Thursday, April 4, 2013

Finding Self Worth in the Process, not the Product

In preschool and in life, the value is in the process.
In preschool and in life, the value is in the process.

When my daughter started preschool, her teacher reminded parents nearly every day, "Process,  not product" with regard to art projects. So, she brought home messy, random, child-created art, rather than in-the-lines colored rainbows or perfectly glued collages. The preschool teacher explained that each art project was a lesson that built fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, social skills and much, much more. The process developed the child, the creation was simply a by-product. It really didn't matter what the child created. What mattered was that she created something and everything was worthy of refrigerator acclaim because it represented her authentic effort.

Recently, while reading Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly, the process-not-product mantra returned to my consciousness. In her book, she explains that we've become a culture that attaches our self worth to the things we produce: the perfectly written email, the flawlessly composed photograph, or an A-student child. Brown continues to explain that when someone disagrees with the email, our photo only gets 2 likes on Facebook or the perfect child struggles, our self worth suffers. We think we are unworthy of love, that we failed as an employee, an artist, a parent, a person. We give up, hide or place blame for the failure. This chapter stopped me cold. I thought about it for days. I realized I do that! And I wondered, how do I stop? How do I own my self worth again? How do I continue to feel valued and loved, even when I fail?

Process, Not Product!!

I realized it's the creation process that is the reason for being regardless of what's created. And, I can choose to change my inner dialog when not-good-enough starts playing in my head and remind myself what's really true about me. If something is not well received, is it ME that's being rejected or just some piece of paper or digital blurb? This realization allowed me to recognize and separate my Self (the self that is God essence, always perfect and always lovable) from the product (the things outside myself, the material.) When I value the process, I value the person who showed up (me) and had the courage to create and share.

While meditating on this concept, I pictured myself as a small child who had never written an email, composed a photo or parented daughters. That small child was loved just because she was born. Even though I've grown up, I'm still loved just because I'm here, living, loving and expressing in this world. Recognizing that is an act of self love.

Are you loving yourself just because you showed up today? Can you let go of your attachment to the things you produce and simply find value and worth in the process? Can you say, "My Being is much bigger than anything I produce?" Join the conversation in the comments!