Nobody likes to be judged, but we do it all the time. One of my business school classmates was and still stands tall at 5 feet. He carries around a picture in his wallet of him and his wife who is 4’10”. I will never forget when he showed it to me with a grin and said, “I love this picture because we look like normal people.”
The idea of worth comes in many forms. Some are obvious and others not so obvious. Here are the measures I’ve observed: what you do, who you know, how much you make, what you’ve accomplished, and what you look like.
Among the mentees I work with, about 90% of their stress is from falling short of their own expectations in one or more of the above. I can relate. This site’s namesake is about editing stress (“edittress”) because in my own life I’ve learned that there’s no sense in banishing or minimizing it – in fact, sometimes stress can propel us to do great things.
re·sil·ience | \ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s
1 : the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2 : an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
It’s a matter of right-sizing, approach, and mindset…editing. Let’s go.
Remember Your Value
During tough times, it’s easy to get depressed over how we fall short. This is when it helps me to remember that living – just living – is an incredible virtue in and of itself. Warts and all.
“So what’s the probability of your being born? It’s the probability of 2.5 million people getting together — about the population of San Diego — each to play a game of dice with trillion-sided dice. They each roll the dice — and they all come up the exact same number — say, 550,343,279,001. A miracle is an event so unlikely as to be almost impossible. By that definition, I’ve just proven that you are a miracle.”
-Dr. Ali Binazir
One of my friends is a sculptor who didn’t come into notoriety until her 70s. It was a long haul with mountains of rejection. And there’s no promise that success (as we know it) will even happen…Vincent Van Gogh died in poverty, but his gifts touch us all today.
If worth implies value, then remember that true value has nothing to do with… what you do, who you know, how much you make, what you’ve accomplished, and what you look like. I believe it’s in simple being, a presence to accept what is, and an openness to see what’s next.
That’s it. You’re already doing great.
Make a list of 10 nice things you can do for yourself when something bad happens. Some ideas to start with:
- Schedule a long, uninterrupted bath
- Spend 30 minutes looking at the night stars
- Walk outside and surround yourself with trees
- Take a free class at the library
[Read more: Feeling Blue? 3 Easy Yoga Poses To Try Right Now]
Connect With Others
Stress of all stripes has a knack for making us turn inward in a negative way. What did I do? Why is it always my fault? I can’t take this anymore!
“The miracle of your mind isn’t that you can see the world as it is. It’s that you can see the world as it isn’t.”
This is when accepting support from family and friends is paramount. They can:
- Give practical suggestions about an issue
- Empathize with how you’re feeling
- Reflect your best and future self back to you
- Inspire you to remember that you’re not alone
Hold Onto The Dream
A newspaper fired Walt Disney because they said he had “no original ideas” and “lacked imagination.” Michael Jordan was famously not selected for his high school basketball team. Baltimore’s WJZ-TV told Oprah that she was “unfit for television news.”
While we can look back at these situations and laugh, the fact is nobody is immune to rejection. The difference is these luminaries didn’t let it stop them.
Now, that doesn’t mean they didn’t change course or take a break. My guess is of course they did. Resilience is not stubbornness. It’s remembering you are somebody too. Somebody worth so much more than what others may or may not perceive…
“The cure for anything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.”
-Baroness Karen Christenze von Blixen-Finecke (a.k.a. Isak Dineson)