You know that horrible feeling when you get a bad grade on a test? The gut-wrenching, tear-inducing sadness that makes you feel like you aren’t good enough? That’s something that I have experienced far too often in the past few weeks. In fact, my closest friends can tell you that I recently spent about 40 hours studying for a test that resulted in a score close to the number of hours that I spent preparing for it. The overwhelming feeling of disappointment can do some serious damage to your self-confidence.
A huge problem in our generation now (and even in society in general) is that we are taught to rely on the numbers. If you don’t have at least a 3.9 GPA, there’s no way you’re getting into medical school. If you weigh more than 150 pounds, you should probably start watching your weight. If you don’t own a pair of $118 Lululemon leggings, what are you even doing? And one of my personal favorites—if your goal isn’t to make at least $60,000 a year in your first job after graduating from Georgia Tech, you aren’t at the right school.
Why do we think that these numbers define our worth as human beings? They don’t. They can’t even come close to describing how significant, how capable, and how LOVED we are. That number on the scale? It doesn’t tell you how beautiful you looked today. The amount of money in your bank account? It doesn’t tell you how wealthy you are in love and happiness. The number of likes you got on that picture on Instagram? It gives no indication of how unique and brave you are. The GPA that appears on your transcript? It doesn’t show your diligence and determination. We use numbers to put quantitative labels on our value, but what about the parts of us that are truly immeasurable?
How can you assign a number to how inspiring you are? What type of scale could ever capture how much compassion you have? Can you put a finite label on how truly alive you are? You are NOT made of numbers. You are made of love and laughter. You are the things that you believe in. You have more substance than numbers.
To anyone who has found themselves wrapped up in the numbers lately, I challenge you to take a step back. Just let go for one moment. Is that number indicative of your worth as a human being? Does it define your integrity, selflessness, empathy, self-awareness, or compassion? Then do not let it define who you are.
You are much too wonderfully made to be condemned to just another number.