Last week while being interviewed, the editor of a San Diego magazine told me “I love your bags. They stand on their own.” She was talking about their physical construction — but I scribbled a note to myself because her statement inspired me to think about something deeper.

In a world where our value and worth often gets tied up in how we look, what we own, who we are connected to, what roles we play, who we are in a relationship with, how many likes/followers we have in the world of Social Media — standing on your own is a foreign and scary concept.

It is so easy to attach our worth to things outside ourselves — physical-materialistic objects (a big house, a fancy car, designer clothes, our physical bodies etc.) or even to psychological concepts — the idea that our worth lies in being in a relationship, in having a certain career, in having X amount of college degrees, in being a parent, in playing a certain role in life, etc.

But none of those objects define you. None of those things make you better than the next person for having obtained them. None of those things make you less than the next person for not having obtained them.

Accomplishments, striving to reach big goals, enjoying nice things are all beautiful elements of life. I am no foreigner to enjoying a nice and privileged life. I love that I graduated from one of the top design schools in the country and lived in one of the chicest neighborhoods in NYC, and now reside in a super modern condo in a hip neighborhood in Phoenix. I love my designer sunglasses, expensive shoes and over-priced yoga attire. I like getting my hair blown out, my nails done and going on vacation and staying at boutique hotels. I love seeing Soul Carrier’s number of followers rise on Social Media.

All of these things bring elements of joy to my life BUT they are NOT the source of my joy. I have had things stripped from my life — ginormous things – like losing both my parents the same day – in a car accident that I was a part of. And in moments like those, you come to realize your worth, your value, your inner joy cannot be attached to anything outside yourself.

Life can shower you with luxuries and happiness. You can be blessed with money, a hot body/a pretty face, amazing relationships, and spectacular careers. And then in a nano second it can all be ripped apart and you are stumbling through an avalanche of heartache and pain.

But your worth as a person does not go down the drain, the moment those external items fade away or disappear for good!

Your value lies in the fact that you exist: that you were put on this earth; that you breathe; that something far GREATER, than yourself, brought you forth into creation, and you have a divine purpose for being here.

I went to visit, my friend Courtney and Alex’s brand new baby, Sloane Katherine, last week. Looking at her tiny toes, little face, and precious smile – really drove home the fact that our value lays in our existence. A brand new baby does nothing other than breathe. New born babies cannot perform, they do not have the ability to acquire “stuff” on their own, and they can barely interact or communicate — and yet they are one million percent valuable, worthy, exquisite, little creations.

And yet the further we get away from being babies the more we derive our value from outside sources, people, and concepts. We let what people think of us sustain our self esteem. We think acquiring items, relationships and experiences will further foster our happiness. All these things can bring us happiness, but the moment they are the source of our happiness we are screwed! These things can easily vanish, and then where does that leave our emotional-mental well being!?

Also, what people think of you does not define your worth. Their opinions, judgements, criticism — even their praise do not designate your value. They are just passing words — nice words, sweet words, mean words, harsh words — but merely words that are based on someone’s passing thoughts. The words are not grounded in your truest TRUTH.

I love this quote by Deepok Chopra “ I am a divine being that’s worth has nothing to do with what people think, say or whether they approve of me or not…True self-esteem, true value, true self awareness goes beyond what our ego thinks of us. Who I am is so much more than the image I have formed in my head based on the opinion of the outside world. I am spirit. I am eternal. I am love.”

I love that so much! Life is going to be a sea-saw of amazing moments, experiencing luxuries, experiencing pain, experiencing loss. But when you can separate, detach, and remove yourself from being defined by either the good or the bad, then you can truly comprehend your worth and your value. You can stand on your own — in either a state of: gut-wrenching-excruciating-pain or blissful-luxurious-harmony. Neither state takes away your value. Neither state makes you better than the next person. They are just experiences. They are just chances to see what you are really made of rise to the surface. Friction is the alchemy to push you through the fire and have you come out as gold.

Can you stand on your own? Can you let the moments that cause friction push you closer to your truth? Will what you are made of — divine existence — rise to the surface when you are shoved to your edge? Or will you crumble?

Can you experience luxury and the physical-materialistic world and not let it define your value and happiness?

To standing on our own. To realizing any “darkness” is just a chance to shine. To knowing our worth  resides in our exquisite existence.

Jenn