It all started one Thursday night in October. A few friends and I were jamming out to Crizzly at a local music venue called the Mid. We were really feeling the vibe and made our way downstairs to get right in the center of all the action. This proved to be a terrible choice, as moments later a series of unfortunate events would ensue. Some belligerent moron began punching and kicking full force in the middle of the crowd. By the time I tried to back away it was too late. He clipped the side of my knee with one of his drop kicks and before I even fully comprehended the situation I crumbled to the ground. I came to as my friends and security were lifting me out of the crowd.
My meniscus was torn. I was stuck on crutches for over a month, unable to attend classes. Without a sure recovery plan, it was uncertain if I would be able to play enough catch up to finish the quarter. I was devastated. Suddenly, the thing I valued most, my education, was in jeopardy over a stupid concert. I began blaming myself for the accident. As if I could have controlled the carelessness and strength of the guy who crushed my knee.
Realistically, it wasn’t my fault. This accident was not the result of poor choices or anything I really had control over in the first place. Nonetheless, I found myself projecting negativity onto who I was as a person because of something I couldn’t control. I realized that the accident wasn’t the only source of uncertainty and volatility regarding feelings towards myself. I began to reevaluate the way I was spending my time, the way I coped with stress, even my social circle.
Not being able to exercise my passions, both personally and in my studies, made me realize something crucial. While I’ve always felt confidence in myself and my abilities, my confidence alone wasn’t enough to carry me through life. Confidence comes from interactions with others, while self worth comes from within. Self confidence and self worth are not synonymous. The only thing that was going to get me out of this dark place and keep my fire bright was acknowledging self worth and its importance in my life.
“Self confidence and self worth are not synonymous”
I had just always assumed that since I was so confident in myself that of course I valued myself. But in reality, this underlying notion wasn’t in line with my actions. When asked if I could hang out, I would push aside other tasks and leave them to be rushed through the next morning. Instead of taking time to worry about me, I was constantly rushing around to be there for everyone else. I began to realize I was neglecting myself. What’s worse is that I realized this was self inflicted.
Somewhere along the way I stopped prioritizing what I wanted and started allowing others desires to become the forefront. Eventually my resilient flame began to flicker and dim. And no one else can fuel the fire inside like you can for yourself. So the second hand motivation began to wear off and I was left alone to feel overwhelming and raw emotion.
From this I began to restructure my life in way that was simple and necessary. I cut out all the crap, and focused my energy and attention on school and building my career. Gradually, my schedule started to fill up with the RIGHT things, and I had less time to be available. And let me tell you, that is not a bad thing. When you have less time, you start to spend it more wisely. I made sure to take time to do little things for myself, whether taking a hot candle lit bath or staying home alone on a Friday night to meditate and reflect. Over time, my thought process and the sources of my happiness and energy began to change. I projected more positivity onto myself from within.
So what does this mean to you? I hope that through my experiences others can avoid some of the same hardships and pain. And also realize that self worth is crucial to sustain happiness and fulfillment. Don’t put yourself on the end of the priority list. Don’t compromise your agenda for others over and over. And remember, no one can love you the way you can. You are valuable. You are worth while. So make sure you are giving yourself the time of day.