Imagine for a second, that you got some spectacular news.
Or a good score in that difficult exam.
Or, a great business deal.
You are suddenly thrilled. You feel yourself on top of the world. Flying high.
Now, imagine the opposite.
That you were fired.
Or you failed that class.
Or you lost a major business deal.
You suddenly hit rock bottom, feeling yourself a failure, a walking wreck.
Within 30 seconds after you realize what happened, your world turns upside down – for the better or for the worse.
But what changed during that 30 seconds?
You still like coffee. Maybe you don’t like coffee, but you like tea. You would put the same amount of sugar in your coffee or tea now just like before, if you used to put any at all.
Neither your favorite foods changed. Nor the music genres you like. Your best friend is probably the same person. Or if you were a shy person and you had few friends, you still have those few friends.
Your height, your weight, your hair, your nails, your eyes, your health – all of them are just the same.
What you knew, you still know – all the experience, knowledge, education that you had, are still there.
The good deeds which you have done and the bad deeds which you have done still remain in your past as well. Your good memories and your bad memories too.
You are still the same person you were 30 seconds ago
You are inherently the same person inside and outside.
This means there is no reason to modify your self-worth based on what transpires within that ~30 seconds. There is no need to feel worthless, or there is no reason to feel like a demigod.
You are still you.
Your real essence, your personality is unaffected by transient external events which come and pass. It takes years, sometimes a lifetime to change one’s own real essence.
It takes many different events, small and big, and many choices which you make during decades to change one’s own self.
Therefore, you do not need a reason to have self-worth
Things will happen. And they will pass.
So much that in distant future, you won’t even remember many of them.
Your own self will only change, transform and improve slowly through the collection of all the events you live and all your choices you make, feelings you have and decisions which you take during the passing years.
What’s more, the society itself will change during the passage of years, and its values, even its rules will change.
What is seen as important, valuable, or as a ‘success’ today, will change in 10-20 years – and it may not be viewed by society as positively as it was before. Other things may take their place, and society may start advocating those new things as the desirable outcomes in place of the former ones it praised and advocated.
It may be so that the entire society itself may change, and a totally different set of cultural norms may come to being, in the process totally invalidating what set of norms were accepted and praised before.
So, just like the passing wind, the norms of the society itself are evolving, transient things.
What’s popular today, isn’t popular tomorrow. What’s respectable today, isn’t respectable tomorrow…
So, liberate your self-worth from external, passing events and societal norms
You should base your self-worth on solid, unchanging moral and philosophical fundamentals which you choose by your own will. Universal, unchanging good principles should be the basis for your own internal worth as opposed to whimsical passing fads of society.
Decades will pass. Everything will change. Society will change. Norms will change.
You will still be you.
The ‘you’ who you are going to be, should be defined by you.
Determine the good principles that you will adhere to, and adhere to those principles while also nominally humoring the passing fads of society.
Keep the love of humanity in your heart and prioritize people over things, build lasting relationships with principled, good people and follow your own path while maintaining your self-worth based on your principles.