Yesterday on my personal Facebook account, I posted a public status update about some of the reasons why women (I can’t speak for men because I have the personal experience as a woman) deal with negative feelings about ourselves. I also said that I would share the secret of self-worth today.
What Is Self-Worth?
Self-worth is how we feel about ourselves. It is whether we feel like we are worthy of treating ourselves well, having others treat us well, or even having a good life. A lot of people have a very low self-worth. I prefer the term ‘self-worth’ to ‘self-esteem.’
The Biggest Issue You Have with Your Self-Worth
The biggest issue you have with your self-worth is that you’re looking for it in the wrong places. Yes, places. Plural. The first mistake is thinking that how others feel about you should define how YOU feel about you. If you grew up in an abusive environment or if you were bullied (or both), it can be hard to feel like you are worthy of a good, peaceful life because others didn’t find you were worth that as a child or young adult.
The problem with putting our self-worth into the hands of others is two-fold. First, consider yourself as an example. Do you like you? Most people do not like themselves. So, if someone can’t like themselves…how can we give them the power to determine the worth of anyone else? Second, most people will never be happy. You cannot make people happy all of the time. You cannot allow your self-worth to be measured by another person’s happiness with what you do or don’t do. And some people? Some people will never be happy. You could do everything they wanted you to do, and they’d still find a reason to not like you or what you’re doing. Other people do not define your self-worth. Or it would be called people-worth. It is called SELF-worth.
The other (main) problem with self-worth is thinking that only one part of your life is what gives you worth. Society also plays a big part in this. For instance, women who don’t have children may make the decision to undergo sterilization. In most states, doctors won’t allow it unless they are married and have the permission of their spouse…and are also a certain age. Because “you might want to be a mother. Being a mother is the greatest role.” Yes, being a mother IS pretty great, but not everyone wants to be a mom…yet they’re still being told that’s where their self-worth should come from. While women are bringers of life, that isn’t our only worth.
Think about women who have children…and many wonder….is this all I get to do in life? Many women feel unfulfilled. It may even be a false sense of unfulfillment because women are taught to do it all…to have it all. Sure, go get the job and have the family and join the PTA and volunteer and support your kids in sports and don’t forget to keep the house clean and be a great partner to your significant other.
To listen to society about what makes a woman fulfilled and confident is crazy. You do not get your self-worth because you are a great employee. You are more than an employee. You do not get your self-worth because you are a mother. You are still an entire person. You do not get your self-worth because you have a partner. You are still an individual who happens to be part of a relationship.
Self-worth does not and should not come from just one aspect of your life.
The Secret of Self-Worth
Self-worth hasn’t been an issue for me for a long time. I am glad for that. There is a secret to attaining and keeping your self-worth, but first I have to give you a warning. Women who have low self-worth are often told they shouldn’t feel that way. That is true most of the time. Yet, when you have self-worth, it makes you hated (secretly and openly) by others. You’re called names. Just remember that you can’t make everyone happy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called an egotistical bitch because I don’t hate myself. We aren’t designed to hate ourselves. We hate ourselves because we are taught to do so. Once you begin to realize your self-worth, you could even begin to feel a little guilty…and when you tell people what to do to fix the way they see themselves? Look out. You could lose friends. It’s crazy…but I speak from experience – I love who I am now and learning to love me was important. So important.
Here’s the secret. If you want to feel good about yourself, it’s not just in how you look. It’s not just in your job. It’s not just in being a parent. The secret is to do nice things for others with no strings attached. Seriously. That’s it. You don’t have to brag about it. You don’t have to talk about it. It’s about doing things. If you want self-worth, do things that make you feel worthy.
You are worthy. You are able and you should get out there and work on your goals.
You are worthy. You should buy and wear that outfit regardless of what others think (well, just make sure you abide by laws about public decency – I hear jail isn’t nice).
You are beautiful with or without makeup. If you wear it, wear it for you…because you like the way it makes you look and feel. And if you wear it for a little attention, so what? Do it.
Most importantly, self-worth is about doing good things, good deeds. This doesn’t mean you take some sort of vow of poverty or become a doormat. Maybe you leave a bigger tip when you eat out. Maybe you start a ministry. Maybe you buy groceries for others who need it. Maybe you volunteer your time. You do what you can do every day to take a little suffering out of this world. That’s how you raise your self-worth.