Recently I lost my mind. Not in the way I did when I officially experienced a mental illness a few years ago. But in a way where I continued to function in my world but I wasn’t really present. You see, I became fixated on some sort of external prize. A prize I could ‘win’ through approval in the eyes of someone else — placing the validation of my self-worth in someone else’s hands.

To anyone who has ever experienced this type of competition you will know it’s all consuming. There is no end to it — it’s like an obsession that is insatiable. A high jump bar that just keeps getting raised higher and higher.

I’ve always wanted to feel good. Good enough. But you know what? I possibly may never feel that. At least I know now I will never feel it by chasing external validation — whether from a career role or from the praise of someone I may naively place on a pedestal with the idea that somehow they are superior in life to me.

Never leave oneself is my lesson from this recent life challenge. Never look past one’s own needs. Never question your own worth and never place your sense of self in the hands of someone else or in any external marker. To do so is to lose perspective on all the healthy components of your life — the gifts which bring you a sense of peace, a sense of knowing that all is ok in your world, and that you are just fine as you are.

You don’t need to be smarter, more organised, prettier, thinner and so on. You just need to be alive — to be content with this life as a journey with uncertainty and to get up every day with an appreciation you are doing your best and that no one or anything can cut you down or make you question your self-worth.

I’ll keep on striving to live well — that will be through noting all the blessings in my life which are the bonds of true love between family and friends. Nothing else is good enough for me. I don’t need acclaim. I need to live with respecting myself and my passion for being a genuine, authentic person where kindness to myself and others brings the ultimate prize.

How about you? Is there an artificial prize you could let go of to enable you to live with greater peace?

Originally published at