Self worth: Lessons from the workplace

Self worth: Lessons from the workplace

Written by: Khadeja

You truly deserve nothing but the best in this life.

But how many of us really believe this? How many of us shy away from this type of thinking because our self-esteem is low or because we have been conditioned to believe that we are conceited if we think this way?

As women, we tend to automatically put ourselves and our needs last. Society has ingrained in us the idea that as women–and future mothers–our wants and needs come second to the needs of our loved ones. We are expected to be superheroes who go uncredited for all our hard work.

But how can a mother give her child love and support if she does not fully love and take care of herself first? As the old adage says, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

We tend to put a high value on making sure that everyone around us is happy regardless of what we feel. Recently, I was standing with my female co-worker waiting to catch our train home. Another co-worker, this one male, passed by and said hello. He chatted briefly with us and then excused himself because he wanted to go to his “usual spot” on the train. I was amazed at the simplicity of this action. Had the roles been reversed, many women might have felt obligated to keep on chatting, not necessarily out of interest, but because she might feel it was rude to walk away and do her own thing (even though she has every right to do so). How many of us just want to enjoy the train ride home in silence or by unwinding with a book?

In my experience, men often have the ability to be direct about what they want without flinching. They are more likely than women to ask for a salary increase. Why? I think it is because they believe that they deserve it–and because they don’t waste time and energy overthinking and running through a long list of excuses! One of the best exercises I’ve practiced is to observe how men carry themselves in the work environment. Now I’m all for girl power, but we can definitely afford to learn a thing or two from men about how to get what you want in your career and life!

We have a hard time being direct with our preferences mainly because we misinterpret the beautiful gifts of compassion and gentleness that Allah has given us. These gifts allow us to feel for other people and try to help them in any way we can. But we still can–and should–assert ourselves and not put too much weight on how we will be viewed by everyone around us.

It is impossible to please everyone around us, but we can aim to please God. And at the end of our journey through this life, that is all that matters.

My point in all of this? Don’t waste time trying to conform to societal expectations. Do what makes you happy, be a good person, and keep your eye on the big picture.

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