Do you know your self-worth
Knowing your self-worth is a very personal thing and it has absolutely nothing to do with anyone else. It is the internal measure of how much you value yourself regardless of what other people might think of you or say to you.
There are many ways a person can get to know their worth as a human being. Some of these ways are more psychologically beneficial than others.
In this article, we will be learning about self-worth, why it is so important, why so many people lack it and how to build your self-worth.
What is self-worth?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, self-worth is defined as the value of something measured by its qualities or by the esteem in which it is held. In the short terms, worth equal value.
The definition, it shows that self-worth has a lot of similarities with self-value and self-esteem. Let’s look at these similarities.
Self-worth and self-value
Having a sense of worth means that you value yourself and having a sense of self-value means that you find yourself worthy. The differences between these two are very thin in that both terms can be used to describe the same in the general concept.
Self-value is more of a behavioral pattern than an emotional pattern. It is more about how you act towards yourself than how you feel about yourself compared to others.
Self-worth and self-esteem
Self-esteem shares a lot of similarities with self-worth. So many people especially non- psychologist see them as the same thing. In fact, the first definition of self-worth in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is simply “Self-esteem”.
The world Book dictionary definition of self-esteem is “thinking of oneself; self-respect”, while self-worth is defined as “a favorable estimate or opinion of oneself; self-esteem” (Bogee, Jr., 1998)
“Self-esteem is what we think and feel and believe about ourselves. Self-worth is recognizing “I am greater than all of those things; it is a deep knowing that I am of value, that I am loveable, necessary to this life and incomprehensible worth” Self-worth is about who you are and not about what you do.
Dr. Kristin Neff, a psychologist argues that there is a high problem with the way society sees self-esteem and value.
The problem is that this focus involves measuring oneself against others, rather than paying attention to one’s intrinsic value.
Our competitive culture and society at large tell us that we need to be special and above average to feel good about ourselves.
But the truth is everyone cannot be above average at the same time. In this sense, searching for self-worth by constantly comparing yourself to others means you will never find it because there is always going to be someone much more successful, attractive and better than us.
If you succeed at being better than the people around you for a moment, you can’t hold on to it as sooner or later, someone else will come along who will be better than you at something.
Self-worth is not a constant feeling or a feeling that cannot be tested by situations. It bounces around like a ping-pong ball, it gets tested as you go through your daily life with your experience of success and failures.
Some studies have shown that basing your self-worth on external forces is harmful to your mental health.
One study at the University of Michigan found out that college students who base their self-worth on external sources (including academic performance, appearance, and approval from others) were reported to be more stressed, angry, suffered academic problems and relationship conflicts.
They also have higher levels of alcohol and drug use as well as more symptoms of eating disorders.
The same study found out that students who based their self-worth on internal sources not only felt better, they also received higher grades and were less likely to use drugs and alcohol or to develop eating disorders.
Although real accomplishments are important to acknowledge as you build your sense of self-worth, they shouldn’t be the major criteria.
You should consider the unique qualities that make you who you really are. Do not be too concerned about rating yourself based on your accomplishment but be more concerned about being yourself.
Why worth is important?
Self-worth is very important, and it is a very vital part of you that could affect every area of your life from your relationships to your friendships and even your job.
In relationships, so many people make the mistake of placing their self-worth based on their partners, especially people with low self-esteem.
Another misconception people also have is that you need to be in a relationship to feel good about yourself or recognize your worth. It is an understandable tendency to let your spouse love you, encourage you to feel better about yourself.
However, being in a relationship should not be the major factor that makes you feel good about yourself. You should know your worth whether you’re in a relationship or not.
Don’t be carried away with your relationship to deprive you of knowing who you really are, relationship is a good feeling but doesn’t lose sight of your self-worth.
You don’t need the love of another person or a partner to define your value as a person.
Whether you are single, building a relationship with someone or celebrating your anniversary with your spouse you should always know your worthy of love and respect and you should always make time to practice self-acceptance and compassion.
For people in a long-term relationship, thinking that your partner’s love is what makes you worthy of love is a mistake.
If you do so, whenever anything happens between you and your partner, it is always going to be difficult for you to have a say, you’ll always have to go with anything even if you don’t feel comfortable with it, you’ll always have others/ or your partner’s opinion cloud your judgment.
Also, if it happens to be a breakup, you’ll have to blind your sense of worth from scratch. Breakups and grief are always much harder than its supposed to be when you have no sense of self-worth.
Having a healthy sense of self-worth will make your relationship better. When you love yourself, respect yourself, know your worth; you will be able to love someone else better, you will attract respect and value in your relationship.
