Welcome back! As we head into the holiday week, we here at the Northwest Osteopathic Medical Foundation want to wish you and yours a happy and safe season, filled with those you love, and those who love you.
Last week, we learned about feelings and how they can prompt us to make needed changes in our lives. If you missed the blog last week, click HERE to catch up.
Now, let’s grab A Cup of Coffee, and reflect on our worth, as Michelle Jenck challenges us to discover our natural gifts….
How we value things has a lot to do with how much we think others value them. It is only natural for us to worry about what others think. We are wired by evolution to be this way. In order to survive, we had to stand out in the crowd, gain the respect of our fellow tribal members and get the attention of a potential mate. We are hard wired to want to look good and be perceived as important.
Important people are sometimes referred to as having “political capital” or “social capital.” To build social capital, we may try to become popular, more attractive and influence others. If we feel like we fail at these efforts, we may grow resentful or depressed, leaving us feeling hopeless and worthless. Is this really the best measure of a person? More importantly, is this how we should measure our worth?
In modern society, we may be better served with a different set of priorities. Before a person can develop social or political capital, they are endowed with something much easier to come by – “natural capital.” Each of us is born with valuable, inherent gifts, such as musical talent, being good at math, working with our hands, being compassionate or having a way with words. We also have physical gifts in terms of our body and our brain, both instruments of vast wealth and potential.
What we do with these natural resources is critically important. How we care for ourselves through lifestyle, nutrition and activity is an investment we can make to grow our own capital. How we spend our leisure time matters. What do we consume in the manner of food, conversation and entertainment? How do we choose to expand our intellect? The public library might be a good place to start. What about our relationships? Are they thoughtful and intentional or random and convenient?
Too often, we make withdrawal after withdrawal and never make any deposits into our piggy bank of natural capital. “Someday I’ll . . . start exercising . . . quit smoking . . . learn to cook . . . leave this abusive relationship.” If someone gave us a million-dollar house or a brand-new car, it is almost a given that we would take better care of these material possessions than we do our own body, soul and mind, all of which are priceless and irreplaceable.
Exploring our natural strengths and seeking ways to build on them is key to developing a healthy sense of self-worth. If all our value is wrapped up in what others think of us, we are reducing our value exponentially and placing our personal sense of self-worth into the hands of others.
How we invest in ourselves matters a great deal and, ironically, stands to influence our potential for social and political capital more than anything else. People are drawn to people who are comfortable in their own skin. Self-confidence and self-awareness lend themselves to greater success in school, work and relationships with others.
It feels good to discover our natural gifts and use them to their full potential. It feels fulfilling because it is. After all, there must be some reason we were given those gifts in the first place. As parents, we can nurture these habits in our children. It is the best gift any child could receive. And, it costs nothing.