If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed that I’m really into quotes. Well, unlike quotes that I’ve posted in the past, today I want to give you an Amie original. It’s this. “Who we are on the inside is our greatest accomplishment.” I’ll explain what I mean.
When’s the last time you met someone new, and they didn’t ask about what you do? Honestly, it’s usually one of the first 3 questions that come up.
And if you’re proud of your career, when’s the last time you met someone new, and didn’t try to bring it up?
I propose this. We place more value on what we accomplish, than who we are. And we shouldn’t.
I’m currently a stay-at-home mom. For me, staying-at-home was always something that I wanted to do. I’d weighed the pros and cons. Factored in my personality, the finances. You now, all of the things you think about before making this huge decision. But there was one thing that I didn’t realize. And it’s been the toughest thing about being a stay-at-home mom.
It’s this, I’ve always placed extreme value on my accomplishments. I always felt like I was doing a good job when I was tangibly accomplishing something. I felt worthy. Without realizing it, I had placed a good chunk of my self-worth on what I accomplished in a career and academic realm.
But when I decided to stay home, all of those accomplishments were stripped away. Not permanently, but for the duration of my time at home.
I’ve struggled with this. I can’t get a promotion. I don’t get a paycheck. No one pats me on my back or tells me how smart I am. I’m not the one getting A’s. I’m not the one breaking the curve. And that really bothered me. Sure there are other things I’m able to achieve at home, but I’m specifically talking about accomplishments in the academic/career realm.
By no means am I complaining, and I hope this isn’t coming off that way. I really enjoy my current circumstances; I’m the one who chose them. No, what I’m saying is, I never realized how much of my self worth I’d placed on my accomplishments until they were, in essence, stripped away.
And honestly I was disappointed. Without realizing it, I had stumbled upon this ugly way of thinking that I hadn’t even known was there.
It’s no surprise to anyone that our culture values accomplishments. From the time we are young, the person with the best test score gets the gold star….not the one who shares his crayons. Certain career fields seem to get more respect than others. Money talks. In a small way when we think of popularity, and in a big way when we’ve seen people with money get better legal representation.
So it didn’t surprise me that our culture felt this way, I was more surprised that I hadn’t realized I felt this way.
Here’s the thing, who we are inside is absolutely more important than what we do. It’s more important than any accomplishment we have. It’s all that we’ll be left with in the end, our values, our kindness, our faith. I knew that, but I realized, my actions hadn’t been reflecting what I knew to be true.
Ever since I had this revelation, I’ve been working really hard to rewire my thinking. And if I was going to rewire my thinking, I needed to put some logic behind it. Because I’m that girl. And that’s what I want to share with you today. So here we go.
1. What we accomplish isn’t permanent
How can we place such high value on something that isn’t permanent. How can we define ourselves by things that can be stripped away at any moment? Are you proud of your job? You can lose it, at any time. Do you have the picture perfect family? Do you have a certification that you’re proud of? None of those things are permanent. This probably sounds downer-ish, but really take a second to think about it. If all of those things went away, you’d still be you, with all of those great, or awful values, engrained in you.
The simple fact that all of those things can be taken away proves that those things don’t define you. Because if they were all gone, you’d still be you. And that’s what’s permanent. That’s what’s important.
2. We have more opportunities to touch people with who we are than we do with what we accomplish.
Ok, so go with me here, and imagine the pre-quarantine days. Remember when you used to travel on a crowded subway? Or sit in a church that was almost at capacity? Or take your little one to a crowded baby time?
We used to have interactions with people everyday. And through each interaction, we are given the opportunity to handle ourselves with grace. We can spread joy, we can be kind, we can leave that person with all of the positive vibes, no matter how brief the interaction. If you are a businesswoman, you may work from 9-5, but after that your shift is over. There is a finite amount of time that you are tasked to play that roll. But you are you, 24/7, for as long as you live. Why not make the way you live your accomplishment?
3. There are only so many accomplishments, but so many personal uniquenesses
There are only so many job titles. Only so many accomplishments. You can only receive so may honors. We can most certainly spend all of our time trying to acquire as many of them as we can, and that’d be fine. But it’s easy to overlook the fact that God made each of us unique. We all have talents, and eccentricities that are unique to us. I propose if we spent as much time helping those unique gifts to thrive, we wouldn’t spend so much time running around a hamster wheel.
To sum it up, nothing is wrong with accomplishments, or careers, or honors, or any of that. All of those things are great. I still enjoy having them! What I do want to say is, who we are inside is so much more important than all of those things. And most importantly, our worth isn’t dependent on those accomplishments or careers.
I’ve learned that I have to change my rubric a little bit. I’ve had to define success a bit differently and spend just as much time working on my inside as I do my outside. And you know how you can tell if you’re doing that? Time. Time is a great measurement. Where are you spending yours?
Whether you are a mom or not. A stay at home mom or a career mom. Whether you like to rack up accomplishments like I do, or not. Just know, that who you are matters. Regardless of whether you have something to show for it or not. You. Are. Important.
And the next time you meet someone new, why not ask them a different question?
Make life sweet and learn all you can,