You know what I’m hearing a lot about these days?
As in, a lot of my clients are struggling with it. Maybe it’s a year of a global pandemic, but people are talking to themselves with a lot of negativity. Unsurprisingly, it's bringing them down.
This post was even inspired by something I saw on Instagram that said “Would you be friends with someone who talked to you the way you talk to yourself?”
And that’s what self-worth comes down to: how you talk to yourself. If you feel blah, what thoughts are you thinking that are making you feel blah? Because the emotions we feel are governed by what we think.
Don’t like how you feel? You might need to try thinking differently. Trust me, this is easier said than done, because we can easily think a different thought, but believing it, that’s another thing! I can think “Search Engine Optimization is fun!” until I’m blue in the face, but I will never be excited to work on it because I just don’t believe that statement.
Most of us want to go through life feeling confident and generally happy. I guarantee that the most confident and happy people we know are the ones who have high self-worth. But how did they get that way?
Before I dive in, let me go on record as saying that we are all 100% worthy. It is part of the human package; the instant you are born, you are worthy. There is no “worthiness scale”, where some people are more worthy than others. We are all worthy. It just comes down to how much you believe in your own self-worth.
How come some people can easily believe that statement and others are looking at it through a brick wall? Are some people just born with a better sense of value? Or do they make a practice of acting a certain way, which helps to keep them feeling positive about who they are?
When you talk to people with high self-worth, you find that they have a lot of things in common. Those who feel good about themselves tend to think a certain way. Let's look at a few of the ideas which keep people feeling worthy even when life might be difficult.
They Understand Where Mistakes Fit
Everyone messes up now and again. If you’re like me, it’s more often than not! The person with self-worth recognizes this. They take responsibility for the action and understand that just because something went wrong, it doesn't change who they are as a person. They still value themselves even when they make a mistake.
This probably comes from my engineering background, but I find it really helpful to think of trying new things as experiments. There are no failures in experiments, just discoveries that don’t support the hypothesis. For some reason, this helps me separate me (the ego, self-esteem part) from the experimenter who’s just gathering data.
They Don't Get Caught up in the Trappings of Life
Who you are has a whole lot less to do with what you have than you might think. It doesn't matter how much money is in your bank account, whether you are wearing the right clothes, or if you have the "right" education. Your value has a lot more to do with who you are inside than who you are outside. You are still worthy even if you have very little in the way of possessions or money.
In order to dive into this further without consuming this entire article, I created a free downloadable guide called Get Real With Yourself: 11 Things You Think Define Your Self-Worth But Don’t. In it, I debunk eleven common things I hear clients believe make them who they are... but just miss the mark. I also tell you how to turn yourself around if you find yourself falling into those esteem traps. You can get the guide by clicking here.
For example, I love to-do lists and especially checking things off them. I could easily base my self-worth on how many checks I have at the end of the day. I needed to turn that thinking around to doing what’s most important, even if it’s the only thing I do that day. Even superman could only stop one apocalypse in a day!
They Don't Chase Happiness
Who you are has very little to do with whatever emotion you happen to be feeling in the moment. If you are not happy, it does not mean that you are not worthy. Period.
You're going to feel what you're going to feel. Individuals with high self-worth realize this and accept their emotions for what they are: a reflection of their emotional state and not of personal value.
You have two choices here. In the first choice, you can let the emotion settle in and just watch it with some curiosity. You accept that it is how you are feeling and know that “this, too, shall pass”. For me, this option works on that occasional dreary day, when you just feel “off” about everything.
The second option is to actively seek a better thought to lead to a better emotion. A simple example is about doing the dishes. I can tell myself I hate doing the dishes and feel angry that I have to do them again! Or I can think “ten minutes and I’ll have the cleared counters that I love” and feel eager to get the ten minutes over with so I can have something I really appreciate.
They Take Responsibility for How They Feel
When you have strong feelings of self-worth, you do not need other people to define you. Here’s an example that my mentor uses. Suppose you are a blond and someone comes up to you and says they hate your blue hair. You’d look at them as if they were crazy and think “what are they talking about, clearly there’s something wrong with them!” and you would go on with your day, not giving the comment another thought.
That’s pretty much the same reaction you should have when anyone criticizes you. The more comfortable you are with who you really are, the easier this is to master.
This also means you need to drop any victim mentality. That means that you don’t get to blame others for how you feel. For me, this thought starts with “if only…” If only my son would pick up his wet towels off the bathroom floor, I wouldn’t be so frustrated. If only my boss would make five minutes for me to talk to him, I would feel more valued. If only my dog didn’t bark at every little noise, I could relax.
They say no one can make you feel anything without your permission. This is truer than you might realize. It's up to you to decide who you are. And what you feel. No one else has this right unless you give it to them.
Of course, there are other things people with high self-worth do. They practice empathy, especially with themselves. They love their job and set goals that make sense to them. The common thread? They do things that honor them. They don't make compromises or get caught up in doing what they think they 'should' but instead focus on what's right for them.
You can do this, too, by merely paying attention to your choices and holding fast to thoughts that define who you are.
And don't forget the free download Get Real with Yourself available here!
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: Be the kind of woman that, when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says, “Oh crap, she’s up!”