When I’ve “Made It”, Then I’ll be Happy

A couple of months ago I saw a comedy special by the comedian, Gary Gulman. He spoke at a therapist seminar we therapists call “The Symposium.” He was speaking about a period of depression he went through in his routine, and something he said struck me because I realized it was an example of Asset Based and Achievement Based self esteem.

(I’ve mentioned before, once you get to know the lens I use to find the outside sources of self esteem, you’ll start seeing them everywhere!)

If you remember my lens of self esteem: I use my last name, EASA, to label the outside sources of self esteem that we need to identify when we’re seeking our esteem from them. And then, do the work to change so that our self esteem comes from within us instead of outside us.

E is for Esteem, A is for Achievement Based Esteem, S is for Society Based Esteem, A is for Attribute and Asset Based Esteem.

Back to Gary Gulman—He said that when he was a kid, he did not grow up rich. And his parents told him that when he grew up and made a lot of money, he’d be happy. And he grew up, became a comedian, and he “made it.” But he still wasn’t happy.

Does our worth come from outside sources? In Gary’s case, the fame and money that came with “making it” as a successful comedian. Or does it come from the inside? Gary may have “made it”, but “it” did not make him happy.

“I have worth because I was born.”

Inherent worth comes from the inside—and if I don’t recognize that, then I substitute it with outside sources. Gary Gulman was basically taught by his parents (likely not intentionally!) that your happiness coupled with your self worth will stem from the Asset of financial gain. You can either look at Gary’s situation as the Asset of wealth or you can look at it as: once he’d “made it”; once he’d Achieved.

Gary wasn’t talking explicitly about self esteem or self worth (I consider them to be the same thing). He was speaking to a room full of therapists about his depression, but he was depressed because he was looking at his worth through his Achievements and Assets.

If you look for your worth through these outside sources, you will always be left unfulfilled.

(And I know “always” is a harsh word. Therapists often say don’t use the words “always” or “never.”)

The only fulfilling path to balanced, healthy self esteem is:

“I have inherent worth because I was born.”

“I’m enough and I matter.”

“Nothing I say or do adds to or detracts from my worth.”

Say those affirmations to yourself when you find yourself seeing through my EASA lens and catch yourself deriving your sense of worth from outside sources. And if you need help on this path to transformation, contact me and let’s work together!