Your “locus of evaluation” is a very sophisticated way of just saying “what you base your assessment on”… and in Counselling, this is commonly tied to the assessments you make of yourself…
And we assess ourselves constantly! Often without even realising!!
In short, are we looking to others to validate our self worth?
So let’s dig into this for a brief spell, because what’s happening is actually fascinating when you start to take it all apart for close inspection!
It’s completely ironic how, at times, our biology fights against our mental wellbeing, and this is one particular area of human behaviour that is so simple, but so overlooked!
Appreciation! Human beings feel good when they are appreciated! The thing we too often gloss over, is actually appreciating ourselves. So often we look outward to others for validation, for critical assessment and even for self worth. It makes sense as we are in a constant biological need to seek acceptance in order to survive! But that’s not the whole picture, and it can be quite dangerous to do that!
I’m a fan of chunking down larger, complex things! I like to look at the world in small bite size chunks, because it makes comprehension so much easier to grasp… and then you can move on to the next chunk, and so on, eventually grasping the whole concept as a whole. I’m also a fan of easy, and simple! So here we go…
Before you do something… before you do anything really, ask yourself, who am I doing this for? Now with Clients, this can be tricky. Because obviously you’re doing it for your Clients, BUT… believe it or not, you’re going to be in a much better place if you first find out why you’re doing it… for YOU! You enjoy doing this, or it brings you much needed financial reward, or you like to be out and about, being busy, or you like meeting new people. Whatever it is that you enjoy about doing this, that should be the focus of your attention and your personal locus of evaluation. If you’re clear on that, then you’re going to be achieving something positive regardless of all other outcomes… and that right there, that’s the key!
You are actually (mostly) in control of how you feel – you get to choose, to a varied extent, how you react or feel given any particular situation or circumstance – I love the phrase “Choice Millionaire” coined by “Poets of the Fall”. Riches in your life are what you choose to acknowledge. You set the rules, you set the expectations and you set the values attributed to those rules and expectations!
Now let’s say you’re a photographer and you’re creating Wedding Photos for your Client. Well before we even get to the Client, you need to be feeling super positive about the act of taking those photos, and this should feel like an accomplishment to you, or a satisfactory outcome IN IT’S OWN RIGHT. Are you acknowledging the simple fact that you have a gift and this act of creation in itself, is wonderful!
That’s a super important step, because without that sense of self worth and value, you’re relying on an evaluation (the Client’s), which is an evaluation of worth completely outside of your control!
It’s also stripped of your context, your understanding of what is good or bad and any aspects you found to be particularly pleasurable or successful. They look at your work and see what they want to see. This is a constant! It will never change! It will never be any different!
So you can start to see how the scales balance here! On one side, YOU, with your own sense of what is good and bad. On the other side, the Client, with their own completely unique sense of good and bad based on a personal experience that is beyond your understanding.
I believe that good mental health is about having a balance. You can’t have it all, you can’t be super amazeballs happy all the time, and likewise you shouldn’t be down and depressed, all the time. But these two states WILL form the makeup of your experience on this earth, as it does for everyone. The key is to have the scales tipped in your favour so that the good, outweighs the bad. Nice and simple! … Hard to achieve!
So getting your concept of self in good shape helps balance those scales in your favour. If you break down the creative endeavour to be 50% your satisfaction, and 50% your client’s satisfaction, you arrive at 100%.
Let’s say you do your best and feel you’ve earned yourself a 40% satisfaction rating from the commission you’ve just completed. The Client’s are picky, let’s say they are about 25% satisfied. Let’s do the maths… That’s an overall 65% satisfaction rating! The scales are balanced in your favour!
But imagine if you had not allowed yourself any satisfaction and relied wholly on the feedback from your Clients… well that gives you a 25% satisfaction rating and that’s waaaaaay into the negative on the scales. So you feel bad!
Your locus of evaluation rested solely on the opinion of another. An opinion you had no control over and may not necessarily represent the truth, actuality, or be representative of your feelings towards the endeavour.
It’s basically like saying “OK, my self worth is entirely in your hands”. And it shouldn’t ever be that way!
Of course, there’s no escaping the feelings that well up inside based on how others perceive us, engage with us or place values on us. But you can do a heck of a lot to control aspects of how you feel, and give yourself a better fighting chance at feeling good about yourself.
It’s not an exact science, and it does take practice. But being able to regulate your “locus of evaluation” and take stock of a wider world view is empowering. It bolsters the balancing of those mood scales with ease and gives you far more resilience to the hardships of our daily lives.
Learn, practice and grow a better sense of self and self evaluation. Be kind to yourself and always place value on the value you provide, however small.
Imagine if seeing someone in the street and saying “hello” was all I needed to feel good about that day, imagine how simple it would be for me to stack up a whole load of good days! If that one simple act of kindness enables me and I reward myself for it, I’m that much better prepped against the darkness when it comes to consume my thought processes.
I can quite literally fight back with positivity! And you can too!
Find out more about our philanthropic work with Wedding Industry Mental Health, get support or become an advocate here:
and let’s build a stronger Wedding Industry together!