When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I would always measure my worth based on whether or not I could do the things I witnessed other kids achieving.
If I couldn’t ride a bike as well as the other kids could, I’d become highly disappointed in myself, and would then lose interest in whatever I thought I couldn’t achieve.
I was a very quiet kid with a lot on my mind; I could possibly have called myself an extreme deep thinker in those days. I picked up on vibes and personality conflicts easily. I was so deep in thought that I believe it affected my feelings. I was always questioning myself; the simplest things affected me and I was too young yet to establish a good way to deal with how things affected me. Due to my inability to learn how to deal with my feelings, I put a lot of blame on myself. If someone was angry, I’d pick up their vibe and then somehow it would make me feel bad. This quality I had made me have low self-esteem and I didn’t know how to accept myself.
I began perceiving myself as not as worthy or as good as the kids I thought were better than me. That’s when I went from an eager-to-learn kid to a child who had lost all motivation for achievement.
By the time I was about 12, I learned it is natural to compare yourself to others. When I hit middle school, I observed others because I wasn’t talkative, and I’d overhear their conversations – most of them expressing criticism or dislike toward a student. I assumed that maybe it’s just how humans are…
What I hadn’t learned yet was there’s a distinct difference between judgment and comparison. For example, you can compare one car to another without making one superior. You can compare one person to another.
So as a child, when I compared my worth, I was also judging myself. I was not yet capable of making mature judgments, so I did not fully understand that I can compare without judging or deprecating myself.
It’s not an easy thing to learn and become capable of doing when society these days teaches us to judge and hate. Self-love has become such a rare thing nowadays that when someone shows that they love themselves, it’s considered egotistical, yet love and ego are two different things.
Being young and influenced by these concepts of ego, love, judgment and comparisons, it was easy for me to get confused about what worth really is.
I believed that I couldn’t measure my worth without comparing and judging myself to someone else first.
These misconceptions were like poison to my heart and my mind and led me to believe that I wasn’t worth much.
For a child, that starts a sense of self-hate, which – if not addressed – leads to many other issues. These other issues won’t seem important until you’re a 16-year-old who realizes that all those little judgments and comparisons added up, and you actually had no idea of who you were, because for so many years, you convinced yourself that you were not good enough.
I realized not too long ago that my younger years were spent being confused about how I should think of life. I could say that those were wasted days, but sitting here now, I realize that those days gave me knowledge that some people never truly gain.
Your worth as a person should not be based on whether you can achieve what others can; you’re not the negative opinions of someone who is incapable of seeing your worth.
These words now resonate with me, and I am now old enough that I don’t have to compare myself to others to be good at what I do.
I don’t need the acceptance of others to live and to like myself, and I don’t need to let other people’s opinions affect my sense of worthiness. I grew from that little child to a young woman who is no longer blinded by my misconceptions of what being worthy means.
Life changed for me when I took the time to understand things better and be patient with myself. I gained a sense of pride and now have many passions, and although there are still things I may not understand, I choose not to focus on them.
I don’t question my self-worth anymore; I accept my limitations. I use my memories of those days when I didn’t love myself to become determined and motivated to live a life full of experience. I don’t let the fear of not being able to do what others can do influence me anymore.
Let your discouragement or fear become motivation. Know that self-love is good, and learn to love without judging yourself or someone else. Be authentically you. Be infinite. You’re worth it. I hope that reading this brightens your day and opens your eyes.
Savanna Christensen is a Grand County High School student and a Moab Sun News intern.