RED Day 5: Effort, reward and self-esteem

Everyone likes to be rewarded for their efforts – the reason most people go to work each day? The reward of a regular salary and the hope of an annual bonus. But rewards come in many forms; a thoughtful gift, a heartfelt note of gratitude, a smile or a hug. We appreciate the rewards we receive from other people just as we appreciate their efforts and offer our thanks in return. As such, it’s easy to feel disillusioned when your efforts go unnoticed, or if you perceive a reward is inadequate. You may feel undervalued and unappreciated.

This is placing the onus for recognition or recompense solely in the hands of others, meaning it is out of our control as an individual. Should we be reliant on others to build self-esteem and feelings of self-worth? Or is it sufficient to be proud of our efforts and reward ourselves with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction?

When I signed up to RED January it was as a personal challenge and to enable me to begin 2018 with a positive focus. Each day that I fulfil the requirement to be active counts as a success. Now, of course it’s lovely for people to congratulate me and say how well I’m doing, but I’m actually content with my own sense of pride and accomplishment. How I feel about myself in relation to this challenge is sufficient reward and to recognise my efforts, I sew a button on my t-shirt each day after my run. This visual reminder and my sense of pride in wearing the completed t-shirt will remain long after the challenge is over.

The meaning of ‘self-actualization’ is the achievement of one’s full potential through independence, to understand oneself and one’s abilities as a person. Self-actualization is the ultimate life goal and in order to achieve this goal we need to look to ourselves to provide recognition for our own efforts and to understand how to live in order to meet our beliefs and values.

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