May 2024 Letter

Valuing yourself first.

I've been thinking about value a lot lately. Value in terms of financial prosperity but also value in terms of our own self-worth. And I think the two may be closely related. But I think self-worth is the starting point.

Let's start with the value we place on ourselves, or the lack of it. You see, we have eyes to see the world around us, a nose to smell the odors in our environment, skin to feel the textures of objects surrounding us, ears to hear what others are saying... all of these focused outside of us.

So we learn to put value on the people around us, the people we look up to, the people who we perceive to be successful.

But what about our perception of ourselves? We tend to forget to bring our attention inwards towards ourselves. Even those who do so focus on themselves in comparison to others, the focus is still outwards.

We spend time with others, appreciating their talents, their company, their conversation, their contributions. But rarely spend time with ourselves appreciating our talents, our company, our conversation, our contributions to the world. Yet others appreciate our talents, our company, our conversation, our contributions... and we don't see it because we are so focused in the other direction. 

I remember wondering why people I work with want to keep me in the project so much. I got job promotions, I got good feedback and praises, I was retained when others have been let go. But I was just was not receiving it. My focus was outwards, and my "receiving door" was closed. Do you know someone like that? No matter what you tell them, they still have low self esteem?

Who are we really? What do we like? Do we value ourselves or take ourselves for granted? What untapped potential do we have that has not been realized yet? How do we give ourselves love?

We are afraid to show ourselves to the world because we don't know what will come up. We do not want to be our authentic selves because we do not appreciate the value of our true selves. We reject ourselves in favor of trying to be like someone else because we think they are better.

How do we find the courage to turn our attention inwards? Let's start with compassion and empathy. Just like we accept our friends with their faults and all, let's turn that skill towards that person you are inside. 

Get to know yourself. Ask questions: what do you like? what makes you come alive? what turns you off? why is that?

For the moment, set aside your grand mission to "make the world a better place" (or your family, or your friends, or your workplace). You need to make it better for yourself first... then the rest can follow.

You are a beacon of light that you keep covering up. Be brave and let it shine!

Michelle Skalnik

Ma Vié Belle!