Work and Self-Worth

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Today I start a new job, and it is making me anxious. The anxiety is building so severely that I woke up at 12 am this morning. So as I try to sleep, I decided to rant a little bit about something important to me.

photo by DammitKarissa Flickr

How do we define our self-worth? How I define my self-worth is something I am always trying to figure out. My family has always set it by what people do. How productive they are in society, yet I am disabled. I have never fit their descriptions. Work is hard for me. What is normal productivity for people is not normal for me, and it has given me self-worth issues.

I always try. Always. I always seem to fall short of the person who I think I should be. When I can no longer continue with work, when I have to take a break from school it feels like a horrible failure. I am devastated, and I fall into a horrible depression. I know this all stems from where I find my self-worth, my ability to be productive.

So where do I find self-worth if not in my productivity? That seems to be the question for me. Logically I know that work and productivity do not define me. I am more than that, but it is hard to deny that when I am working or going to school that I am a happier person, but that happiness is contingent on perceived success.

Psychology Today has an interesting but short article about unhealthy places to find self-worth. They have a suggestion on how to measure self-worth. By sticking to the factors, you can control and base your self-worth on those. That leads me to more confusion because it leads me to the existential question of what do I control.

I need to figure that out because measuring my self-worth on how much I can work is unhealthy for me. My disability is always with me; it will always affect the way that I can work.

Finding healthy places of self-worth is not something that can happen overnight. It is a constant work in progress. It is part of figuring out who you are. I don’t think people are ever done figuring out who they are. We are all works in progress; it is when we stop working on ourselves is when we fail.

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