Written at: Mahathma Nature Cure Centre, Kannur, Kerala
I only just realised how warped the concept of self-worth has been for most of us. We’re constantly under the influence of the media, social and cultural pressures, striving to attain an ideal we are rarely able to achieve. Surely, some of us do. But I’m talking about those of us who constantly feel a sense of lacuna, in spite and despite of having done everything in our reach.
I realize we attach way too much importance to worldly achievements: it matters what school you went to, what grades you managed, how many extra-curriculars you participated in, career choices you made, how “successful” you have been in getting to the top, how accepted you are in the social circles and how many people you call “friends”. Of course, the list goes on. I have been as much victim to this sort of thinking and I’m sure I continue to be even as I write this, but the realization that I’m more than just these is reassuring.
Having grown up in a city like Bombay, I have always been too busy running after dreams that are far too ambitious. I may achieve what I want some day, or maybe I shall not. But the problem isn’t in being ambitious, or wanting to pursue worldly riches. The problem arises when these achievements become conditions to evaluate the self. Am I worthy of anything if I’m not XYZ? I’m good at ABC but I’m not that (whatever that achievement might be in our head) so maybe I’m not that good.
One always works with the assumption that once you have XYZ, you will feel worthy, you will feel happy. But do we really ever get there? Perhaps not, I’m pretty sure if we covered everything from A to Z in terms of achievements, there would still be something, something we don’t quite have. Clearly, the problem is not one of achievements, but one of perception. A perception of the self that is far too conditional, one that undermines that everything that has been achieved or learnt as being just another achievement and not really significant. Not quite enough!
Well, it’s for the first time I realize that I’m more than my achievements. It’s for the first time I find significance in doing things I always thought as being far too trivial and “unproductive” (A capitalist trap, perhaps?). At this point of time, I don’t have a job, I don’t have a bank balance to see me through unemployment, I’m not in the best of health and I have pretty much nothing a “modern”, urban-bred 27-year old educated woman should have. I will not deny this fact haunts me often, but I’m not going to let such ideas take me down. Our perceptions of self are far too conditional and it’s time we decided the amount of value we place on our “self” ourselves. I’m glad I finally experienced a sense of self-worth which is beyond worldly achievements. In spite of what I have or don’t have, I feel worthy of life!
PS: The monsoons and the green hills work wonders for my creative juicesJ thank you Mother Nature!