What is self-worth all about?
Before we go right into the nitty-gritty of what self-worth is all about, I’d like you to take a look at the following statements and see if any of it is applicable to you, or if you’ve ever felt so.
- You constantly compare yourself with others.
- You sometimes feel empty and unworthy.
- Felt, or feel like you are not living up to your expectation.
- Feel you are not living to someone else’s expectations.
- You worry about your abilities and often make it seem you are unqualified.
- You sometimes talk down on yourself, devalue yourself.
- Feel weak, alone, and often confused and scared.
- You usually undercharge for your service, or you feel your fees, salary, or income should be higher
- You beat yourself up because you failed at something.
- You take up some tasks and put yourself in an uncomfortable situation because you want others to feel good about you.
- Care too much what people think of you.
- You placed your happiness on other people or events.
If you’ve ever felt like any of the statements above, then you are not alone, in fact, you are like every other human being on earth. You are not special, so stop beating yourself up. And for those who haven’t felt slightly like any of the statements above, you must be a God. And I’m sure you are having a perfect life.
In the 1959 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, T.F. James summarized the findings from psychologist, and medical doctors as follows:
“Understanding the psychology of the self can mean the difference between success and failure, love and hate, bitterness and happiness. The discovery of the real self can rescue a crumbling marriage, recreate a faltering career, transform victims of ‘personality failure’. On another plane, discovering your real self means the difference between freedom and compulsion of conformity”.
Let me share a little story of mine to help us understand the concept of self-worth and what it is all about.
In September 2017, I attended a Toastmasters meeting. Toastmasters is an international organization committed to training people to become better speakers and leaders. After the meeting, I felt out of place, and I was scared I was in the wrong place. Everyone at the club was looking glamorous, they spoke confidently, and the way they carry themselves was remarkable. It was everything I’d wished for.
I attended that meeting because, at that point in my life, I was looking for ways to boost my confidence and also my finance.
After the meeting, I swore never to attend any toastmasters meeting again because toastmasters were meant for legends, and for people who are high echelons in their respective industries. So I thought and believed back then.
After battling with myself for months, I decided to join Toastmasters in January 2018. And I must say, it is one of the best decisions I’ve made.
While in toastmasters, I discovered that my fears were still there, I still felt out of place because I placed others on a pedestal, I adored them and greatly admired the older members. Before I proceed, I want to categorically state that there’s nothing wrong with admiring someone or people who have what you want or desire. The only problem is admiring them to a point where you feel low, and that they are more special.
Having those fears, and insecurity made me take up small roles in our meetings, and I usually prefer to stay a safe distance from the people I perceived as “legends”, or “special”. Deep down, I knew I was also special and could do what they were doing but yet I still felt small or not at par with these guys. Whenever I gave a speech, I felt it wasn’t good enough even when others admired and tell me how great I was – and also how confident I was on stage. I quietly listen but I don’t hear them because I felt they weren’t telling me the truth or if I should be truthful, I’d say I felt unworthy. it was one of the worse feelings because you continuously beat yourself up, and you compare yourself with others and end up frustrated or out of place. You start to develop excuses why you shouldn’t commit or continue, you become unmotivated to carry-on, and you intentionally or unintentionally sabotage your efforts.
All these changed when I understood the concept of self-worth.
When you feel unworthy, you’ll always seek shelter away from where the good things are, the things you greatly admire and wish for. You become bitter, resentful or most time, unmotivated.
When you look at life in general, you’d observe that some certain people seem to be having everything in life, they’re dating the hottest lady or guy, they earn more or they charge more money for their services, they respect themselves, they know how to say NO to things that don’t matter without feeling bad – so I think or they are living the life you desire and they’re not ashamed about what they do. And the list goes on.
Though these people we admire have fears and insecurities, they don’t let it get the better part of them, they respect themselves, and place a high value on themselves. They see themselves as worthy.
In taking up a leadership position in toastmasters, and also looking back at all the years I’ve spent in personal development, I’ve come to realize how self-worth plays a part in how humans carry themselves and the powerful effect it can have on your results in life.
Having read my story, I want you to now imagine the following scenario’s:
- If you are a business owner, imagine if your employees don’t feel good about your business or about their ability to sell. Do you think they’ll give their 100% in selling your product or services?
- Imagine as a business owner you feel unworthy, fear to sell because you perceive being judged, or not qualified, or maybe you feel your product/services aren’t good enough, or that you are not good enough. You’d always find an excuse not to sell, undercharge or you’d always get in your way.
