Self-Worth: What Defines You?

I was thinking a lot about the no-self concept in Buddhism the other day, and my mind went to a really nerdy place: I asked myself: “So, where does your self-worth come from?”

It’s an interesting question

I think that for a lot of people, their self-worth comes from how productive they are in their lives and what they contribute to the people around them. To the world.

While this way of thinking is understandable, I think it’s really dangerous.

For example: I find a lot of value in writing content for readers like you, I find that my support system is empowering, I find that my life is made easier by certain things that I rely on to get things done.

What happens when those things go away? What do you have left then, how would you define yourself and continue living without those things you so heavily attached to your self-worth?

The reality when it comes down to personalities is that they aren’t real. There is no “Mikey”, there is no you. Those things are clusters of values, beliefs, ideas, etc. and you’re essentially attaching them to a name, but it simply does not exist.

See, most people think that they’re a cup, jar or glass; and that the water they add into the cup of self is how they’re adding to themselves, how they’ll find happiness and value. It’s not where you’re going to find answers, though. You find value when you realize that you’re not the cup or glass, but the water. You’re infinite, you are everything and anything you put yourself into. You’re undefined. Things don’t add value to you, you add value to them. Always remember that.

This construct that you’ve built can be so damaging. “Well I’ve poured myself into this jar and its name is Mikey so now Mikey is me.” That doesn’t make sense. Once you realize that you’re energy passing through, you are free to become anything you want to pour yourself into. You’re not being forced to play this character you’re currently playing, you can leave at any time. The current idea of who you are is the version of yourself that’s struggling, but you yourself aren’t struggling. It’s a choice you make by holding onto this version of yourself. You can just let go, choose to be something else, and the rest will unfold as it should. You’re a character on the stage of life.

It’s all attachment. I’ve definitely had these egoic attachments that pull my focus and make it hard for me to be something else, but really, personalities are weather, they come and go based on circumstance, they aren’t permanent. Again, there is no you, it’s just what you’re choosing to be, it’s what you’re choosing to reflect; the ideas you’ve built.

Happiness is the result of your perspective and the actions you take to make change. Suffering and pain is the consequence of stagnation, fear, self-doubt and little to no actions being taken.

Tough love has taught me the harshest truth. If you are nothing without the tools you use to survive, then you can’t possibly become something with those tools. You have to be enough. If something adds value to you, it can also take it away. When it’s you who adds value to yourself, then you’ll always be complete and everything else around you is weather, it comes and goes without really staying long enough to impact you.

Ultimately, everything you do and say is a reflection of how you think.

I think a lot of pain is caused by people’s lack of living in the present. We’re either haunted by our past or by our fears of the future.

We’re all going to face trials, guys. It’s what we do in the face of those trials that will define us; we’re either the heroes of our own story or the villains. Take from that what you will, but I think that there’s something to be said about gaining control over everything you let go of. Just because you’re moving forward in life, doesn’t make what you went through unimportant. It just means you’ve learned from it, and now you’re ready to make way for new things.

Trials are change agents. They make room for something new.

So, when it comes to your self-worth, what is it that drives and defines you? Without attaching anything external to the answer.

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