Opinion | Don’t measure your self-worth based on external factors

By Abril Salinas, Columnist

If you have been on social media in the last few days, you might have seen that recently, Instagram announced a test to hide likes in the United States. According to CNN, this test is happening because “Instagram has been rethinking how likes contribute to making its platform more toxic.” In light of this, I started thinking about the way we tend to value our self-worth.

For myself and many others, measuring our self-worth based on outside factors is a damaging default. And while it may be easy to do so, measuring one’s worth based on how many likes a post gets, the number of social media followers someone might have, productivity, appearance, careers, achievements, grades or any other external factor is an unhealthy habit we need to break.

If you’re like me, then you have no internal measure of success. Currently, nothing in the world exists that external factors don’t have an effect on. 

And while at times, allowing external variables to boost your self-esteem can be OK, it’s when those external variables are the only way you measure your worth that it becomes a problem.

I tend to value my self-worth based on my productivity and grades. When I do badly on a test or I don’t feel as if I did enough work in a single day, I feel terrible about myself. This is a completely toxic trait that needs to be broken.

My worth — how I value myself as a person — shouldn’t be diminished by a bad grade or a forgotten project. I, like many others, need to learn to measure self-worth based on the person I am at my core, instead of chasing fleeting self-esteem boosts. 

If all the things I do and all the ways I value my self-worth were suddenly taken away, would I still be happy with the person I am? Honestly, I don’t know. 

At my core, I need to be comfortable with who I’ve become outside of any toxic measurements of self-worth. At the end of the day, if I can’t be happy with the person I am on the inside without all the outside variables, then no measure of self-worth will mean anything.

When you look in the mirror every day, be confident in who you are. Understand no matter what outside factors you might base your worth on, it won’t have an effect if you can be confident in and happy with the person you are without them. 

Life is full of inevitable ups and downs, and things like followers, grades, appearance and other superficial factors are fleeting, but when you are able to look at the person you have become and feel self-assured no extraneous factor can shift your self-worth, then you will be able to live a meaningful and extraordinary life.

Abril is a freshman in Media.

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