For those of you who are not a part of the academic world, let me fill you in on how it works. When you are a professor at a state university (such as I am), research is valued above all else. In other words, the university expects you to be a “publishing machine” in order to be respected. And you can’t just publish anything. You have to publish scholarly articles in competitive academic journals or write a research-based book(s). That’s the way it works. And that’s fine. It’s just how the game is played.
So here’s how I feel like a fish out of water. I never enjoyed doing this. Yes, I did publish quite a bit of research - I had to do it to get tenured. But in my heart of hearts, all I really wanted to do was teach and write about self-help topics. While I think my academic articles are kind of interesting, I have a bad feeling that they are simply collecting dust on people’s bookshelves at universities across the country. That’s my humorous way of saying that my academic publications are not really helping anyone - at least not in the way that I like to help people.
As you can tell from the fact that I have this website, I have since ventured into what I love doing – motivating people on television & radio, writing self-help books & articles, doing videos, and creating e-courses. And I think they all provide real-world, useful, and applicable advice for people to help improve their lives. Now that makes me feel like I’m making a real contribution to the world. Even if I help just one person, it’s all worth it.
As you might have suspected by now, none of this non-research, non-“academic” work that I am doing is valued by my university. And I’m not complaining – it’s fine. Like I said, that’s just the world of academia and how the game is played. And I’m not even trying to change the game. I couldn’t, even if I wanted to.
So because I don’t feel like my self-help work is valued, that got me thinking about how many other people don’t feel valued. Maybe you don’t feel valued at work, at home, by your kids, by your parents, your friends, you-name-it…and the list goes on. There are many times all of us don’t feel valued by others.
So what do we do about it?
Here’s what you do about it: stop caring.
I don’t mean that you should cop an attitude and give the metaphorical middle finger to the people who don’t value you. That’s definitely not what I mean. But what I do mean is that you need to get to a point emotionally where you don’t NEED to be valued by other people because you already value yourself.
As for me, would it be great if my university valued the kind of work I do on this website? Sure. Do I expect it or need it? No. I am doing this work because I am passionate about helping people, and if that means not getting professionally recognized for it in the academic world, then that’s fine with me. I know my work is helping people. That’s all I need to know.
Once you feel that inner peace inside, you no longer need other people’s approval, acceptance, or praise. You know in your heart that you value yourself. And that’s enough.
So take some time to think about where you are not valued in your life. Then think about why it bothers you. Why do you need other people’s praise, acceptance, or validation? Sure, having that is fantastic – we all like it. But you can’t control it. All you can control is how you view it (or lack thereof).
Bottom line, my message is to love yourself. And value yourself … because your happiness begins and ends with you!