Valuing your worth as a human involves recognising who you really are. By that I don’t mean what you do, what you own, how many friends you have or how many followers you’re up to on your social channels. There’s a reason why ‘self’ is placed before the words ‘self-love’, ‘self-esteem’, ‘self-respect.’ You cannot find these things in anyone or anything else and although it can be challenging, raising your self-worth can have a huge impact on your life, making it a more positive and happy place to be.
One study at the University of Michigan found that students who base their self-worth on external sources such as appearance, academic performance and approval from others, reported more stress, anger and relationship challenges. They also had higher levels of alcohol and drug use, as well as more mental health issues. On the reverse, those that pro-actively practiced raising their self worth from within, showed fewer signs and symptoms of conflict.
So how do you go about improving your self worth? What can you do to help improve your self-acceptance and start learning to be okay with who you really are? Here are 5 ways to get you started.
My first suggestion might seem simple on the surface but it can take a while for the transition to happen. Raising your self worth by association involves looking at who you spend your time with and how these interactions are impacting your life. To help create a better internal environment which supports improved self-worth, start spending time with people that live at a ‘higher temperature’ than you. If your self worth is low, find people in the workplace or socially who inspire you in some way. Build relationships that are positive and serve you in a favourable way.
This isn’t about ditching people and shutting down doors to relationships that have grown and changed over time; it’s about checking in with yourself and looking around you, to see who you are spending considerable time with.
Take an athletics runner as an example. Keep that runner in the same group, with the same people, that are running at the same level and chances are, that runner won’t change in pace a great deal – unless they have the right support on a mental and physical level, to help them make those changes. Move that runner to a new group of better runners, and over time, that runner, will start working towards matching the pace of the new group. If you don’t have a great deal of self-worth or esteem, look out for the people around you that can help you to raise your game.
By challenging your inner critic
We all know we can be our worst enemy at times. We pick ourselves apart and put ourselves down for mistakes made or things we’re not happy with about ourselves, or things we have done. This internalised dialogue of critical thoughts or ‘inner voices’ undermines our sense of self-worth and even leads to self-destructive behaviours, which make us feel even worse about ourselves.
Start working on challenging your inner critic. Notice when you are being too hard on yourself and when you need to extend some kindness instead. Stop, pause and re-phrase what you are saying to yourself. Positive self talk is so important in this process and by re-framing any negative talk into the positive, it can really help to move you out of any destructive internal dialogue that is going on for you.
Instead of ‘I’m not clever enough’ – ‘I’m growing and discovering new things each day.’
Instead of ‘I’m always anxious’ – ‘I’m finding ways to feel more comfortable with the challenges I face.’
Instead of ‘I don’t like the way I look’ – ‘I’m enough just the way I am’.
Say it over again in your head or out loud to help you actively challenge your thought patterns.
By recognising your strengths
Step back and enjoy your accomplishments no matter how small. Notice when you’ve stuck to something that you said you wanted to do. Notice when you’ve achieved a personal task or goal that you set yourself. Congratulate yourself and don’t be afraid to admit when you succeeded. A good way to raise your self worth is by establishing a good reputation with yourself. Find out what is important to you, discover positive habits and actions that will help you build a life that means something to you and then do your best to stick to what you’ve set out do. Celebrate your achievements whenever you’ve followed through.
Take on board praise and learn to be okay with it. I absolutely love hearing people celebrate in their successes because it seems so common for people to make themselves small when they receive a compliment or praise these days. ‘Oh it was nothing’, ‘I think I could have done better.’ It’s not being big headed to actually take a compliment on board from someone and agree that ‘yes, I think I did really well.’ Enjoy compliments a little and try to squirm a little less.
Recognising your strengths is about establishing some personal integrity.
Through Self Care
Finding ways to be kind to yourself isn’t just about daily activities which help to bring about balance and clarity. It’s also about being kind enough to say ‘no’ when you need to. Start to understand where your boundaries are, particularly when it relates to your core values and beliefs. You will earn respect from others for doing what is right for you in the long run. Those that cannot see this and won’t at least try to see this, or offer you the space to be who you are, should not be given too much of your precious energy.
Through compassion and forgiveness
Along with self care, start becoming aware of how kind you are being to yourself. Being compassionate to yourself (and others) will naturally increase how much you value yourself as a person.
Make sure to:
- Acknowledge and notice your own suffering.
- Be kind and caring in response to other peoples suffering.
- Love yourself enough, so that when someone treats you wrong, you recognise it.
- Keep in mind that imperfection is part of the human experience and something we all share.
Part of being compassionate to yourself is also about forgiving yourself. Forgiving is not forgetting. It’s remembering without anger, upset or distress. It gives you a sense of peace and allows you to move forward, rather than being stuck in the past. Forgiving is integral in establishing your own self worth, as it recognises that mistakes have and will be made. We are all growing.
You must teach your sense of self
To stand upon its own two feet
Instead of propped up on the views
Of every person that you meet
The things that I have mentioned above are just some of the ways you can start raising your self-worth. I really hope, even if you take just one thing away from this, you find it useful and helpful. Just remember, You won’t find your sense of worth in someone else. You won’t find your sense of worth in a job, or in the things you buy either. You will find your worth within yourself…and then the other things will fall into place. 🙂