ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Is Your Self-Esteem Attached to Your Salary?

What is your self-worth dependent on? Do you measure it by the money you are earning? If so, you may be feeling that you are worth a lot less than you were a few years ago. But, it probably isn’t you – the world’s economy seems to be faltering and everyone (well, almost everyone) is earning less than they had before.

I have friends who were retired and comfortable who lost so much in this recession that they now can no longer travel and have to budget their retirement funds very carefully. Others have gone back to work, taking jobs that have far less status or intellectual requirements than those they had before retirement.

If you, like so many men and women over 50 have been downsized and you have been forced to accept a position at far less money and prestige than you are accustomed to having, it might be affecting how you view your worth. If you lost your job completely, or have seen your savings and investments lose value, you might be tempted to think less of yourself.

But, that’s not really what self-esteem is all about. Your self-worth, your sense of yourself should be determined by who you are – what kind of person you are – not how much you are earning or the title they gave you at work.

Self-esteem has two components according to Nathaniel Branden, (The Psychology of Self-Esteem). The first is your basic lovability. Although the basic sense of lovability starts from the manner in which your parents acted towards you when you were just a baby, as an adult you can certainly enhance it by the manner in which you interact with others. Are you a good person? Do you care about people and do they care about you? Can you look yourself in the mirror and say that you like the person you are?
The second component of self-esteem has to do with your ability to function effectively in the world. Look at all you’ve accomplished up ’till now. You’ve made it. You’ve been successful. You’ve climbed your mountains and achieved much of what you set out to achieve in life. Mountains can be of all sizes and shapes. Whether you’ve achieved success as a locksmith or as an athlete doesn’t matter. What matters is that you feel good about what you’ve done.

So, now you are over 50 and feel as though you’ve been rejected and discarded. I’m here to tell you it’s not because of you – not because of what you have or have not done. We are living in a crazy world where only youth and the latest fad seem to matter. Don’t let it get to you.

Generally speaking, what do we bring to the workplace? Maturity, wisdom, time management, the ability to get others motivated and productive, organizing and planning the projects and programs. Most of us have learned not to take offense where none was intended and to be the mediators and conciliators when others are in conflict. Certainly we have the ability to give guidance based on our many years of experience. We are sensible and seasoned. What we offer is perspective and “adult supervision.” 

So stand tall, look yourself in the mirror, and remind yourself that you are worth a great deal.


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