Your Solid Foundation
In 2021, my youngest daughter played her first game of soccer for her high school. Surprisingly, she wanted to play goalkeeper, the position nobody else in the team wanted to play.
As the last line of defence, the goalkeeper has the ultimate responsibility of preventing the opposition from scoring. Few players want to take that responsibility, and I was proud of her for doing so.
“Your team’s success is built on your defence,” I’ve often said to her, channelling my inner super-coach, aka Alex Ferguson. “When you have a solid defence, your attackers can be confident in going forward. If your defence is shaky, your attackers will always feel they need to come back and fill in the gaps, which weakens their attack. Your offence is built on the foundation of your defence.”
Likewise, if you were to ask an architect what the most important aspect of a building was, she would say, “The foundations.”
The foundations are the strength of the building. The stronger the foundations, the stabler the building. The weaker the foundations, the shakier the building.
My family and I moved into our new house in 2009, and one of the observations about the structure of the house that keeps being mentioned time and time again by our visitors is that there are no cracks in the walls.
Not one single crack in the whole building. Not inside. Not outside. Not anywhere. The house was, and still is, rock solid.
This is remarkable considering the house is now more than 50 years old, over which time it has copped a battering from storms, hail, severe winds, and extreme temperatures.
Curious as to how this could be, I did a bit of investigation and discovered that the house is actually built on solid rock. Most houses in our suburb are built with cement foundations dug into clay soil, but our house was built on solid rock that had to be dynamited out of the hill face into which it was built.
This means that in 50 years the ground and the house haven’t moved an inch, which is why there are no cracks in its walls, and why it will probably be just as solid over the next 50 years and more.
As we grow from childhood to adulthood, we are like architects and builders of our own selves. This can take a lot longer than most people realise.
As the birthday card quote says,
“The first 50 years of childhood are the hardest!”
Yet no matter how long it takes, like buildings, the most important aspect of who we are and who we will become is our foundation, especially in our formative years.
The stronger the foundation, the stabler (i.e. mental and emotional health) the adult we are. The weaker the foundations, the shakier the adult we are.
In other words, your foundation is a significant determining factor in how you are able to cope with all the storms and struggles that life will throw at you over the 8 or 9 decades of your life.
So what is the best foundation you can have? What are the rock-solid principles and values that you, and your kids, can build upon that will stand the test of time?
Ultimately, the best foundational cornerstone upon which to build your mental and emotional wellbeing (and therefore your success) is self-love, the essential elements of which can be listed as:
- Self-acceptance—the inner validation of who you are as a person
- Self-respect—the inner validation of what you do
- Self-worth—the inner validation of why you do what you do
- Self-approval—the inner validation of how you do what you do
This is important for one very simple reason:
No one will value you until you value yourself. No one will value what you do until you value what you do.
Life is beholden to certain immutable laws, one of which is The Law of Reflection, which states that the external world can only reflect back who and what you are. As within, so without.
Life is therefore a mirror, and the value others have for you is a reflection of the value you place on yourself.
This is what the British philosopher and author, James Allen, was talking about more than 150 years ago in his book, As a Man Thinketh, when he said:
“Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.”
This holds true for all physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of yourself, including your sense of value and self-worth.
If you don’t respect yourself, others will have little respect for you.
If you don’t hold yourself in high esteem, others will also not hold you in high esteem.
Therefore start first within, and that which you seek will manifest on the outside. But you must first do the inner work before the outer world will reflect your inner world.
You can only behold that which you already are, so if you seek validation of who you are, start first on self-acceptance.
If you seek validation of what you do, start first on self-respect.
If you seek validation of why you do what you do, start first on self-worth.
If you seek validation of how you do what you do, start first on self-approval.
So if it is your intention to reach your potential and become the best version of yourself you can be, it’s vital that you focus and invest your energy on building ‘genuine value’ and self-validation, and this you can do by focussing on these 4 Cornerstone Elements.