Do you ever feel your worth as a person is devalued, or that your ability to contribute, provide for, or offer effective support to someone, or some cause seems to be tenuous at best? Maybe an alternative view of oneself is in order.

The acquisition of wisdom is usually tempered in the crucible of experience, while at the same time being validated through the process of ageing.

Wisdom and insight borne of experience require time to be established. In our current society, patience is not so much a virtue, but an anomaly to be avoided or kept at bay, seemingly at all costs. Patience has the uncanny ability of getting in the way of instant gratification.

We, as carbon-based life forms, are not predisposed to wait for any length of time for anything. Want to retire early? How early in life did you discipline yourself to start saving? Want to maintain a healthy lifestyle? What are your eating habits? Do you regularly exercise? Do you want to take a vacation or buy a new car? Do you take the time and effort to save the money first, or use a credit card?

Sometimes our inability to be effective providers and contributors (whether to family or society) is directly proportional to how we view ourselves. Some have gone through terrible situations of loss and abuse that have left an indelible mark on their psyche, which in turn has resulted in unfortunate, but no less real perceptions of themselves that mitigate having a full, productive and engaging life.

Some have had what could be construed as a gilded life; never having to lack for anything. But even that viewpoint can be dangerous. Wealth and privilege are not substitutes for experiencing and being taught compassion, love or commitment. Conversely, poverty, or the extant risk to one’s life, does not guarantee a person’s proper perspective on what is of value; whether physical, emotional or material. While Malala Yousafzai’s own poignant and globally impactful life crucible, has fostered a clarion counter argument to that last statement, our environment, upbringing and inherent genetics, still go a long way in determining how we view ourselves through all stages of life.

So the next time you feel inclined to look at yourself through the influential yet problematic lens of comparison to others, take a moment and celebrate your uniqueness. If you find it difficult identifying something of value in yourself, then know that although you may sense being alone in your feelings, you are, and never were an afterthought.

When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother’s womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there. You saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began. (Psalm 139:15, 16)

Malala Yousafzai Image Source: Financial Times