||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
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
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."