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Self Worth: You don't need to pretend

You don't need to pretend

[cover image] My dear child, why are you so concerned about what others think of you? This occupies so much of your time and gets you into pitiful muddles, doesn't it? Others have the same problem about you. They wonder how you regard them. And I wateh all this going on.
Everybody wonders what others think of them. I see them fencing and sparring with one another and they become defensive and fearful. If only they wou Id be open and honest; they wou Id be so much happier. They would discover that they don't have to put on a performance for one another.
Are you listening to me, child? This as very relevant for you, isn't it? Be yourself and stop trying to be someone else, then life will be so much easier for you. You imagine that if anybody knew you for who you are, they would reject-you. So the somebody else you try to be is rejected, because everyone knows this is not the real you.


Someone once said, "Self worth is all too often based on the opinion of others." For a long time I valued other people's opinions and values more than my own. But it took me a long time to realise it. I never really 'fitted in' for the first few years of high school; which often made me feel completely worthless. I would try to tell myself that popular ity and looks weren't important, that it's what's on the inside that counts. All those wholesome statements are so hard to put iato action, especially at thi rteen. I spent years wishing I was someone else. I wanted that girl's hair; that girl's tooks; that girl's clothes; that girl's boyfriends: I wanted to be anyone but myself.
Last year I had an argument with a best friend.We had been close for four years, without any of the backstabbing rubbish that often occurs between friends. No major arguments either, which made this one all the harder to deal with. I said some stupid things which I didn't mean at all - but which -were very hurtful. I felt frustrated at not knowing w~hat was going wrong with our friendship, and took it out on her.
After not speaking to her for two months it suddenly struck me what the problem was. Ever since we'd met, I'd always wanted to be like her. She was popular, pretty, and had a constant flow of boyfriends. ' .
We had a great friendship, accepting each other's different values and beliefs. Maybe that's why we were so compatible. We'd both been through rough patches, when there was no-one to talk to but each other. But underlying our friendship was a constant envy on my part. And after four years of wanting to be her, it was time to grow up.
I didn't want her lifestyle anymore. I became comfortable with my looks and didn't need hers. And for once in my life I actually liked and appreciated who I was inside. I have found a sense of self worth that no-one can take away, because it comes from me.
In the end we all find self worth in different ways and at different times. But once you've found some sense of it, you will never want to let it go!

Maria Lancaster, Australia

When life becomes tough, when resources become scarce, and when dreams for a better future are shattered, humans need to find hope and vision to guide them through and help them believe in themselves. We often hear of a friend or a relative who becomes desperate after failing a relationship or an exam, losing a job or a loved one! Or if you are a resident of Gaza, you hear stories about suicide bombers who killed themselves and others - seeking to send a message to the world about how desperate a person can become if he/she loses hope for a better future.
I learned from the Koran that God created humans for a noble cause - to be his vicegerents on earth; 'your lord will leave you as vicegerents on earth, so he may observe how you act', (The Holy Koran, 7-121). From this emanates hope and vision. Thinking in a positive, constructive manner, and offering what is good to humanity makes me feel confident about my own worth. I have learnt my sense of self worth from the word Islam which comes from the root word salam, which means peace in Arabic. Peace between me and God results in peace within myself - which reflects on all of humanity.

Samer Abu Ghazaleh, Gaza Strip, Palestine

The barrier to self worth is embarrassment. If only we could stand tall without worrying about what others think of us. If everyone looked a bit deeper they would see that the fear lies in themselves. We are afraid of ourselves and of how we will react to situations: We go through life and may experience or achieve the most amazing things. Success makes us feel good. Is this because we are pleased with ourselves or because we are impressing others? Teachers, managers, parents; friends approve of our success and in turn we feel pleased with ourselves. In this desire to impress others, we can sometimes forget to impress ourselves. It is no good if we are totally dependent on others to tell us that we are pretty, funny, clever etc. Why can't we compliment ourselves? When we are so intelligent and creative on the outside why are we so backward and enclosed inside? We must trust our own instincts and listen to our heart. Only by listening patiently to ourselves will we find true happiness and self worth.

Sarah Tate, UK

When St. Paul's Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was being built, a visitor was shown arou nd. He saw a carpenter at work and asked what he was doing. "Cutting wood," was the reply. Next came a stone mason. "Laying stone," he said. Finally he saw a man sweeping rubbish. "What are you doing?" said the visitor. The sweeper replied, "Helping Christopher Wren build his cathedral."



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