Consider this question: If you were to cease to exist today, would it make any difference to the world?
Yes, it would make a difference—the world would become a better place without you!
Perhaps this isn’t the answer you were quite expecting. The world possibly might not be any worse off without you, but how could anyone say that it would be better off?
Let’s look at it from two perspectives. Say you are an outstanding individual, a successful person, a somebody in general. Wouldn’t you be a worthy asset to the society? Yet there may be someone, or even many, who wish you hadn’t existed.
Why so? If you are a manager in an organisation, you are a barrier to someone else aiming for a promotion. If you are a star player in your football team, you are blocking another player from a starting spot. If you are the top student in your cohort, you are occupying a position that others desire. You get the drift. Even Snow White, beautiful and kind as she was, became the bane of the Queen’s existence when she was now the fairest of them all.
On the other hand, if you were at the bottom of the barrel or thereabouts, where would that leave you? Those around you would question your worth and wonder why you existed in the first place!
Thus wherever your place is in society, whatever your standing, there are bound to be people who will not be happy with your presence, whether you are deemed better or worse than them.
As social beings, it is normal that we long for the love and acceptance of society. From our dressing to the social media posts that we put out, it is inevitable that we care about what others think about us. We want to belong. Yet in a world where it seems our existence isn’t very welcome, where can we find our sense of self?
It Starts With Family
Going back to the opening question, let’s now put it this way: If you were to cease to exist today, would it make any difference to your family?
Suddenly, everything changes! Your existence makes a world of difference to your family, and not in a negative sense. Your worth to your family cannot be measured in terms of your success or where you stand in society. Here in your family, you are irreplaceable. You are indispensable. You are worthwhile.
Isn’t it logical, then, that we find our sense of self in our family? If we are firmly secure in our family, we can then confidently go out to society without a need to seek assurance and validation of our worth, which often leads to disappointment.
So how much effort are we investing in our family and managing relationships to build up a sense of self in not only ourselves, but also our spouse or children?
The Bible, when giving out instructions on appointing church leaders with the right qualities, wisely asks, “If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?”
Today, as a leader, are you trying to find your sense of self out there at your workplace, community or even in cyberspace? You would be looking in the wrong place.
It starts with family!