Finding My Self-Worth: Is it in Performing different Roles in my Life?

For a long time I felt my self-worth was outside of me, in all that I did and received back in the process, as a form of recognition or a reward:

  • It was all about others and keeping them happy with NO time for me
  • It was in multi-tasking, in working hard towards being the best I could be in all aspects of life
  • It was all about things that I would achieve on my TO DO list in all my roles – as a child, sister, daughter, friend, mother, wife, employee…

That’s what I thought was the way to live: a life driven by doing/achieving and being recognised constantly in all that I did!

As a child and a student growing up:

From a young age, it was in achieving that I would be recognised most/seen. From the time when we are young we are encouraged and recognised for all that we achieve on the outside and that felt good.

Each year I would set myself to do better in all aspects of my education, sports, music, drama and whatever I could get myself involved in, so I could be seen by my teachers, parents and friends to be unique or talented or clever by my achievements. I did it from such a young age…

I used to think that once I finished a year in school/high school/university etc. I wouldn’t feel the pressure to perform and work soo hard and push way beyond my capacity, just to see myself doing it again the following year. After all, I was so good at so many things! The thing is that I would then need to keep up with my performance year after year. If I didn’t, I would not only let others down, but mainly let myself down. I was my hardest critique.

One can imagine how to maintain the ‘have it all’ facade would get more challenging from primary school to high school and then to University. At university, the workload was enormous and I was also involved in a few clubs to organise social events. I did it at the stake of my body with not much sleep as that felt like the only way at the time. All this for what? To be seen as a good student…

As a sister:

I was the eldest – a ‘good older sister’ and I would ignore my feeling of being tired, sleepy and stay up at night listening to my sisters or brothers and sisters. I would feel guilty if I feel asleep accidentally! All for what?? To be seen as a good and supportive sister…

As a daughter:

I chose to be the ‘good girl’. For me, this meant not speaking against parents/adults even if it meant expressing truth (which I would and used to get into trouble for), always help out (whether you want to or not) and listen to your parents, as they are always right! Since you are the eldest, it’s your responsibility to be the role model! Wow! So much pressure to live up to!

As a friend:

I always used to magically appear in times of disputes between friends or partners. Such a good friend and a peacemaker! Never had many conflicts of my own! Did I allow time to feel me or know me, I wonder?

As an employee:

It’s been about hard work, finishing and meeting deadlines (no matter what) – produce work in shorter timeframes and put in extra hours, staying late, giving up social events and yeah, I was recognised. All this was at the expense of my health, my social and family life. Living a ‘work hard and play hard’ kind of attitude – you can have it all! All for what?? To be tagged as a good employee…

As a wife:

I adopted what I felt society would consider a good wife would do: put meals on the table every day, groom myself, keep the house tidy, entertaining etc. I would support my partner in all his adventures and the things he wanted to achieve, but would not have the same support for myself and for something that I might want to do as well. All for what??? To be seen as a good wife…

As a mother:

I was the so called ‘soccer mum’, always running around everywhere for kids’ activities, thinking that was good for them and all the multitasking would make me a really good mother. We were always rushing around, stressed for time to make it to places (getting to classes, come home, do homework, dinner, bath, read, bed… it was all very tightly scheduled). These activities seemed all enjoyable, but my To-Do-and-Achieve list for kids did not fill me, or the kids up. It actually left me feeling drained, tired, resentful and not at all happy and of course, the kids felt the stress too. All for what??? To be seen as a good mum, a super mum…

I was so entrenched in doing all my roles in life. On the outside, I was this Super woman who could do it all, but inside I was feeling exhausted, stressed and resentful for all I had to do and always running from one role to another. I had lost sight of the actual ME.

The recognition I was receiving from the roles I was performing made me do it even more, with more force at the cost of my health and well-being.

Sometimes you get seen and recognised and sometimes you don’t. When you are seen for all these things that you have done/performed, you forget how much you had to push yourself and work hard to get there. All this for what?

I was trying to fill the emptiness I was feeling inside with the things I did and had to keep doing, looking for recognition on things outside of me. Any happiness I would feel was always momentary as the excitement of an achievement would pass in a day and I would be left with my emptiness to do/achieve/get recognised again. The cycle was never ending…

… Until I was forced to stop. And I did… And I have changed so much since then to now. From a Super Doing woman to a Super Loving woman, from looking outside of myself for recognition to finding my self worth in the growing appreciation of myself. I’ll tell you the details in my next blog. Watch this space!

by: Pinky, Software Engineer, Brisbane, Australia

You may also like Part 2 of this Blog: Finding my self-worth: Is there more to me than all that I do?

