No matter how successful, older or experienced we get, many of us still battle with that little (unhelpful) voice from time to time which says, “I am not good enough”.
And when we doubt our self-worth, we end up hurting ourselves in many ways. We accept less in our relationships at work and at home, we don’t treat ourselves fairly, we overwork or overcompensate, we run chasing after milestones etc., because we believe if we do all that, it might increase our self-worth.
Having a strong sense of self-worth means we know that we are lovable, acceptable and good enough just as we are. Even if we don’t have millions of dollars in the bank or millions of followers on the gram – it does not make us less worthy than the next person.
However, as a coach when I speak with individuals and leaders, I often sense a lack of self-worth. Many of us have developed an unhealthy definition of what self-worth looks like. Today, I want to bust some myths and offer some reminders for ourselves.
These are the few things which DO NOT define how worthy we are:
1. Length of your To-Do List or how busy you are
Ask the next person you meet about how they are doing and most likely their response would be some form of “I am busy”.
Busy has become the norm. Everyone is always busy – running from one project, one event, one meeting to another. Even the weekends are packed and scheduled.
So much so, that people have forgotten how to do nothing. How to have rest days? How to have nothing on the agenda and still be relaxed about it?
However, I want to remind us that being busy is not the same as being productive neither it is an achievement. Anyone can be busy.
Let us stop defining our self-worth or our productivity based on how long our to-do list is. Take a holiday and schedule nothing. Check no lists. And don’t try to be productive and multitask. Let yourself be. And that is enough.
2. Your body shape or weight
When I had my first child, I put on a lot of weight. 35 pounds to be precise. As a result of which, my body image and confidence took a little bit of a hit.
In the first couple of months, whenever I would go to meet friends or clients at work, I would think to myself, “Oh what would they think?! That Nidhi has put on so much weight. She is not that smart or capable now.”
It was illogical to think that way. Of course, putting on weight was normal and had not damaged my capability to be a good friend or to be a good coach or speaker, in the least. But that is how I felt. I only wish I had known back then, that my talent, my beauty or my self-worth were above my shape or weight. I wish I could shake that younger self up and ask her to relax and completely accept my new self.
So, today, if you ever are doubting yourself or your talent, your beauty, your success or your worth based on a number on a scale or size of a dress, please stop. Your worth can not be defined with some petty numbers – you are more than that.
3. Your mistakes and failures
I have often heard well-meaning and talented friends and colleagues say things like, “I could never give a public speech again. I once had such a disastrous experience, that I don’t think I am meant for it.”
The problem here is that they have identified themselves with that one mistake or seeming failure. We are not our mistakes and our failures, and we are certainly not defined by them.
We can learn from our mistakes and allow that wisdom to shape our future experiences and decisions. But to let those mistakes define us or our self-worth would be a mistake.
4. Opinion of other people about you
Like many of us out there, I have battled with the idea of everyone accepting me and having a good opinion about me. When I was in school or even later at university, I used to be appalled at the idea of someone not liking me. If someone had a negative or disagreeable opinion about me, it would make me very uncomfortable.
As I grew and started on the path of spirituality and self-acceptance, I realized that the opinion of others had little effect on my life. There was no correlation between my happiness and their opinion. Then why should I spend so much time worrying and thinking about that.
5. Your Accomplishments Summary
This is a tricky one. While it is great to be reminded of our accomplishments and to have a list to refer to, whenever we need, it still does not make us any more or less worthy.
Often, I have noticed that people tie all their self-worth to a few big achievements of their life, and then if they are unable to replicate it, they began to feel like they are not good anymore.
It is great to have a zest for life, have a few stretch goals and accomplish them. At the same time, at the core of our hearts, we must remember that, even if we never achieve any of that, we would still be very worthy.
So, your next question might be – “What are the parameters that define self-worth then?”
The answer is – None. There is no scale or checklist that can measure that.
YOU ARE WORTHY. That is all. Just by the virtue of being here on this planet, you are worthy.
And when you remind yourself that you are worthy – worthy of all the good things in life – worthy of your love and care and attention, you will behave differently.
You will start taking care of yourself more, you will make healthier choices in everything in life – be it food or people. You will say no to situations which bring harm. You will stop waiting to live a beautiful, joyous life and start living a beautiful joyous life.
And that is all that we want, after all. Isn’t it?