Recently, my wise and gentle friend pointed out to me that my sense of self-worth is directly related to my emotional stability.
“Of course it is,” I said to her, surprised that she found it significant. “Isn’t everyone’s?”
She shook her head. Then we talked about how in her family, self-worth was often connected with career and achievement. And how in others, self-worth might be rooted in appearance, wealth, etc.
I don’t think my way – self-worth = level of emotional stability – necessarily came from my family of origin. But I do think that from a very young age, I decided that it was better to be happy all of the time.
I think this idea, of happiness being my job, got accidentally reinforced a lot along the way. You get a lot of positive reinforcement when you are a happy, cheerful, good-natured person. The problem with me has been thinking that somehow I am not “enough” unless I am happy, cheerful, and good-natured; thinking like this doesn’t allow for bad days, illness, or just plain moodiness.
So, I am working on this. Progress, not perfection.