“So I tried pleasing Mom, I tried pleasing Dad. Tried pleasing those voices, Spinning ‘round in my head!”
(Excerpt from the book, I Could Love No One Until I Loved Me)
Effort is a good thing…unless you find yourself determining your sense of self-worth and value from it!
I am 7 years-old, I am standing in the hallway of St. Francis De Sales Elementary School in Parma, Ohio. I am in the 2nd grade. My eyes are closed, my fingers are crossed as I wait for Sr. Miriam Therese to call out my name. And then, I would walk up in front of the entire school and be pinned with a highly coveted prize, a small blue and white button with the word ‘EFFORT’ emblazoned across the front of it. Then everyone would see just how special I am!!!!
Only 3 very special kids would receive these buttons, and I have already missed the first two rounds. She is now ready to call out the last recipient, my legs crossed, my fingers now double crossed, as she utters the words…M-I-C-H-E-L-L-E – V-A-R-G-A.
I am crushed!
What about me? Where’s my button? Didn’t you see how hard I’ve been trying?
I believe this was a defining moment in my life (as you can see I’ve completely forgotten about it).
Why? Because it was reinforcing the newly forming belief that my sense of self-worth and value was determined by other people and not myself.
As a child, other people, especially older ones, have an amazing amount of influence over what we believe about ourselves. Unfortunately, some of us drag those beliefs behind us like an anchor for the rest of our lives.
When we were growing up, we all had times when we felt really good about ourselves and what we accomplished. Until, someone ran a faster race, had a newer bike, or ripped our effort button away from us.
When We Grow Up
Sometimes, the only thing that changes as we get older, is that the toys get bigger and more expensive. The races are now run on career paths and instead of comparing bikes, we compare houses, cars, and net worth.
While we were growing up we may have tried our hardest at accomplishing a task, only to hear from a teacher or parent, “Imagine how much better it would have been if you just tried a little harder, worked a little more, or exerted even more EFFORT like your brother, sister, or Michelle Varga?”
As adults, I think those same voices come from deep within based on how we were programmed. It could be an indicator that we are trying to get our sense of self-worth and value externally by comparing ourselves to others.
Effort & Self Worth
This past week, as I was reflecting on the events of this year so far, I came to a few realizations about the relationship between effort and self-worth.
- Sometimes more isn’t necessarily better…this includes more effort, more money, and sometimes more ice cream!
- If I am exerting enormous amounts of effort and it doesn’t bring me joy, I might need to redirect my efforts and focus on something that will.
- Success in life and in business doesn’t need to be hard, in order for it to have meaning or for me to feel valued.
- My sense of self-worth comes from within, if I am not feeling worthy, looking outside myself and blaming others is not the path to joy, peace, and happiness.
- I can create more, help more, and bring more value to others by simply showing up and being who I am. ‘Being’ who I am requires a lot less effort than trying to be someone I am not!
If any of these words resonate with you, if you’ve ever felt like you had to try harder to feel like you are enough or know someone who does, click on this link and gift yourself or someone you know with a copy of the book, I Could Love No One Until I Loved Me!
It just might change your life!