Lately, I’ve been thinking about self-worth rather a lot. I believe this the foundation for self-confidence. Self-worth also goes hand-in-hand with self-acceptance, self-respect and self-love.
For years, I battled with self-acceptance comparing myself with other people and wanting what they had or to be like them. It felt like it was a constant race to achieve more in order to be better so I could have a ‘place’, to belong somewhere, to fit in and be accepted and to feel worthy. It’s nothing wrong of course to want to better yourself but not if it’s going to be the measure of your worth.
On the outside, I considered myself successful in my career and education. But on the inside there was a missing jigsaw piece in the puzzle. I felt a lack of contentment because I didn’t feel what I’d done was worthy or good enough, which was why I felt the need to ‘better’ myself.
For half of my childhood, I was brought up by my paternal grandparents and living with and surrounded by my extended families. As a child, I always worked hard for my education because not only I wanted to do well for myself but I also felt I had to prove to my family that I was worth looking after and it was a gesture of gratitude. My upbringing was so strict that in order to be noticed and get what I asked, I had to behave well and be obedient. I was often not heard and certainly was hardly asked for opinions. I was told what to do and I would do them, sometime begrudgingly. (I always have had rebel streaks in me and now and again they would come out to play with quite dire consequences! I don’t like being told what to do, but then again, who does?!). Achieving good grades in school was a token of success. Don’t get me wrong, of course, achievements should be celebrated but the expense to achieve the success was not even considered. You know, like happiness. It was mostly about being clever – working hard to achieve good grades and being in the top three in class. I know they meant well, they instilled the hard-working ethics to achieve the desired success.
The hard-working ethics continued throughout my adult life, even now, as I have always wanted to ‘have a good life’. But the meaning of ‘having a good life’ looked and felt different from then to now. It was more than having a successful career and education, although they were important to me too. These days, it means having a sense self-worth and believing that I’m worthy and deserving of what I want. I wish I had realised this sooner because having a lack sense of self-worth affected my confidence and held me back.
It’s not what you are that is holding you back. It’s what you think you are not – Anonymous
As I learned that I didn’t need to be noticed, valued or accepted by anyone to be worthy, I gradually began to accept, value and love myself as I am. Believing that you’re worthy of what you want feels liberating and awakening at the same time.
My experiences happened for me and not to me and they shaped my path to be where I am and how I am today – hardworking, resilient, ambitious, yet fair, compassionate, and caring.
Self-respect, self-worth and self-love, all start with self. Stop looking outside of yourself for your value –Rob Liano
Self-worth comes from thinking that you ARE a good person and deserve good things. You determine your self-worth so you don’t have to depend on somebody telling you who you are or what your worth is or what you deserve. And your worth doesn’t decrease when others can’t see or appreciate it because the best part of self-worth is just it SELF worth and not others’ worth.
Do you often feel that you're not worthy or deserving of what you want? No matter what it is, do you feel guilty for wanting it, let alone thinking you deserve to have it? What makes you feel this way?
What experiences did you have that had impacts on your ability to see your self-worth?
Your greatest self has been waiting your whole life; don’t make it wait any longer - Steve Maraboli.
Through self-acceptance, came self-love. To be accepted by others, you have to accept yourself first.