Part 3: Self-Worth – The Next Building Block to Loving Yourself Fully
This is part 3 in a 5 part blog series, so if you’ve missed the others, be sure to check them out. Part 1 is all about the basics of self-love and what actually defines it. Part 2 dives deep into the first aspect of self-awareness, which is the foundation for not only self-love, but also for all personal growth and transformation. In today’s exploration, we will be diving into the second aspect of self-love, and that is the concept of self-worth.
Self-worth often gets confused with self-esteem. Unlike self-esteem, which has more to do with how we generally feel about ourselves, self-worth focuses more on the level of value that we place on ourselves. Merriam Webster dictionary defines self-worth as “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect.” Even with this definition, it can be extremely easy to fall into the trap of measuring ourselves and our value by outside standards such as the ranking in our jobs, or our ranking in society as a whole, but a healthy self-worth is not about this kind of measurement. A truly healthy self-worth is about valuing who you are as a person, not what you do, and a healthy self-worth is one based on your own standards, not those of society or of others outside of you.
Very often people will also gauge their self-worth on the status of their relationships. However, the danger of gauging your self-worth on your relationship status is that we only think we are deserving of love when we are receiving it from someone outside of us. We are literally giving away our power by not loving ourselves first. This kind of limiting belief (often an underlying, subconsciously held belief) is extremely detrimental to our self-love. If we are being led by this kind of belief, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment in our relationships, and we are disempowering ourselves.
A healthy self-worth is not dependent on outside circumstances and this especially includes relationships. When we have a healthy self-worth, and practice loving ourselves regularly, we can have more meaningful and deeper relationships as a result. Essentially, the better we love ourselves, the better we can love another, and the better we can receive love from another.
Developing a healthy self-worth is an ever evolving practice, much like self-awareness. Are you catching the vibe here after reading the previous self love articles? All of these things that relate to loving ourselves, to becoming better versions of ourselves, etc – they are always in process. There isn’t a finish line, as these aspects of ourselves are ever evolving and ever changing, just like we are as individuals, so how do we tackle this, knowing there is no finish line? The key to developing a healthy self-worth and empowering ourselves starts with self acceptance.
We empower ourselves and show ourselves love through self-acceptance when we choose to love and accept every part of ourselves, even the parts that we may be aware of that aren’t the “brightest” or the parts that we don’t particularly like. This is especially true when it comes to the mistakes we make, or the high standards that we set for ourselves that we don’t always hit. Practicing acceptance of these things doesn’t mean we don’t want to change them or that we don’t want to improve, it just means that we can recognize that we are human, we are not perfect, and expecting perfection is harmful to our self-worth and to our self-love.
Practicing self acceptance begins with practicing self forgiveness, and recognizing that perfection in any aspect of life is not a realistic goal. I frequently invite my clients to talk to themselves the way they would talk to their best friend or a dear loved one. So often, we end up beating ourselves up and holding ourselves to standards that we would never expect from those we love; standards that are so unattainable we have no choice but to not live up to them. By simply accepting the idea that we are not perfect, and that we are not meant to be perfect, we open the door to self acceptance, and we empower ourselves by practicing and creating a healthy self-worth.
Having a healthy self-worth also directly relates to how we relate with that good ol’ inner critic, and this is a key aspect in self-acceptance. A key in changing how we relate to the inner critic lies in the practice and development of self-awareness which was already discussed in this blog post. As we become more aware of our conditioned behaviors, we start to see ourselves in a more loving way, so when that inner critic comes up to put us down, we are able to stay positive and develop a strong sense of self-worth. As we become more practiced in self-acceptance, we are also able to “converse” with this inner critic in a way that is loving and beneficial instead of one that is negative and non accepting.
It is important to recognize that the inner critic does indeed come from a loving place in you. In reality, it is motivating you to do your absolute best, and sometimes that “tough love” kind of motivation is exactly what we need. However, this kind of self-talk becomes detrimental to our self-worth when it is the only way we engage ourselves, and when we are constantly trying to live up to those standards of perfectionism or hold ourselves accountable to unrealistic goals.
If you’re struggling with taming your inner critic, or if you find yourself stuck or lost in the views that your inner critic paints for you, 1:1 Coaching can be a great place to learn new strategies and new ways of relating to your inner critic. Applying to work with me is free, and I would love to be able to guide you into a deeper, more loving relationship with yourself, so apply today!
Another great way to increase your self-worth is by engaging in meaningful activities that allow you to be of service to others. This can be as small as helping someone carry their groceries to their car or home, or as large as volunteering at a local non-profit for a cause that you are passionate about. Whatever you can do to help yourself live up to your own personal, loving, and realistic standards, you can utilize in your path to building your self-worth.The key is to give yourself grace, and understand no one is perfect and no one is meant to be perfect.
As we develop a healthier sense of self-worth, we gain more access to our inherent personal power. When we show ourselves self-love through a strong, positive self-worth, we grow in our resiliency. We have more energy and motivation to continue on in life, even if it is challenging or difficult. Life is always a series of ups and downs, so the more personal power we have, the better we are. Growing in our self-worth gives us access to that personal power.
If you’d like to engage in a fun activity to get to know yourself a bit deeper and develop a deeper understanding of your self worth, I highly recommend this tool from Positive Psychology. I often utilize their tools and resources in my coaching sessions, but this one is available to anyone for free so check it out!
Be sure to check out the next article in this 5 part series that dives into self-esteem. If you haven’t already, also be sure to check out the previous 2 articles in this series that define self-love, and dive into self-awareness, the key to all personal transformation and the key to creating and maintaining a healthy state of self-love.