Walking across the stage at your college graduation?
That time you nailed a presentation at work and finally got the recognition you deserve?
Running a 10-minute mile with energy to spare?
Or maybe even hitting your goal weight and fitting into those jeans you’ve been coveting since forever?
Those are all proud moments, for sure. But when moments like this are where your self-worth comes from, Houston, we have a problem.
Think about what all of these things have in common: your feeling of self-worth was a result of an achievement.
“What’s wrong with that?”, you might be asking. Well, there’s nothing inherently wrong with feeling confidence or a feeling of self-worth as a result of an achievement.
The problem is because, for most of us, our self-worth is conditional on achievement.
Which means if there is no achievement or positive outcome, our confidence goes down the toilet.
As long as you’re achieving, your self-worth stays intact. But what happens when things don’t go the way you’ve planned? Does that mean you lose value as a human being?
Of course not.
While achievements can certainly boost your confidence, it’s a long and bumpy road when your self-worth is riding on them. If you don’t believe in your inherent worth (with or without those achievements), then you’ll constantly be chasing the next shiny thing, and you’ll never be able to just enjoy the deliciousness of self-acceptance.
So where should you be looking for your self-worth?
The short answer is “from within”. But since that’s a little abstract, I’ll elaborate.
We, as human beings, are basically little droplets of God (or spirit, or universe, whatever you prefer to call it). The bodies we live in, glorious as they are, are basically just meatsuits that we wear so that we can live life as human beings.
Have you ever thought about how awesome it is that you’re on planet Earth as a human being, and not as a cockroach or a fruit fly?
You beat out millions of sperm in order to become a human. Your body, with little help from you, was able to blossom from a tiny tadpole into a fully-developed person. A person who is capable of emotion, intelligent thought, and has 5 physical senses to guide you through the world.
You’re capable of love, compassion, generosity, appreciation, and the world is a better place for it.
Think about how you basically won the lottery just to be able to live in the skin you’re in. No matter what you do or don’t accomplish in this life, your worth is never in question.
Does your self-worth need a tune-up?
When you are as gentle with yourself as you would be with those you love most, the whole world benefits.
But most people don’t even realize that their self-worth is lacking. Luckily, there’s an easy way to recognize it: GUILT.
Guilt is a huge indicator that you don’t feel you deserve to feel good. “I shouldn’t watch TV until the house is clean”, “I’ll feel guilty if I eat this hamburger and don’t work out extra hard tomorrow”, “It’s selfish of me to book a much-needed massage when I could be buying the kids new clothes”.
If you find yourself feeling guilty, ask yourself why that is. What do you believe you should be doing at that moment instead? And according to whom? After all, “should” is usually a sign that you’re in people-pleasing mode.
Other people’s opinions are not nearly reliable enough to base your self-worth on them. So do yourself a favour and don’t bother trying; it’s exhausting.
Tips for unshakeable self-worth
You discover your self-worth by practicing it–daily. It’s not a one-and-done kind of deal, like whipping up a self-worth pie, eating it, and then never have to think about it again.
Practicing self-worth means doing things like:
Taking care of your body because you appreciate all it does for you (not because you think you’ll be happier if you lose weight)
Eating and enjoying delicious food and leaving the guilt behind
Speaking of guilt, become more aware of it when it comes up and practice letting it go.
Get back to hobbies or activities that you love doing, but that have fallen by the wayside in order to take care of everyone else (or take up a new hobby, for that matter!)
Wear clothes that fit and feel good, rather than trying to squeeze into a smaller (uncomfortable) size for vanity’s sake.
Appreciate as often as possible how amazing it is just to be alive on this planet, in this day and age. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t worthy.
If you struggle to detach your appearance from your self-worth, start by just appreciating how your body functions (Your heart beats! Your brain thinks! Your limbs move!)
Let go of needing everyone around you to be “to your liking”. The more you allow others to live their lives as they please, the more you give yourself permission to do the same.
Let go of the belief that anyone else is “better” than you. It’s all a lie, no matter what anyone says.
You are inherently worthy. You have nothing to prove (to yourself or anyone else). You don’t need to be “fixed”. You aren’t broken. You are deserving of everything you could possibly want, whether you allow yourself to receive it or not.
You are perfect.