You don’t want to feel dead inside anymore. At work, at parties, in your relationships, when you get dressed in the morning. Seriously, I get it. It's time to figure out why a true sense of contentment is just out of reach for you—why you can’t seem to say no… or yes… to what life is throwing at you, day in and day out.
Could this all be connected to your sense of self-worth?
>>Self-Worth Defined: the sense of one's own value or worth as a person
Let’s start by looking at some common misconceptions...
Self-worth is not a fixed personality trait, it’s more like a muscle.
Very few people are simply born and raised having super high self-worth at all times. It’s not as if Suzie just has what it takes, and you’re a lost cause. For most, there are natural ebbs and flows to one’s sense of worthiness. Over time, self-worth is something that you develop through life experience—the ups, downs, and in-betweens that shape human life and perceptions of self.
Just as muscles require different types of training for proper strength, endurance, balance, alignment, and flexibility, there are a variety of ways to develop self-worth (no matter your age). High self-worth is attainable, and I’ll show you some ways to work towards it.
Self-worth is different from confidence and self-esteem, which are more situation-specific and goal-driven qualities; self-worth is internally driven.
Self-worth's cousin, self-esteem, is actually a person's ability to accurately measure and appreciate both their strengths and their weaknesses. For instance: "I'm great at connecting in small groups, but I get easily flustered in large masses of people, and I'm ok with that!"
Think about it: Some people who are told they’re amazing their entire lives still don’t have high self-worth, while others who’ve been berated for all eternity still manage to feel pretty darn good about themselves most of the time. (Hint: they've probably worked on this!)
Self-worth is not about reaching goals in order to feel happy, pretty, socially skilled, or more "physically fit". Solid self-worth requires no goals, no measurements; it’s a belief that you are whole, innately good, and worthy of love: fundamentally from yourSELF, first and foremost.
The caveat: like confidence, it is something that can be built over time with continued practice and commitment.
Healthy self-worth is not measured by one's ability to tough it out or rely on harsh self-discipline.
Anything that smacks of I’ll be happy when ___[I lose the weight, I get the girl, I have a baby, I get the job]___ is an indicator that something is off. If you are putting off your own happiness, walking around as a shell of your former self, just going through the motions, then you have likely placed your self-worth outside of your self. Life is just too short for living this way: unfulfilled, resentful, and denying your own authentic sense wellbeing.
So, what is it and how can I get it???
Self-worth is the relationship you have with yourself (it’s in the way you talk to yourself!)
AND: it’s also based on your interactions with others, as seen in the company you keep, the boundaries you set, and the experiences you allow into your life.
“If you are continually judging and criticizing yourself while trying to be kind to others, you are drawing artificial boundaries and distinctions that only lead to feelings of separation and isolation.” ~Kristin Neff
You can build, flex and grow self-worth, here’s how to start (don't wait!):
Pay attention to your “gut feelings” about the decisions you’re faced with every day. Trust yourself.
Honor your emotions, but recognize when they’re dominating you in an unhelpful way. Feel them, name them, and then decide in the moment if you need to reframe your thoughts, and change your behaviors.
Monitor your self-talk. Stay away from should, ought to, and need to statements. Comparing yourself to others is a fast track to disappointment.
Practice self-compassion. See this article for a summary.
Set boundaries using clear communication. Let others deal with their own feelings (i.e., disappointment, anger). Remember: you can only control your own thoughts, actions, and reactions.
Set positive intentions, ditch the New Year’s resolutions. Write down affirmations, high vibe declarations, or a theme word on a daily/nightly/weekly/monthly/seasonal basis. It doesn’t matter when or how— it just matters that you keep yourself in a mindset of self-love and nurturance… and that you make this a practice. Practice makes good enough!
Say no to self-blame and shame. Self-worth development calls for hard work and honesty with yourself, so go gently. Considering reaching out to a therapist or mindset coach if you continue to feel stuck in any of these areas.
If you take away one thing from this article, I hope it is that it’s never too late to put yourself first. In fact, if you wish to be more present in your relationships, work, and play, then this should become priority number one! As always, I’d love for you to leave me your thoughts or share this on social media.
PS: For more information on my psychotherapy services, go here. Be well!