By Jamie Trezise
Working out how much something is worth can be tricky.
Although I am only 20 years old, I am a big fan of the classic daytime TV show of Bargain Hunt. Experts and auctioneers seem to effortlessly be able to put a value on rags and riches found at an everyday car boot. But I would bet any amount of money that these experts and auctioneers would struggle to put a value on themselves.
Even I struggle to value myself, and I’m the best at everything (and my mum agrees). But having a sense of self-worth is so important.
As a part of my job, I work a lot with young people in schools to help boost self-esteem and confidence. Unsurprising, the trend I have noticed is the lower the self-confidence, the lower the concentration levels and work ability.
Many young people I work with adopt the attitude of “I’m not good at anything, I’m not going to try”, when in reality, they can. Going through a task step by step makes it possible, but some of my students put up a barrier and give up. Self-worth affects us deeply, even the smallest mole hill can become a mountain.
I also spend a lot of time working on my own self-esteem.
It’s so easy to look around me and see many people doing much better than myself. Many of my friends have got first class honours degrees from top universities, play for good sports teams, have their dream job and are in happy relationships.
I’m not in any of those positions, and it is so very easy to compare myself to my friends. If I didn’t do something, life would be unbearable.
A friend often sets me the challenge of naming the three best things to happen to me in a day. This can be a challenge, particularly after a rough day at work. But thinking about the positives helped me to realise what people do for me, and how others value me.
Although I may not be a superstar, or have millions in the bank, I’ve come to realise what I do for a living betters the lives of others.
Seeing a 13-year-old pupil whose mum had just been diagnosed with cancer complete a paragraph to a very high standard in a class full of disruptive students warmed my heart, considering he refused to go to his lesson that morning. My work in that situation made a definite difference, and made me realise how much I am worth.
Whether it’s saying hello to an elderly lady at a bus stop, making a cup of tea for a colleague or lending a classmate a pencil, to big things like donating lottery winnings to charity or moving to a war-torn country to support a community, the things we do give us value and a purpose.
Without self-worth, we can’t have the motivation to change the world. We need to find value in ourselves to get out of bed, to go to work, to help that friend or complete that task.
Feeling worthless and pointless is the worst feeling, and I should know. But finding those things about us that matter, and we love, and that others love, that’s what makes us feel worth something. And when we have self-worth, we can do anything.