Saw a Facebook post today in which someone was practicing telling herself ‘I am remarkable’ by listing the things she does for others.
But is that what being remarkable really is? It’s so easy to fall into the trap of listing accomplishments as a means to bolster our self-esteem, whether these are done for others or for ourselves. Indeed, this can really help as a quick fix when we need a boost. But it can also cause some less helpful issues.
We can start to think that it is our accomplishments which define us as human beings. This can so easily lead to the perception that we must keep doing more, that if we aren’t achieving something then we don’t really count. Sometimes, we begin to feel that we must never say no to people, fearing that may appear selfish (how dare we put our own needs first?). We feel we must be ever more productive. Very often, it can lead to the intense need to fit more and more into our days, leaving us little time to pause and reflect, or do things for personal refreshment.
Sometimes it happens that we are prevented from accomplishing what we think we should be doing – whether through exhaustion, or emotional and mental health issues, or grief, or other outside circumstances (like a pandemic!). If our sense of self-esteem depends on our achievements, then we’ll quickly find ourselves feeling lost. We may also begin to feel undeserving, particularly of receiving support from others.
Now, to be clear, I’m not suggesting we should not have goals, as having something to work towards is nourishing and exciting. I’m definitely not suggesting we shouldn’t do kindnesses for others, as this is always a part of our shared humanity. But we are truly remarkable because of who we are inside ourselves, because of our character and personality which have been formed through a lifetime of experiences. It’s in our whole attitude to life and the world, in our capacity for joy and love, for both giving and receiving. Who we genuinely are spills out to affect others and the world around us in thoughts and deeds, but it also affects us in treating ourselves kindly and loving ourselves no matter what.
So really, I’m encouraging a more holistic view of ‘being remarkable’ – with the emphasis on being.