If you're like me, you know that your own mind is your worst enemy. Anytime you start feeling good about a decision you've made, you realize you've made a horrible mistake. You should've bought a chicken sandwich instead of a steak sandwich. Choosing steak made you look over-indulgent and like a bit of a snob.
You hear Groucho Marx's quote, "I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member" echoing through everything you do. This, also, leads you to question the intentions of everyone around you. Since your mind and adult humans are such dubious sources for self-worth, you have to look elsewhere. I have found that the following three sources act as great mirrors to reflect back my worth as a human.
1. Dogs- I won't say animals in general because a lot of animals have skewed opinions. Cats are always going to make you feel like shit and dolphins will heap on gratuitous, unwarranted praise. Dogs, however, have a sixth sense for basic human value. I find that most my interactions with dogs are mediocre. The average response is a subtle tail wag and a casual hand sniff. There's no jumping for joy or boisterous, excited barks. They know I'm not a threat, but they also know I will not be playing fetch with them anytime soon. It's not great, but they at least don't think I am the spawn of Satan (contrary to my own beliefs, so that's good to know).
2. Kids- I will put all kids in this category (although kids above eleven are disqualified due to general apathy). Let's say babies are the gold standard. One giggle from a baby is like having a class of first graders jump for joy when you walk into their room. I can make babies crack smiles and laugh pretty hard if the mood is right; I can, also, keep them pretty calm. They don't, however, roll on the ground with belly-busting laughter nor do they cry the minute I hold them. Much like dogs, babies don't regard me as a clown or a cold blooded murderer; I'm right in the middle in the spectrum of reactions.
3. Electronics- Like the previous categories, not all electronics are created equally. Obviously, the opinion of a computer weighs much more heavily than a toaster. (That being said, should the toaster and the computer join forces and burn your toast, then you're probably not heading in the right direction). My computer is fine. It's slow sometimes and pinwheels at least a few times a day, but it doesn't frustrate me to the point that I want to throw it out of the window. Does it sometimes erase my work? Yes. Does it sometimes stream my movies without interruption? Yes. Does it always do these things? No. Again, I am not the best, I'm not the worst. Electronics think I'm an average person.
So, animals, babies, and electronics have neutral opinions about you. Don't feel bad. This is the safest place to be. You should probably be worried if all the three aforementioned creatures have a ticker tape parade for you whenever you enter a room. Remember, "the higher they rise, the harder they fall."