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Value Your Life Contributions










We all have days that everything seems to go wrong.  We get a speeding ticket, the dishwasher stops working and your zippers splits when you’re already late for a dinner engagement. Sometimes what goes wrong is bigger and more difficult. Maybe your best friend is moving away or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer. Those times are particularly tough and may lead you to wonder what life’s all about.

Actually, what is your life all about? One of the most effective ways of coping with daily ups and down is to know your purpose, your contribution to the world. What is it that you contribute to the human race or to our world?  Knowing your part in the world can help you see the forest when the trees all seem negative. Every contribution to a better world counts. Every person can make a difference. Do you know what your purpose is?

You may see your purpose in religious terms. Perhaps you are led by a higher power each day and follow the guidance of your religious beliefs. Such faith and connection to your spirituality gives you a strong foundation for coping with whatever comes your way.  You’ll suffer less from the judgments of others if you know that your actions are not about you, but about what you are called to do.  For example, if you are speaking to a large audience you may find yourself nervous and worried. You don’t want to be criticized or “fail.” If you remember that you are speaking because it is the will of a power greater than yourself, then your anxiety and worry will likely decrease.  It’s no longer about you;  it’s about the message you have to share.

Maybe you have a special talent, such as art or music or teaching young children. Perhaps you have a scientific mind or have leadership skills. Noticing and valuing your contribution on a daily basis can help you cope with the difficulties you experience and stay on an even keel.

Perhaps your contribution is to be of service to others.  You contribute by helping family, friends, and neighbors. Perhaps you’re the one who takes a hot meal to someone who is ill or offers a lift to the person whose car is in the shop. You find that you are at your best when you are helping others.  When you focus on this as your contribution, you may find you are more at peace. You don’t need to look for more. You are living the life that you want to lead.

Your contribution may be difficult for you to see. One way to help yourself remember the importance of your contribution is the movie Pay it Forward (based on the book by Catherine Hyde). In the movie a young boy comes up with a plan to make the world a better place. His idea is to do a good deed for three people and ask them to do the same for three more people. One kind action often inspires others to do the same. Your contribution will affect others and add to the gifts of others.

There are so many ways to contribute to others and to the world. We are all connected and the actions of each of us affect the others. If you’re not sure what your contribution is, then consider activities that you are passionate about. Do those activities contribute in some way? You might ask friends who knows you well what they sees as your contribution.

Be careful of minimizing your contribution. All contributions are valuable, and all people have a way of contributing.

Photo Credit:  Kieran Lamb

Note:   The Emotionally Sensitive Person is available or pre-order. We’re happy to have The Emotionally Sensitive Person podcast available. We are adding podcasts periodically.  Thank you to everyone who has helped others with understanding emotional sensitivity.

Value Your Life Contributions

Karyn Hall, PhD

Karyn Hall, Ph.D. is the owner/director of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Center in Houston, a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification, Certified Clinician, a RO DBT Approved Supervisor and Trainer and owner of, an online educational program. She is a trainer/consultant as well as a therapist and certified coach, author of The Emotionally Sensitive Person, SAVVY, Mindfulness Exercises for DBT Therapists, and co-author of The Power of Validation. Her podcast, The Emotionally Sensitive Person, is available on iTunes.

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APA Reference
Hall, K. (2014). Value Your Life Contributions. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Sep 2014
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