- If you’re single and searching, imagine the opportunity you’d miss to date that awesome guy or lady because of how you feel about yourself.
- Also, if you are in a relationship, the chances of being mistreated might be high since you don’t value yourself and don’t know what you want. You’d be devoid of any choice and might end up being resentful and miserable.
- And the list goes on. Just take the time to imagine the negative effects.
What is Self-Worth?
Self-worth is simply your inner perception of yourself. That is the sum total of your inner evaluation of yourself and your abilities, the image you have of yourself and the value you place on yourself. It is what projects outwardly to reflect our level of confidence and worth in society.
It is a single factor that determines how you price yourself in the market place and in society. The way you treat yourself is what determines how others treat you.
Why do you think you feel insecure around people, or feel you ought to earn more, or live a better life?
Why do you think you get jealous of others and their achievements? Or why do you think you feel bad all the time or unmotivated to pursue the things you love or desire?
The simple answer is SELF-WORTH. It’s all about how you see yourself, your self-image, and also how you value yourself. Your inner value. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, as long as you don’t feel good about yourself, the chances of being unhappy high.
Most people think that by putting on makeup and dressing top-notch would increase their self-worth or level of confidence.
We see this also playing out with most women. The cosmetic industry has become one of the largest industries in the world because everyone is trying to hide their insecurities. Everyone is either changing their color or their body parts just to feel special or a sense of belonging.
A bucket that has a hole in it can never be filled up with water no matter how long you try to fill it up. You can only fill it up when the hole is blocked.
These misconceptions that external things would increase our self-worth and value is the reason why a lot of people feel more insecure, and disconnected from people around them. We fail to realize that the outside appearance doesn’t equate to inner feelings.
For some men, they think that wearing an expensive suit will increase their self-worth but fail to realize that self-worth has nothing to do with external elements, it is solely a thing inside everyone – it is a thing of the mind. In fact, when you put on an expensive suit and you have low self-worth, you only become a monkey in a suit because the fears and insecurities are still there – you avoid challenges, talk yourself low all the time, you easily get angry, easily intimidated by others, and can develop an imposter syndrome.
No number of cosmetics or apparel can increase your self-worth if you feel empty inside.
Reasons Why we Develop Low Self-Worth
The main reason why we have low self-worth, feel unworthy or undervalue ourselves is because we haven’t accepted who we are.
My journey through the toastmaster program, my feelings and perceptions are only a tiny fraction of the overall perception I had about myself. The reason why I undervalued myself and still do sometimes is that I don’t take the time to truly understand my unique talents, gift, knowledge, and experiences. And I believe the same goes for most people in our society. If you don’t understand who you are, the chances of having low self-worth are high because what you don’t value, other people won’t.
Another reason is the comparison factor. Roosevelt once said that comparison is the thief of all joy.
Most of us spend too much time comparing ourselves with others forgetting that everyone has their unique talents and abilities. Also, we forget that every great master was once a failure. We beat ourselves up and talk down on ourselves.
Our environment and the company we keep are also factors that can influence our self-worth. People who are constantly exposed to a negative environment or people often tend to be more skeptical about everything including their own abilities and talents. They devalue themselves and have a negative mindset.
Why you Should Develop Your Self-Worth
There are so many reasons why everyone must develop their self-worth. Because of the purpose of time, here are some few reasons why you must develop your self-worth:
- It increases your level of confidence.
- You believe in yourself more.
- You charge more for your services.
- It reduces the chances of being immobilized by fear.
- You start to enjoy life more.
- It makes you understand your uniqueness.
- It gives you a sense of purpose and worth.
- You become lovable and you love more.
- You understand the difference in criticisms, how it serves you, and what doesn’t.
Dangers of Having Low/Poor Self-Worth.
There are so many downsides to having low self-worth in life, and some can be extreme. Let’s take a look at some of the dangers of having low self-worth.
- Earn Low
As an entrepreneur and a coach, I’ve observed that there’s a direct correlation between your self-worth and your net worth. The way you feel about yourself and your abilities often reflect on how much you earn or charge for your services. It doesn’t matter whether you are aware of it or not, the fact remains that your earnings are a direct reflection of your self-worth. People will pay you what they perceive you are worth and it is often determined by the way you portray yourself to them.
If you value yourself well, you charge more for your service without feeling any guilt because you understand the benefits you’ll deliver. You believe in yourself and your abilities and you take on the more challenging task because you believe in yourself.
