. But those things
are so fleeting - youth and beauty fade with years, and in a short
while, those celebutantes won't be so pretty (or at least it won't be
cheap for them to be so pretty). Fortunes can be lost. But love is
eternal. Honor lasts. Truth abides. Beauty comes in all forms: a
butterfly is beautiful. So is a waterfall, and the ocean, and the sky on
a starry night. Learn to appreciate natural beauty, good character,
honesty, your family.
- Be nice.
Believe it or not, this can be the first step to feeling your own power.
Feeling a little ... ordinary... can make you feel like it isn't
worthwhile to care about the feelings of others. You don't realize just
how much power you have. Your lousy mood is contagious. It casts a pall
over everyone you encounter, from your family to your friends to your
co-workers. Instead of being abrupt and surly, try giving each person a
smile. Take a moment to make eye contact. People enjoy talking about
themselves or those closest to them. So give them an opportunity to do
so. Try to remember names, and ask about their loved ones. You don't
know what's happening in their lives - you might be the one and only
person to treat them like a human being today. You may not realize how
just one kind word, even from a stranger, can refresh someone's spirit.
Try it and see. It may be very nice to be important. But it's much
more important to be nice. In some circles, this is called
'projecting loving kindness' and it takes practice.
- Realize that being part of your family is important. You may
not have family, in this case you must cherish the relationships with
friends. If you have children, a spouse, siblings, parents who depend on
you, everything you do for them is a good deed, a mitzvah,
as they say. When you help your mom find her milk, which she put in the
cupboard instead of the fridge, even if she doesn't remember it 10
minutes later, you're doing something so valuable and important for her.
Let your life with your family and friends rejuvenate you with the
feeling that you are with people who love you no matter what.
humble. Of course if you go around bragging about how amazing
you are, people are going to try to knock you down. Plus, people who
talk themselves up to others are usually covering up an internal feeling
of inadequacy. Just look at celebs - no sooner are they hot than the
rumors start and the sniping begins. It's called "Schadenfreude"
- getting shallow satisfaction from the misfortune of those seemingly
more fortunate than you. No matter how much you want to feel important,
it won't help you unless you can appreciate it when it happens for the
right reasons. By exercising humility, and refraining from all the brag
and swagger, you free people to praise you when it's appropriate instead
of hogging attention when it isn't.
Help others. There is nothing that will make you feel like you
are valued, needed, and essential like volunteering to help and serve
others who are less fortunate than you. This really goes along with the
"humility" thing well - stepping up to help the elderly, coach at an
after school children's center, feed the homeless, help build a home for
someone (Habitat for Humanity), collect toys for orphanages at Christmas
time - these things allow you to be of service to others, and nothing
will make you feel better. Give a gift in secret. Tell no one of your
deed. Let the satisfaction of helping another stay within your heart by
holding on to your little secret. The first time a little child brings
you a hand-drawn card and throws her arms around you to thank you for
helping her family, it's practically guaranteed you'll feel tears of joy
flow from your eyes and a big lump in your throat. And that's
when you know your life is not just "good enough" - it's awesome.
- It's hard to feel impressive if you do nothing to impress yourself.
Go out there and do something wonderful, not just for yourself, but for
- For some people, it helps if you have a reality bigger than yourself
to believe in. If you are a
faith to help you work through this time in your life. If you are
not a person of faith but might like to be, then go to a mosque,
a church or talk to a friend about how his religious practices help
him in difficult times. If you are agnostic or atheist, you may find
- Never use someone else's life or accomplishments as a measuring
stick for the worth or value of your own. It's just like running, or
your looks: there will always be someone faster (and someone slower).
There will always be someone prettier (or you may be prettier than
someone else). There was a song from an old musical that talked about
running a race. It encouraged you not to be sad if you didn't come in
first, because "someone else who is last is sure to think you are fast."
Your life is your own. Rise up and live it. If you have enough, despite
the fact that you aren't rich or famous, enjoy the fact that you are not
wanting for essentials, that you have family and friends who love
you, and that your health is good. You can work for more, as long as you
- Turn off the TV and the radio. Listen to your own thoughts and
explore what is inside. Internal dialog is not a ticket to an
institution but rather a chance to really begin to make positive changes