332 thoughts on “Finding My Self-Worth: Is it in Performing different Roles in my Life?

  1. Like you, I felt my self-worth was connected to what I ‘did’, not who I was. I would accommodate myself to fall in with what people expected of me, rather than being true to myself. No wonder i didn’t feel fulfilled or felt I was worth very much. Attending Universal Medicine presentations and seeing Esoteric practitioners changed all that.

  2. “working hard towards being the best I could be in all aspects of life” All that striving and trying that keeps us away from the most precious aspect of life – appreciating that we are amazing just as we are.

  3. The emptiness of constantly searching for recognition is debilitating and it is only when we are willing to focus on being more loving with ourselves that we can begin to deepen our self-worth and reflect that to others.

  4. When we realise that our self-worth comes from within us and is not dependent on how well we perform in the outside world, is a true blessing both for ourselves and for others. The frantic doing which so many of us women indulge in, leaves in its wake a trail of stress and tension for ourselves and those around us.

    1. If we were taught this from an early age, imagine how transformed our world would be. Sadly this is not the case as yet, as many adults don’t recognise this wisdom.

  5. Unfortunately that has been the case for many of us, ‘That’s what I thought was the way to live: a life driven by doing/achieving and being recognised constantly in all that I did!’

  6. ‘When you are seen for all these things that you have done/performed, you forget how much you had to push yourself and work hard to get there.’ Where are we choosing to focus: the high of the reward, or the push that it took to get us there or get the thing done? Building a connection with my body so I can actually feel what I’m doing to it has meant that I’m much less likely to push on through to get something done. It’s not about working or doing less necessarily, but how I’m doing it, and the quality I’m doing it in – am I rushing, pushing, and trying to complete it (and everything else on the to-do list) perfectly, or working consistently and steadily, paying attention to what’s going on in my body as I work? The more I pay attention to my body, the more the self-abusive ways of working stand out, and the less I want to choose working like that.

    1. Quality is key, as you say Bryony – and also building the connection with our body, so that we become aware when we are trying to overdo it. Interestingly when we have settlement in our body we can actually get more done without losing the quality.

    1. It does sound incredible to live in a way without any need for recognition. We are bought up and taught to seek recognition so it’s a pretty engrained way of living. Definitely worth investing in a different way of living recognition free.

      1. Maybe we don’t need to exactly be recognition free in that if we recognise who we truly are and confirm ourselves then we don’t need it from others. Of course in knowing who we are we also recognise that same essence in others so start to dismantle the whole false recognition thing ie how the world currently seeks recognition for what we are not!

  7. I am sure most can relate to looking for recognition, but no matter how well we do or how much recognition we get it never satisfies as it is only recognising who we are not and living that way is unsustainable.

  8. When we grow up thinking we have to drive and push ourselves through life, we constantly seek roles to find the acceptance and recognition we are looking for unaware that it is in looking within and accepting ourselves for who we are in essence first that builds our true self-worth.

  9. “On the outside, I was this Super woman who could do it all, but inside I was feeling exhausted, stressed and resentful for all I had to do and always running from one role to another. I had lost sight of the actual ME.” So many women live lives like this – and feel ‘selfish’ at taking time for themselves. How has society got it so wrong? When we take loving care of ourselves we have so much more to offer others.

  10. We have all of these roles that we think we have to live up to and push to be perfect at and yet they have us running around in circles constantly worrying about getting it right.

  11. The thing about the roles we hook ourselves onto for acceptance and appreciation is not only is it exhausting to have so many but also that we need to keep up the performance, otherwise we lose all attention in an instant, and we are left at a loss as to who we are. I know how this feels as I lived driven by the need to be recognised through what I did for years and years. Yet I have now discovered that all along within me, and all of us equally so, resides the greatest confirmation of who I am, my essence, my Soul and living in connection to this quality is all I need to be, to know and feel everything that I am… which may I tell you is already quite spectacularly amazing.

  12. I have found it’s the relationship we have with our bodies and our presence and the quality that comes from moving in that connection that will determine our sense of worth. This is where our true power is, never has this come from a mind driven perspective totally focussed on physical and mental outplay with no loving internal radar to guide us.

  13. Our true worth as women can’t be achieved or measured by anything we do. We all are precious and very valuable by nature, so giving ourselves a hard time in order to be ‘good’ just doesn’t make sense.

