I only matter when I can tick all the boxes . . .
So many times we define our personal sense of self worth by what other people think of us. We try desperately to project an image of success and confidence. This may mean different things for different people – it may be through buying designer clothes or a new car, through success in academics or in the workplace, or through a new relationship. Each of these things can be good in many ways – but problems arise when our sense of self-worth is tied too closely to our performance in these areas. If identity is defined by academic performance, what happens when we receive a low mark or don’t perform up to expectations? If identity is tied up in wealth or status, what happens when we can’t keep up with our peers’ designer items or exotic holidays, or when we compare ourselves to someone who has more than we do? If identity is tied to relationship status or security, what happens when a relationship hits a rough patch or ends? For many, these scenarios bring about a crisis point in the area of identity and self-esteem. Some may turn to various coping patterns, such as self-harm or disordered eating, to deal with the resulting distress. In each of these scenarios, the underlying concept is that self-esteem often crumbles when it is tied to our performance or status in any area of life. At Recover, we work with clients to help them understand that they have intrinsic value and worth – not tied to performance, status, image, or accomplishments which may vary greatly within a lifetime – but simply in who they are.