We, humans, are built with survival instincts, these instincts are what guides and protect us from danger. These little doubts can help us to avoid dangers. The problem arises when you doubt everything, including your own unique abilities. People with low self-worth often doubt themselves, they second guess, and avoid confrontations. When you doubt yourself, you completely lose your confidence and ability to relate well with others, you feel it’s not the right time to take on a new task, and you get immobilized by the feeling of inadequacy.
- Over dependent on Others
We can see this playing out in most relationships, and in business. People who don’t recognize their self-worth often tend to over depend on others for their survival. They depend on others to cure their emotional needs, they depend on others to make them happy, and so on. They also blame people around them for the way they feel even for their own actions. This could be very bad and dangerous because it breeds emotional manipulation. They manipulate others into doing things for them, or they easily get manipulated by others.
- You avoid relationships or settle for less in a relationship.
Most of us wish we are dating the hottest guy or lady; we admire the opposite sex yet immobilized to take that step to introduce ourselves to them. We talk down on ourselves – saying he’s or she is out of my league. This is not only false; it is also one of the greatest disservices we do to ourselves and to our creator. The fact is that everyone is special in their unique ways and it’s our uniqueness that makes this world worth living. It is our uniqueness that complements others. Imagine if everyone was the same, talk, and walk the same way, won’t it be so boring?
Low self-worth is also the reason why most people settle for less in a relationship, they stick to an abusive partner because they don’t understand or know their value. Without knowing your worth, you’ll give other people permission to treat you the way they see fit because the way you treat yourself determines how others treat you.
- The fear of pursuing your dreams becomes more than the joy it would bring.
A lot of people wish they had a business of their own, they wish they could start up a new business or start a new career but they fear trying out. They fear to take the necessary step to get started. They get nostalgic about life and their future. The feeling of fear, doubt, anxiety and so on creep into their mind, and they come up with excuses why they shouldn’t try. These excuses then form what they believe about themselves leading to them settling for less in life.
As long as they don’t value and honor their abilities, skills, and talents, they continue to be immobilized, and they become resentful of people doing exactly what they desire or wish. When you look at our society today, you’ll observe that the critics and lashers are often people who secretly wish they had what the people they criticize have. Also, you’ll observe that our society is full of people with high degrees and certificates who are afraid of utilizing their degrees and certificates. They fear mistakes or being laughed at. They never truly understand their worth and then they settle for less.
- It could lead to depression and sadness.
There’s nothing as sad and depressing as knowing you have all it takes to do something, be something and yet feel stuck, and immobilized. So many people today are sad and often depressed because they’re stuck in life, they have abilities yet they can’t seem to use it to their advantage, they constantly compare themselves to others, they feel things are supposed to be better, or they feel they’re not living their best life. All these feelings and more stem from the fact that most of us do not know our worth. We don’t appreciate our uniqueness and do not leverage our given talents and skills. We let fear discourage us because we are constantly comparing ourselves with others, or we feel a particular task is beyond us. These feelings can get worse and, in most cases, it could lead to someone feeling bad about themselves or worse, depressed.
- You beat yourself up when you make a mistake
There’s a popular saying that mistakes are a necessary part of life, I’m sure most people have heard about this axiom yet it’s surprising how we beat ourselves up over mistakes we make. We talk down on ourselves and place labels on ourselves and our ability. Labels that are disempowering. How often do you say some of these words?
- I’m a failure or a loser.
- I am unlucky.
- I’m not smart enough or good enough.
- I’m such a useless person, I’m helpless, or hopeless.
- I’m not credible or have the talent or skills.
- And so on…
These words aren’t true of us or what we are but most times we attach these labels to ourselves and they end up messing up our sense of self.
Because you made a mistake doesn’t equate to you being a failure, what it simply means is that you have an opportunity to try again.
- Take on drugs or bad Habits
In some of my coaching engagements, I’ve noticed a relationship between low self-worth with drugs and bad habits. People who have low self-worth are often prone to taking up on drugs or stick with bad habits just to escape the reality of life. The drug provides them with temporary highs, and for that moment, everything feels alright only for it to wear off and they become miserable again. They then take more drugs to feel alright, and the circle continues.
for some, they develop bad habits, some might eat more, drink more, or avoid contact altogether just to feel safe and protected from their low self-worth. Some people also become hostile and aggressive toward other people when they feel challenged. This feeling then leads to constant lashing out, fighting and so on.
How do You Know and Develop your Self-Worth?
