Do you often find yourself jumping from one thing to another?
You start something new (a habit, hobby, book, etc.). with all the excitement only to give it up after a while.
Well, it happens to me all the time.
Like the other day, I started on a book that I really like. I was deeply engrossed in it for a few days (thinking I’d never put it down). But then another book title caught my attention and I got turned off by the first book.
Now I’m left with reading 2 or 3 books at a time.
I always feel missing out on something important if I don’t read and learn something. But I also easily get bored with the old stuff ‒ something I used to be very excited about.
Take book reading for example, I hardly ever try to understand a book in full ‒ either give up halfway through or finish but never contemplate it.
At first, came up with all sorts of excuses to avoid the guilt trips like:
“The book wasn’t interesting enough”
“It was too hard for me to understand”
“I already know what’s in it, why do I have to read again”
“This book doesn’t resonate with me”, etc.
But then I realize there’s a much deeper reason for why I always give up things ‒ the truth I’ve been escaping from for so long…
The truth is:
I am a low-esteemed person.
I tried to act strong but feel deeply insecure inside. I’m never pleased with what I’ve got. So I learn more, do more, read more to prove my self-worth. But the harder I try, the more incompetent and dissatisfied I feel.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to prove yourself. In fact, men of all times have tried to prove their self-worth in one way or another.
In prehistoric times, a man’s worth is determined by the amount of food he brought home.
In the modern time when men have enough to eat, the measurement of one’s worth grows in complexity.
Food is no longer a good indicator of how valuable someone is but more advanced standards like money (how much you earns per year), material possessions (cars, houses, private airplanes, etc.), intellect (knowledge, the number of books you read), or experience (countries you’ve traveled to, etc.) and many others.
Why are these standards important?
Achieving these standards is necessary for you to make a stand in a group, be different, and get a sense of self.
It also reminds you that you’re not mediocre. Especially when your life is filled with misery (or when you feel small and unimportant in the world), the need to prove yourself is ever more important.
How does it affect your self-esteem?
Living up to these standards can have a positive impact on your self-esteem.
When you develop a new skill to make yourself a more valuable asset to the marketplace, your income increases so does your self-esteem.
It’s natural to strive for a better version of yourself so that you can live a more fulfilling life ‒ Travelling to new places to expand your horizons. Buying a bigger house to better accommodate yourself and your loved ones. Doing more workouts to achieve your dream body shape. Dress yourself up with beautiful attire to feel more confident, etc.
But when acquiring things comes from a desire to impress and outshine others, you begin to lose the ground. You become a slave to the very thing that you work hard for.
And since you’re acting on the competitive plane, you’ll feel neither happy or proud of your achievements.
Even though you have more, there’s always a hole to be filled. You’ll always be on the lookout for new things to strive for.
Now I understand why it’s hard to maintain a hobby or read a book from beginning to end. Because those are not what I want in the first place.
Many times I read a book just because I feel insecure about myself ‒ I need to know this, otherwise, people will look down on me.
It never ends well. I rarely finish a book with that mindset. The book I actually finish and come back from time to time is the one that I read with a purpose (e.g. help me solve a problem in my life)
I’ve been quite lengthy here, but here are 3 points to take away:
- You don’t have to try so hard to prove your self-worth. Instead, enjoy what you do and everything will fall into place.
- Also, don’t start anything (a book, hobby, skill, etc.) just to cover your feeling of incompetence and worthlessness. Always do things with a purpose.
- Finally, realize like doing more doesn’t mean you’ll be more satisfied with your life. Acquiring things to compete with others only leaves you feeling disappointed and unfulfilled.