"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything it's value."
---Thomas Paine

Sooner or later in everyone's Life, there comes a day when we must strike a bargain with Life. We must lay out the parameters of our hopes, desires and expectations.

Few of us ever note that particular day with a red marking pen on a calendar. Few of us can recall the exact day we made the bargain but make it we do, consciously or unconsciously. That is the day we make the transitions from childhood to adulthood. We agree to assume the responsibilities of an adult, and to cut the apron strings that had heretofore allowed us a free ride while our parents paid the bills and fed and clothed and educated us.

The bargaining has not so much to do with how we choose to earn our living, as it does how much hard work and effort we agree to apply to gain that standard of living we have set as a minimum acceptable level.

We don't always choose that level of affluent living or poverty our parents introduced us to. Quite often we go in the exact opposite direction.

The kid raised in the suburban split level luxury home may decide he doesn't care to work as hard as his father and mother did to maintain that permanent Life style.

The kid raised in the slums may look at Life and bargain to "the good Life" of affluence, no matter how much hard work it entails.

I think it all depends on how you see yourself. If you have a healthy sense of self worth, then odds are you will opt for a higher than average Lifestyle.

But a high self esteem does not just happen. It must be cultivated by accomplishment and brought to the surface of your consciousness through honest praise from those you respect. As the twig is bent -- so grows the tree.

Just for fun, take a reflective few moments to think of friends and acquaintances you've come to know well enough to have visited in their homes. Does it not hold true that the ones who lived graciously in fine homes were the ones who had a higher than average sense of self esteem?

Not many of us were stars in our high school years -- honor students, sports champions, class officers, leads in the school plays, etc. Those who were had a bit of a head start on the rest of us, at least in the self esteem department. But that doesn't mean the rest of us, the mediocre students, will necessarily go through Life doubting his or her worth.

In Life there are many plateaus; many hills and valleys. Some of us reach the ripe old age of 30 or 40 or older before we really begin to realize we were always a lot smarter than we had ever imagined.

And so, if you wish to know the self esteem quotient of yourself or your friends, take a look at your own Lifestyle, or theirs. It will help you make a mid-Life determination of who you are, who you've been, and who you are becoming.

If you like what you see in your own Life, good. Keep right on trying. If not, then it may be time to make some adjustments in your thinking.

The best thing about this proposition of making a bargain with Life is that LIfe is always willing to renegotiate your original bargain. It is never too late to strike a new deal. If you are willing to start paying more, Life is more than willing to start supplying you with more of what you want from it.

I bargained with Life for a penny
and Life would pay no more;
However I begged at evening
when I counted my scanty store.

For Life is a just employer;
he gives you what you ask,
but once you have set the wages,
why, then you must bear the task.

I worked for a menial's hire,
only to learn, dismayed,
that any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have gladly paid.

--- Jessie B. Rittenhouse

Author's Bio: 

Don Pagan is the Owner and Publisher of "The Magnet-Therapist"
newsletter, a forum for YOUR opinion, YOUR search and your experience with pain and healing. mailto:magnettherapist@zipresponse.com "Pain is a universal condition - all of us have it at one time or another. Many people don't like taking drugs, and they are seeking alternative approaches for therapy...I was a skeptic about magnetic therapy until I proved they work. In my own Life!"

Don is also the owner, publisher and frequent contributor to "The CopyWriters Clinic" mailto:thecopywritersclinic@softsend.com