People with high self-esteem tend to have more satisfying, loving and stable relationships than those who do not.
Wanting to be valued before you value yourself means whenever a person or your partner stops valuing and respecting you; you automatically feel less about yourself.
Also, you can’t give out what you don’t have; if you don’t love yourself or value yourself, you cannot love someone else better and you cannot attract value from someone else.
For your job, tying your worth to your job or accomplishments is also a big risk. This is because you can be dismissed, replaced or demoted.
And when this happens, you will lose the worth you placed on yourself based on your job and accomplishments.
You will begin to feel you have no use or importance because you’re not performing the activities, or you are not around the people that share the same working goals as you.
Your job is one of the things that don’t define you or your worth. However, there is nothing wrong with being proud of what you do, finding joy or fulfillment in it or letting it shape who you are; the danger is letting it define your entire sense of self.
How to build self-worth?
- Increase your self-understanding: Self-understanding is a very important step in building your self-worth. You need to learn who you are and what you want before you can decide how worthy you are.
Adam Sicinski, a life coach recommends some thought experiment to work on increasing your understanding of yourself. Ask yourself the following questions;
- What if everything I have was suddenly taken away from me?
- What if all I had left was just myself?
- How would that make me feel?
- What would I have that would be of value?
After thinking of your answers, see if you can come to this conclusion: “No matter what happens externally and no matter what’s taken away from me, I’m not affected internally”.
Get to know yourself on a deeper level by answering these questions”
- Who am I and who am I not?
- How am I?
- How am I in the world?
- What do others see me as?
- What key life moments define who I am today?
- What gives me the most passion, fulfillment, and joy?
The next step is to get to know your flaws: what isn’t so great or easy about being you. Ask yourself;
- Where do I struggle most?
- Where do I need to improve?
- What fears often hold me back?
- Where do I tend to consistently let myself down?
- Ask yourself what your special qualities are?
- What are your strengths?
- What are you good at?
As you spend time answering these questions, endeavor to pay more attention to your strengths (the steps that remind you of your worth).
- Boost yourself acceptance: After completing step 1, you now have a better idea of who you are. The next step is to enhance your acceptance of yourself.
Start by forgiving yourself for anything you noted in the area of stating your flaws/weaknesses. Commit to forgiving yourself and accepting yourself without judgment or excuses.
This step also requires you to stop comparing yourself to others and evaluating your every move.
In other words, you need to challenge your critical inner value, the one in your head that constantly nags you with destructive thoughts towards yourself or others.
This inner voice undermines your sense of self-worth and may even lead to self-destruction or maladaptive behaviors that may make you feel worse about yourself.
You are the champion of your life, you owe yourself, your thought, and your thinking, you have the power to control anything that is going on inside you.
- Develop self-love: After accepting yourself for who you are, you can begin to build love and care for yourself. Make it a goal to extend kindness, tolerance, compassion, and generosity.
Commit to being more positive and uplifting when talking to yourself. Say to yourself; I love myself wholeheartedly, I am worthy and a capable person.
- Acknowledge your self-worth: At this point, after completing the step above, you no longer allow your accomplishments and other external factors and people to determine your self-worth.
This step entails acknowledge and appreciate yourself for how far you’ve come while maintaining self-understanding, self-acceptance, self-love, and self-worth.
That is why sometimes, people that have a clear vision of who they are, people tend to call themselves proud people because they understand themselves and know exactly what they want
To acknowledge self-worth, you need to remind yourself that;
- Your actions should not be to please people
- You alone can control how you feel about yourself no matter what people say or do and regardless of what situations you face on the external
- You have the power to respond to situations or circumstances based on your internal sources and resources which are reflections of your true value.
- Your value comes from the inside, from the internal measure you’ve set for yourself.
- Take responsibility for yourself: This stage requires you to stop blaming people for your problems or mistakes and practice being responsible for yourself, your circumstances, and your problems.
Blaming anybody for your predicament cannot heal you instead you will be swallowed in self-pity, always in pain, moody but when you take responsibility for your situation, you will be at peace with yourself, then you will find a way to rise above your problem and still comport yourself.
After taking responsibility for your actions, acknowledge that you have the power to change and influence the events and circumstances of your life, instead of drowning in sadness and regrets.
Remind yourself of what you have learned from those experiences and how this lesson can help you avoid the same circumstances or handle them if they occur again in the future.
Self-worth is a very important part of our lives. It can influence our decisions, relationships, friendships, and other areas of our lives.
When working on knowing your worth and putting a value on yourself, make sure you follow the steps listed in this article as it will help you understand yourself and accept your flaws and will also help you base your worth on your inner value rather than your external values.