Dr. Kaushik Sridhar

What makes you valuable?

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This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, so I feel prepared to tackle it. Here we go!

What makes my life valuable, in a basic sense, is the same thing that makes every life valuable: that we are such enigmatic creatures, full of thoughts and emotions, participating in interesting journies full of conflict, risk, and reward. In this, we are all exactly the same.

But what makes my life valuable to me are the things I have managed to learn; who I have succeeded in becoming; what I am now capable of doing that seemed like a dream, before. It is the peace of mind I’ve achieved, the relationships I’ve formed, and the artistic expressions I’ve birthed. I love these things! And so, I love myself as well. That seems like such an arrogant thing to say, but it’s actually nothing to do with pride or ego. It’s the ability to take joy in one’s very being. It’s feeling very satisfied that you simply exist, and have made it this far.

There doesn’t need to be any deep, philosophical analysis. It isn’t as much about cold, calculating logical formulae that have determined “I am worth something”, nor about the power and wealth one commands or does not. It’s about being at peace with the state of things, and learning to accept the self, with all its triumphs and its flaws.

In this mindset, though, there is a single demand: if you value yourself, truly, you will protect yourself against those whose character is malicious. You will not allow them to gain control, with their cunning traps and cajoling seductions. They may trick you at first, but you will not linger with them once they have revealed their nature as a destructive, toxic agent. To do so is to allow your beloved castle of self to be overrun with bandits. Who can hide in its walls for shelter then? How can it stand, as an example of strength?

Think also of an old, antique car. Certainly, it is not optimal in many ways, and it never will be. It can either be a meaningless piece in someone’s investment portfolio, or it can be a treasured reminder of experiences past, with which its owner would never part for any amount of money. Which type of car would you rather be, to yourself?

I am sentimentally attached to this body—this self. It means a great deal to me, regardless of who else values it and to what degree.

As the saying goes:

“No matter where or how far you flee from the world, you must always take yourself with you.”

Be your own valued companion. In that, you have true worth.

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