  14. Pinky your honest sharing invites me to deepen in my relationship with myself and the responsibility that I carry in not allowing less than love, even if it’s a tiny self-critical thought. Thanks to your experience you are showing to the world that we are not what we do but the super loving women that we already are. Looking forward to read the part 2 of this blog.

  15. Nothing what we do has true value when we work and live from the emptiness within. Everything leaves an imprint, a message behind…imagine how devastating is simply walking in a lack of self-worth energy. We are expressing to young girls and other women that they are not as valuable as they really are. So, from this awareness we can change the quality of our movements, to let our light shine out and reflect all the beauty in all of us.

  16. This list sounds exhausting but also one many can probably relate too just the pictures might change a bit. You can feel in this how playing all these roles, you lose a sense of yourself, what you enjoy, who you are etc.

  17. In opening up our awareness we are able to understand that we can deepen our relationship with ourselves by how we care for and nurture our body and not by looking outside and pushing ourselves beyond our natural rhythm or aspiring to become something that is not true for us.

  18. When we discover that our self-worth is not in what we do but comes from within us…then this is the commencement of our return journey to our real worth.

  19. It’s easy to build a whole persona from the things we’re good at or get recognised for, but that’s knowing ourselves from the outside in. I think it’s worth putting the time and commitment in to know who we are from the inside out. I remember someone once saying to me that I needed to get to know myself more and I didn’t know where to start, but it wasn’t so much about what I like or don’t like but knowing there’s a quality within me and learning to hold myself and that quality with the greatest amount of regard.

  20. I understand this jumping from one role to the next, trying to achieve a state of perfection in each one, only to discover that I was actually tumbling from one task to the next without giving my all and feeling desperately tired and sad underneath. But I also understand that Letting go of this lifestyle can seem like a big ask, and so perhaps the best way is to feel the impact that these movements are having on your body and from there make the changes, otherwise change is merely an intellectual pursuit with no real livingness behind it that can ensure the sustainability of the quality of life that you actually deserve for being such a powerhouse person.

    1. This is such a great point.. that true change can only come when we get so fed up with feeling a certain way – i.e. stressed, rushed, or whatever – that we decide to make some changes to feel differently – i.e. more of who we are and not distracted by all the surface level ‘stuff’.

  21. How inspiring this is Pinky – to have exposed and cut the abusive cycle of recognition earned through the various roles that we take on in life to be good and nice etc. A great healing in the changes you have chosen.
    “The recognition I was receiving from the roles I was performing made me do it even more, with more force at the cost of my health and well-being”.

  22. Attaching a false sense of self worth to what we do rather who we are in essence, is a a choice that has shallow foundations, what happens when the role, the thing we are doing comes to and end…who are we…we all have qualities deep within which have nothing to do with what we do, and when we connect with that and nurture it then we have a foundation that is sustainable.

  23. There is a vast difference between sensing the impulse to move in a way that is in alignment with the universe and pushing ourselves. The latter comes with a force, a drive to get somewhere. It comes from self and my own needs where as listening to my body and feeling into what supports me and another comes from purpose where I am connected to the all and in rhythm with what there is to be done.

  24. Wow Pinky a brilliant blog exposing all the roles and pictures we take on that keep us in a constant spin and end up making us feel really exhausted. Knowing we are enough for just being who we truly are puts an end to the constant searching for recognition and trying to fill any emptiness – learning to appreciate and accept myself has been key to letting go of all the roles and pictures that once used to control me.

  25. ‘from looking outside of myself for recognition to finding my self worth in the growing appreciation of myself’ By appreciating our innate qualities we begin to realise how great we are regardless of our so called accomplishments and the accolades the world bestows upon us.

  26. Accomplishing many tasks without any sense of joy, care or quality – it’s so common. What if a Superwoman was not the woman could do the most, but the woman who could fully engage with life and everything that needs to be done but while not loosing her innate quality and sense of who she is?

  27. Wow so much effort for that momentary recognition and sense of achievement that soon passes and then the cycle starts all over again. No wonder there is an epidemic of exhaustion as so many are rushing around just as you have described which I can certainly relate to until I too got completely burnt out and forced to reevaluate my life.

    1. Yes, the constant trying to get recognition and acceptance from what we do, is similar to a hamster running in circles on its wheel, going no where and exhausting ourselves in the process.

  28. When it comes to activity I have found it extremely important to make the effort to really understand the purpose of each activity as often this can lead to major changes to that activity and makes me much more effective.

  29. Looking outside and taking on roles to validate or identify ourselves puts us into a never ending cycle of seeking recognition forever confirming to us that we are somehow lacking and lesser without them. In building a deep appreciation of ourselves the more we confirm who we are and value our true worth.

