september 2004 – where do we go from here?

Now we all know that in developing and maintaining self-esteem people need to know that they are appreciated.  We also know that appreciation comes from others – how they value us, recognize our quality, significance or importance.
NOw recently I have had another epiphany (I love that when it happens!).  I would say that I have a fairly healthy self-esteem.  I know that others appreciate me and value what I do and I strive to be worthy of that appreciation. 
In my real life here I have recently discovered that my coworkers not only appreciate me, but I didn’t realize just how much nor just how valuable I was to the group.
This set me wondering about self-appreciation.  Do we value ourselves and our contribution enough?  Do we evaluate what and who we are in a meaningful manner or do we tend to diminish in our own minds the value of our worth?
I know thse terms are very subjective and it must be difficult to measure our worth compared to how others measure our worth because I don’t know anyone who gets it right, but ……well, it’s a strange phenomenon.
I can see the effects in people in environments where they are continually belittled or told that they are of little worth.  That I can understand.  This is different though.  I am not in an environment like that.  Although, strangely, there are plenty of my coworkers who feel that the environment is exactly that.  They feel that their opinions are not listened to or respected and that the work they do is not valued by the physicians.
I’m not sure why my interpretation of the physician’s behavior is that they trust me to make the right choices and to know my limits and when to call for help……..but that may just be another thread on perceptions.
Perhaps the internal diminished understanding of self-worth is a mechanism that drives us to continually be striving to be better?

diminished as in ‘less than’.  I don’t  suggest that this is a negative trait or condition, only that it was an internal blinder to assure that we do not see ourselves as others do.
I do not primarily determine my worth through others eyes, however, since I work with the public in an environment that functions best when people work together as a team, it is essential that I have an awareness of how I fit with other’s percetions of my role in the team.  This is true of life as well as work.
Too much introspection is as hazardous as not enough.  However, introspection doesn’t always provide you with an accruate picture of who you are.  We are social animals.  Who I am is more than who I think I am, it is a composite of who I think I am and who others think I am.  From their feed back I can evaluate and reevaluate myself and expand my perception of reality with me in it.
I am not seeking an assurance of my worth.  My internal self-worth is pretty high.  It was a suprise, an awakening to me to find out that others placed a higher value on me that I had anticpated.  My departure will have more ripples in the pond than I thought.  I knew I was appreciated. I knew I contributed a valuable resource, but somehow I diminished that value in my own perception so that it equal that of anyone else there.
Perhaps it is the egletarian within me trying to make everyone of equal value – you know that communist upbringing they indoctrinate us with up here in canada is pretty strong.
Or perhaps – and this is more likely – perhaps I diminished my contributions to that of anyone else so that I had a feeling of less obligation.  To make this easier.  It isn’t, it becomes more difficult with each day, but if I would have been able to see myself as replaceable it would have made one part easier.
My co-workers howerver, seem determined for me not to have that perception.  I damn them and thank them for that.


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