Last Friday I introduced the topic of self-esteem to my 8th grade students. As part of that lesson, we discussed the outside influences impacting how they feel about themselves and how they measure their own self-worth. Many of them stated that the amount of likes or followers on their social media feeds (yes, even at 13-14 years old, these kids are frequently using and connected to social media accounts!) greatly impacts how they feel about themselves. This conversation with my students got me thinking about how we as a culture measure our own self-worth.
As I have been putting effort into making my yoga teaching more public through having a more substantial web presence and being more open and vulnerable through writing my thoughts publicly, I have been very aware of how I have been measuring my self-worth or success as of late. After positing to social media or publishing a new blog post, I spend much of the rest of the day checking my likes and followers or site traffic. More often than not, my mom and T are the only ones to like or read my content (thanks, guys!). This can definitely feel discouraging at times and it is easy to fall victim to thinking that what I have created is lesser than those that have thousands of followers or likes on social media posts.
But the fact of the matter is, that is not what teaching and practicing yoga has ever been about for me. By gauging my own self-worth on these changing variables outside of my control, I leave myself filled with insecurity and I must let go of these limiting measurements of my own success.
The practice of yoga has truly transformed my life for the better, and all that I have ever wanted in this lifetime is to share that with others. I feel that I am living from an authentic place that reflects who I am and have found a creative outlet to share what I am most passionate about. And in that, I can find happiness in the place that I am at in this very moment.
John Lennon once said, “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” Sharing yoga with others is what cultivates the most happiness for myself. So, even if what I create is only seen by my mom and T, that is my path. And that in it self is amazing.
Just like I tell my middle school students, I very much hope that you, whomever you may be, can see that you are amazing, just as you are. Not a hundred likes or followers from now. Not until after you fill the room of your yoga classes, or can position your body in an advanced pose, or are 10 pounds lighter than you are now. But right now, in this moment, you are amazing.