  30. The search for recognition is very deep in my experience. Once we become aware of that search we can deal with the outward parts of it but then it becomes an investigation of the more subtle aspects of looking for recognition. Each aspect we become aware of releases a lot of energy that was caught up in that particular search.

  31. Thank you Pinky. You have reminded me today that it is possible to not push and strive for recognition, but to live instead with a great sense of self-love, self-respect, and self-honouring.

  32. It is interesting to watch the dynamic of when a parent does everything at the expense of themselves for their kids. A friend was talking to me about this recently and saying that she had done this and now her kids just walked all over her and didn’t treat her well. You could see the outplay of what she had allowed and her need to be liked by her kids which had allowed it. This then bred resentment on both sides.

  33. The ‘to do’ lists are endless and for a very long time, women have been masters of doing everything in the so called ‘tireless’ role of superwoman, seeking recognition or reward from others from our own self worth being almost non-existent .
    “From a Super Doing woman to a Super Loving woman, from looking outside of myself for recognition to finding my self worth in the growing appreciation of myself”.

  34. So many of us get tainted by ideals and beliefs about where our worth comes from… losing sight of the truth as we grow up, so it is truly beautiful to reawaken to a knowing that you need not seek anything from the outside to confirm your worth but rather can develop it through a connection to and appreciation of who you are, as you are, ideal and belief free.

  35. If our self-worth is tied to what we do, then it is dependent on the outside, which is ironic as we are Divine on the inside, which we then can express outside, provided we are aware of this.

  36. Pinky you said it all in these words “From a Super Doing woman to a Super Loving woman”. Living life from the love within and honouring the body is so different to the beliefs, ideals, pictures and expectations we aspire to live up to.

  37. I think this describes my former life perfectly, “Any happiness I would feel was always momentary as the excitement of an achievement would pass in a day and I would be left with my emptiness to do/achieve/get recognised again. The cycle was never ending…” There are still parts where this is true but it is more subtle now, I am aware that the constant doing of things in this way only recreates itself again and again until you are exhausted. Many of us speak of the never ending list to do and it’s always there, at times getting longer and longer. So it would make sense to stop the doing of the list and yes recognise the list still needs doing but make a choice or become more aware that the only thing that needs our dedication is the quality we are in when ‘doing’ anything. We put so much pressure and focus on the doing, only to keep having to do to maintain the picture. I remember the up’s and downs of life this bought me and now when you do things from inside out life is more consistently equal.

  38. This is an awesome blog, I love what you have shared and the way you have shared it. When a woman puts herself out there, like you have with this article, it almost invites all women to come clean, weather that be in their over achieving or self abusing – not to mention the long list of other things we can choose to do to ourselves when we are running from who we truly are. What you are exposing is important.

  39. Achieving the to do lists with getting kids to every event, being able to cram it all in has become the norm. And yet the result seems to be the same for all women, stress, feeling drained and eventually resentful. This cant be the way we are supposed to be as women if this is how we are left feeling. Kids actually love it when we stop and are with them.

  40. “I was so entrenched in doing all my roles in life. On the outside, I was this Super woman who could do it all, but inside I was feeling exhausted, stressed and resentful for all I had to do and always running from one role to another. I had lost sight of the actual ME.” That is the word “entrenched”. And then there is a momentum from living this way that becomes a cruel master, controlling us to move in movements that are not our true selves, expressing. Hence, the roles. It becomes a vicious circle. This has only been broken for me by exploring the healing support of Esoteric modalities. They have been a game-changer and most effective in stopping the debilitating momentum’s I have put myself through.

  41. In my experience too building a knowing of our worth comes from inside of us, not from recognition for our achievements or roles that we may fulfil. I am blessed to know people who have supported me to know my real worth, to re-connect with it, but that has not come from recognising what I do but who I already am in my essence and genuinely appreciating that.

  42. I understood the theory of self-worth, did countless workshops, Munson residential pursuits of unraveling the dysfunction the disconnection and the hurts, but it truly was not until I met Serge Benhayon that I had a living model of truth upon which I could recalibrate my own totally warped inner guidance system, and then to be able to start to heal, and finally to feel the spark of self-worth, which is still being fanned into a living fire.

  43. Thank you Pinky, a great reminder of how we can lose ourselves when we get caught up in performing the roles we have in life, rather than living from who we truly are, living from the inside out, and therefore taking all that we are to the roles we perform, rather than the other way around.

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