THE BLOG
11/11/2013 12:08 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Is Your Self-Worth Tied to Numbers?

It seems there's a number attached to almost everything we do and we've become reliant on these numbers to tell us how we should feel about things. We may be a little older, and hopefully, a little wiser, but it doesn't mean that we still don't look outside ourselves for affirmation that what we're doing is okay.

Would you feel guilty staying in bed if the number on the nightstand clock showed it was later than usual? Even if you were retired and didn't have to be somewhere at a certain time? Would you be comfortable pampering yourself, having coffee in bed, and reading the paper, or watching the news? Or would you feel guilty because it's a certain time and you've always gotten out of bed at that time.

What about the morning weigh-in? Do you panic because the numbers on the scale show you're up a pound, and then beat yourself up the rest of the day for finishing off last night's dinner by having chocolate mousse? It's only 6:00 a.m. and your day is already ruined because of a number.

Do you check the Dow Jones numbers throughout the day to see how your stocks are doing? Have an app for that? And what if they're down? Do you moan and groan to everyone who will listen that you never should have bought xyz stock? And if a certain stock is up, are you euphoric or do you berate yourself for not having bought more of it?

When your children were young did you determine their worth by the grades they got at school or numbers or letters a teacher assigned to their tests? What about their SAT scores or grade point averages? Did that affect your relationship with them? And do you still do it with your grandchildren?

When you look at your watch and see that it's close to noon, do you think it's almost time to eat? Even if you're not hungry? And if it's 5:00 p.m., do you open the wine bottle because it's time to have your evening glass of wine? Even if you don't want one?

And what about some of the bigger numbers, such as age? Do you judge how old you are by the number of years you've been on this planet or by how you feel and act? Do you tell people you can't do something because you're (fill in your age) years old? Do you live your life by old adages such as "after thirty you shouldn't have long hair" or "wear a sleeveless dress?"

And what about how much something costs? Do you have a mental figure of what it should cost and if it's more than that, do you automatically reject it? What if it's the best of whatever and well worth it? Would you still reject it because it was more than that mental figure which may be thirty or forty years in the past and completely unrealistic? Do you pamper yourself or tell yourself you can't spend that much on yourself? Well, just how much are you worth?

What about people in the entertainment industry? Box office numbers for movies and Amazon sales for books -- aren't the actors and authors worth far more than the latest number? That number only refers to the product, not the person, but that's often not how they see it.

I could go on and on, but I think by now you understand what I'm saying. Unfortunately, many of us learned at an early age that our self-worth resided in number -- numbers attached to something. This number is good, that number is bad. We've put so much emphasis on numbers we've lost the ability to tune in to our bodies and listen to when it's hungry, thirsty or tired, when we should get up, and how we feel, regardless of the candles on the cake or the numbers on the scale.

Stock markets rise and fall. Anyone who's in sales of any type knows that numbers fluctuate. Some days, month, or years are great, others not so. Sure, these are benchmarks to watch, but that's all they are, simply a guide to what's happening at this moment.

One of my favorite chefs, Jacques Pepin, says a recipe is but a moment in time. And so is each of these benchmarks. We're far more than a rating that changes hourly on Amazon! A common recommendation to combat stress is to be less reliant on email, television, social media, and other electronics. It's said you'll also have more available time by doing this. My recommendation for less stress -- stop allowing numbers to determine your self-worth!