One of the most important things to know in life is your own intrinsic worth. The kind of self-worth, self-esteem and value that doesn’t change based upon other’s thoughts or actions. When you know and accept your worth, exactly as you are, the opinions of others are only that–opinions. Perhaps their opinions are valuable, perhaps not. People offer us insight into ourself and life in many ways, but who we are and our worth is not tied to their evaluation. All humans desire love and validation from the people they value. But even when someone doesn’t give approval, validation or love, it does not change our worth.
Depending upon our upbringing and whether our emotional needs were met by our important care-givers (parents or others), our perception of self can be affected by absence, disapproval, judgment, criticism, excessive control, or a lack of validation and praise for who we are and what we do. When we doubt our worth, it sets in motion many thoughts, feelings and behaviors we may or may not be aware of in our relationships with others. Often a lack of self-worth leads to unnecessary fears that can erode confidence and create unnecessary doubts.
When this takes place, one or both partners in a relationship may jump to erroneous conclusions about the other based solely upon fears that lack basis in reality. In order to reduce these fears and to achieve some level of reassurance, a person lacking solid self-worth may rely on convincing behaviors, over-giving and controlling behaviors in an attempt to prove their self-worth and to assuage (at least temporarily) their own self-doubts. In some cases, a person with little self-worth may believe their worth is entirely dependent upon the love and acceptance of the object of their affection, when in fact the acceptance or rejection of another has nothing to do with our self-worth and everything to do with a whole host of other factors.
The good news is even if you currently lack a solid sense of self-worth from various experiences from the past, you can still achieve a solid sense of self-worth now. To begin your journey to self-worth, consider these simple steps:
- Take stock of who you are. We often take for granted our best qualities and focus on those things we would like to change or improve. Instead, take a look at all you qualities, beliefs, and all that you bring to your life and others. Avoid judgment and simply get a sense of your total picture as an individual.
- Appreciate your unique qualities, strengths and gifts of spirit. You bring a unique worth to others every day whether you realize this or not. You are worth everything, even when you don’t get or find what you are looking for. Value all that you offer. Accept your positive and negative traits and know that whether or not they meet your approval, your worth is complete regardless.
- Know what you value. Make a list of what you value in yourself, in life and in others. Be true to your self-worth by respecting and defending what you value.
- Know and respect your boundaries. When you know your values, you also know where to draw the line–to create personal boundaries that protect your values and self-worth. Honor your boundaries out of self-respect.
- Don’t get hung up on flaws. We all have flaws. The important thing to remember is we are not defined by our flaws. Some make us uniquely us, others can be overcome. Change what you desire to and forgive what you cannot change.
- Put the past in perspective. Past experiences can shake your confidence and make you question your worth. But the past has only the significance and influence you allow. No one experience defines you. You are worth far more that anyone may ever realize.
- Love and honor yourself. Always, no matter the circumstances, love and honor yourself. This is a non-negotiable. Even when you are disappointed in yourself or don’t find the love or acceptance you desire from another, you deserve your own love and respect–flaws and all.
- Know that the right person will love you as you are right now. Love does not judge flaws nor require perfection. Love acknowledges, forgives and understands that we are all imperfect.
- True love exists only when both parties respect themselves and each other. No other person can fill you with self-worth or love. When you love yourself you can share all that you are with another who does the same.
- What we believe, others will believe as well. This is a simple truth. If you are filled with self-doubt, others will sense this and doubt this as well. When you value yourself and know your self-worth, others sense this as well and it is magnetic. Know your worth. Others will too.
We would love to hear you thoughts and experiences regarding self-worth and how it has affected your life and relationships. Join in the discussion in the comments section now.