For many people, there’s a wound inside them. I had this wound. You most likely have this wound.
It’s a value wound.
People grow up thinking they need to prove their value in this world. That if they hustle, improve themselves, find a gorgeous partner, and become rich, a stamp of approval is placed upon them that says they’re of worth.
But that’s where most people go wrong; that’s why there are so many unhappy people in this world, no matter their wealth, fame, or success.
They let their value wound drive them. They live from a place where they’re never enough; they think that proving their worth is just a promotion away. Or they make choices based on believing they’ll never deserve love.
But if people stopped to consider where this feeling of unworthiness comes from, they’d see how it only exists because of outside influences. Maybe a parent shaped their self-esteem or they hold a grudge from long ago.
The reasons aren’t inside them; they’re outside of them.
Why is it that unworthiness isn’t internal? Because people’s worth is inherent. You can’t take away or add to it. It’s why Elon Musk is no better than the man taking out the trash at Tesla’s warehouses. People — stripped away of everything that sets them apart from others — are worthy.
That includes me. That includes you.
And the moment you decide to start living from a place of worthiness, rather than feeling like you’re unworthy, some big changes happen. You realize that things you chased most in life aren’t important or never needed to be chased in the first place.
And when you make that realization, your whole life changes for the better.
Here are the things you stop chasing once you accept your worth.
1. Proving people wrong.
Do you feel the need to prove your parents wrong? Are you obsessed with having a glow-up that makes your ex wish they never dumped you?
Maybe you’re like I was—someone who wanted everyone who bullied me in high school to see that I moved out of our hometown and became rich like they never could. If so, you’re heading down a path for a miserable life.
These scenarios thrive on the belief that your purpose for living is to prove something to others. The focus is on how others perceive and think about you, even though you probably spend little to none of your time around them anymore.
When I strived to be someone people from my high school would see on Facebook and be envious of, I stopped asking myself what made me happy.
Because even if you get to the point where you finally show your good-for-nothing dad you can make it without him, that moment is fleeting. What’s not fleeting is all the time you spent crafting a life that’s not even something you enjoy.
Why do people think obtaining new things will make them happy? That a new car, promotion, or life milestone will finally be the turning point at which eternal happiness comes?
I used to live this way. I thought marriage or a well-paying job would make all my worries disappear. But no matter the job or relationship, I still felt this lingering unhappiness deep inside me.
That’s because I bought into the idea of the pursuit of happiness. Under this idea, happiness is something that needs to be earned. It’s a reward for great decision-making and building self-worth.
The above believes happiness is a destination, not a journey.
But if that’s the case, why is it that people from all walks of life experience happiness? That a mere shift in mindset can have a pessimistic person smelling the flowers and enjoying a sunny day?
That’s because happiness isn’t something you have to earn. It’s all around you, every single day. Happiness is a choice, one you’ve always been deserving of.
Only you are stopping yourself from enjoying it.
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness — it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention.” — Brene Brown
3. The future.
Everyone’s chasing this dream life: a big house, fancy car, highly-respected job, and a hot spouse. You know the deal.
And while people can widely agree that’s “the dream,” have you ever stopped to consider if it’s your dream? That this future you’re working so hard towards is one that would make you happy?
For me, none of the above would make me happy. I prefer a job I love over a highly respected one. I want a partner who loves and respects me more than someone who’s a trophy husband. A big house sounds like a lot to clean and nice cars have never interested me.
In fact, the future doesn’t interest me all that much. What I care about is what’s happening in my present. I know that I can have what I want right now. I don’t need to do more so I can have my desires in the future.
There’s nothing to prove about myself, so I enjoy the ride of life as it happens to me.
4. People who don’t love you.
People with low self-esteem tend to suffer from a lot of dating issues. They have a harder time setting boundaries and don’t believe they deserve healthy love.
Because of this, they end up chasing love rather than experiencing it as it comes. They’re more likely to try to convince people why they should be chosen, rather than asking themselves if they even want the people they date in the first place.
They’re the people who find themselves in messy relationships or unhappily dating. They stay stuck in their ways because they don’t believe they deserve more.
But for people who realize their worth, they don’t invest energy into people who aren’t interested in them. They don’t bend over backward to convince someone to love them. They don’t inflict unnecessary pain on themselves.
When you recognize your worth, you recognize you deserve more than one-sided love, which includes yourself. You stop looking to other people to care for your unmet needs and start meeting them for yourself.
5. The hustle.
Gary Vaynerchuk, famous entrepreneur and internet craze, advocates for closing your eyes in your 20s and working hard to make something of yourself.
He promotes the idea of hustling, that if you work harder and longer than everyone else, you’ll be more successful than everyone else (that success being monetary gain and sometimes fame).
But what this philosophy thrives off is people’s beliefs that working hard will mean they’ve more valuable. And under that idea, giving up spending time with family, friends, and enjoying being young is a worthy sacrifice.
But if you believe in your worth and value your time, the hustle seems pointless. Sure, working hard towards a job you love or an idea you’re passionate about is great.
But hacking how to drop ship cheap products from China simply because of the promise of a six-figure income? Not so great.
I once took a technical recruiting job because it promised that if I worked hard, I’d earn a lot. I got into the office at 7 a.m. and didn’t leave until 7 p.m. On weekends, I was expected to still be working.
And all that led to was me feeling miserable. I never saw my friends. And I never felt like I was working hard enough at my job.
When you value yourself, you value your time. This means you won’t trade seeing your family for Thanksgiving for a larger paycheck. You won’t forgo sleep simply to get in more hours of hustle time.
You stop hustling for everything outside of you and start hustling for your happiness.
This article isn’t to shame anyone currently chasing the aspects of life I mentioned above. It’s merely meant to open people’s eyes to the deeper reasons we do things.
If you find that you’re chasing something that doesn’t matter to you as much as you thought, it’s a great chance to take a step back and define for yourself what happiness looks like for you.
Because what all its boils down to — even the lack of worth people feel — is the desire to be happy.