Let’s put all hypocrisy aside and answer the question “What’s the one thing (other than food), that you can’t live without?” For many, this is a difficult question to answer. For others it’s simple. Your answer depends on what you value. Let’s go out on a limb here (after all, that’s where the fruit is!): not many people answer this question by saying they absolutely cannot live without a self. But most probably say money or material things. Tricky notion, huh? After all, no matter what you own or how much of it you’ve got, without an understanding of your inner self, you’ve got absolutely nothing. Whether you call it self-worth, self-esteem or self-validation, confidence in and acknowledgment of personal value is tough for a lot of people.
Thereby, many of us seek out materialistic objects to fill the void. We mistakenly believe that once the voids are filled, there will be no sign of our low (or no) self-worth. But this doesn’t fix the problem. That simple truth aside, what do you do when you can’t afford to faux-fill your void with material things? Does that mean you’re not a worthy person? Finding value in yourself (instead of in your finances) cannot easily be accomplished without accepting who you are. Since no one but you truly knows what you value in life, the trick here is to first ask yourself a couple of questions: What do I truly value in the world? What do I truly value in myself? Before putting any significant thought into these questions, keep in mind that the answer to each one has a specific link and relationship to the other. What you value in the world is the consequence of what you value within yourself, just as what you dislike or devalue usually stems from what you dislike or devalue about yourself. Writing your thoughts down on paper may help with keeping yourself honest. Self-discovery is a process, and it takes many people years (and thousands of dollars) in therapy to truly understand themselves at the deepest core. The above self-discovery exercise will help you prioritize your values and get a little closer to “knowing thyself!”
- Realize that money may buy happier, but it will never truly buy complete happiness. Cases in point: Michael Jackson, John McTiernan.
- It’s the little things in life … there’s nothing bigger. Try not to expect so much out of life and allow the little things to bring you joy. Consider when you’ve been the happiest. You may find you were enjoying something simple like an ice cream, a day at the beach or the company of someone you enjoy – all seemingly tiny things that made for great moments.
- Give away or donate any worldly object that you don’t use or need. There may be someone else who does have a need or use for it. Doing this will be liberating and hopefully gratifying in the sense that you made someone else’s life a little easier and possibly a little happier.
- Go out and find something to do without having to spend any or very little money – and ideally spend the time with people whom you love and care about. Some ideas can be to take a walk in the wilderness, watch the sunrise, watch the sunset, go star gazing or explore something new about your neighborhood.
Finding self-value or value period, outside of the trivial can be exemplified by thinking about the important relationships you’ve built in your life and the intangible quality that they represent to you. If there’s anything bigger than the little things in life than this just might be it.