Developing Independent Self-worth

His body felt like it had been hit by several freight trains simultaneously. He knew it was cliché but every muscle in his body ached. He moved like the Tin-man short a few squeezes of his oil can.

Today, he experienced hard Qi Gong for the first time. The practice is centred upon strengthening and hardening the outer part of the body. He had struck sand bags over and over, practiced combinations on wooden poles and even managed to break his first brick (and possibly his hand in the process). He chuckled to himself at the end of the day knowing that he was surely at his maximum level of soreness.

Bjorn is a Danish student at the academy. It has become apparent he matches Forde when it comes to being the centre of attention. It was interesting to watch him vying for others attention, particularly the Shifu’s who he respected most.

He would constantly do tasks for their approval, including extra repetitions to prove his worth. This behaviour annoyed Andrew until he realised why. It was a reflection of his own behaviour, albeit to a more subtle degree. He too hoped others noticed the hard work he put in.

Having been commended by the young Shifu following a session, Andrew was met with disappointment when he wasn’t singled out for his efforts for the sessions which followed. Why, Andrew thought, is it so important to receive approval from others, particularly those we don’t know and like?

Is it a consequence of a childhood where commendations were abundant, like a dog that receives a treat even after the most mundane actions? Perhaps it’s centred on a lack of self-worth. If one doesn’t feel they’re valuable than they hope others will provide validation that they are in fact good enough.

The day finished with dumplings for dinner. Andrew inhaled 30 with ease. That’s 20 too many, Andrew thought in hindsight. As he drifted off into a dumpling-induced sleep he told himself he would make a concerted effort to do things for himself, not to prove worth but to develop the skill at hand or complete the task for the sake of it. What he does has no bearing on his self-worth, nor does he need the words of others to make him feel a certain way.

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4 thoughts on “Developing Independent Self-worth

  1. It is easier said than done to cherish self-worth by accepting the present moment, wherever we stand. As repeated by many, “Embrace the journey.”, “Focus on the journey, not the destination.” It is in fact not wrong to have a goal or zoom out to see where we are heading towards, yet many of us tie themselves onto the what’s lying ahead of them or what is at the end of the line. That’s why we tend to feel lost and desperate at times like a man wandering in the midst of desert, guiding by the constellation at night. Having someone to reassure our own effort during these times can be immensely heartening. Yet, it’s important, like you mentioned, not to depend ourselves to the words of the others. Our self-worth always roots from within, and I think it’s perhaps the most important fundamental principle to cherish our own existence in the world.

    I hope you’re doing very well at the academy. 🙂 I’m following up your journal entries from the first up to latest ones. It’s very interesting you could learn something new everyday from your training. Many lessons of life are perhaps familiar to you, I realize, but to experience it through physical means can be life-changing indeed.

    What Kung Fu academy are you attending in China, by the way?

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    • Another great point. The more I learn about self-worth and accepting yourself, the more that it becomes apparent that it underpins many things in life. If you can stop negatively judging yourself for example, it becomes much easier not to be critical of others.

      I’m at Tianmeng Academy in the Shandong province.

      Thanks for the comment!

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      • Sorry to reply this late. Been doing a lot of professional studies lately. I did visit Tianmeng Academy webpage a few days ago. They offer intense programs. I also saw their training schedule too. Would you be staying there short term or long term (like a year or so)?

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      • I’m roughly two months in to a three month stay and have been told that the website will soon be updated to offer a more accurate representation on what the academy has to offer.

        The program is intense by do-able. It depends on what kind of condition you come to the academy.

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