Just like everything in life, you can never know what you don’t know. You can never quantify what you don’t measure. The only way to know your self-worth and also help you increase your worth is through AWARENESS. That is Self-Awareness. You need to understand yourself, your values, monitor your thoughts and your actions, and you need to understand how they impact the results in your life. To understand is to become aware. When you become aware you learn how to control the outcomes of your thoughts, you learn how to distinguish different perceptions and facts.
So, make it your duty to study you and understand your thought pattern because your mind controls your perceptions.
- Take responsibility for your life
After awareness, you have to take responsibility for your situation, your thoughts, your actions, and your life. You have to realize that there’s no point hating on yourself or even talking yourself down.
Taking responsibility is a sign of maturity and wiliness to learn. Understand that no matter how you got to this point of low self-worth doesn’t matter at all. All that matters is your willingness to work towards improvement.
- Take Stock of your abilities, talents, skills, knowledge, and experience
Taking stock of your abilities, talents, skills, knowledge, and experiences is a great way to develop and understand your self-worth. it is another way to show you that some things you think about yourself aren’t necessarily correct, and it could be that you might be over-exaggerating somethings. Our society is filled up with people who have qualifications, and lots of degrees, certificates, and awards yet many of us still fear taking chances in life, we get intimidated by little things and sometimes by people less qualified than us.
Haven’t you noticed how our society is governed by the people without certificates, or with low grades from school? These people have recognized that certificates and the rest don’t define them, it’s an external element and holds no true definition of who they are. They are often bold and take up challenges in life. As a result of that, they’re rich, confident, street smart, and enjoy life.
When you find yourself talking down on yourself, examine and ask yourself if the self-doubt is absolutely true. Are you truly less qualified or you’re just exaggerating the whole situation?
Own your uniqueness, take up challenges, forget what people think and make sure to enjoy your life.
- Have Positive Self-Talks
Self-talks are a great way to increase your self-worth. When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, simply remind yourself how unique you are. Remind yourself of all your unique gifts, experiences, talents, qualifications and so on. Make sure you drum it to your brain that you are unique and special. That there’s no two you on earth. You are one of a kind.
- Be Vulnerable
Give yourself permission to fail, love, and be open with yourself. Understand that your flaws are what make you unique. Vulnerability gives you the opportunity to enjoy life because you understand that people will always judge you, that you’ll definitely feel down sometimes, that no one on earth is perfect even the so-called “celebrities” and “legends”. Everyone has pain points in life, so you are just ordinary and not different from everyone else on earth.
When you become vulnerable, you love better, you engage in conversations better, you take on challenges in life because you understand your uniqueness. Also, you understand that people’s judgment of you isn’t true, it’s only their perception. Like all humans, our perceptions aren’t always reality.
- Forgive yourself when you make Mistake
Life will do its job to beat you up, so why add to the beating?
Everyone in life will and definitely have challenges, and the way we individually address our challenges determines how we feel about ourselves. Some people beat themselves up because of mistakes, something everyone does. They make a big deal out of their mistake and call themselves names and labels.
You have to understand that your mistakes don’t define you; they are the necessary things of life. in fact, the most successful people on earth made a lot of mistakes, and they thrived through mistakes. When you make a mistake, simply learn all the lessons and move on with your life, forgive yourself and make more mistakes (because you’ll definitely make them whether you like it or not). if you don’t make mistakes, what it means is that you are not trying anything worthwhile in life.
- Stop Comparing yourself with others
When a bucket has a hole in it, it doesn’t matter how many tanks of water you pour into it, it will certainly flow out. When it comes to self-worth if you feel low, and compare yourself constantly with others, it doesn’t matter how well dressed you are, or the make up you apply on your face. You’ll never feel enough. Comparison is the greatest thief according to Roosevelt.
Stop comparing yourself with others and own your uniqueness. You are special, and the world needs you to make a difference.
- Invest in mentors and coaches
A coach is someone who works with you to help you uncover your limiting believes and how it impacts your self-worth and performance. The coach works out a strategy to guide you towards improving your self-worth and help you perform better in any area of your life you’re lacking. A mentor is someone who has more experience than you do, he educates and ensures you understand how the world works. A mentor helps you broaden your perspective of the world, and also guide you to success and your heart desire.
- Invest in personal development
The biggest lesson I’ve learned personally while engaged in personal development is that I can become more and do more. Your possibilities are endless when you invest adequately in yourself. When you invest in yourself, you become aware of your abilities. You broaden your perceptions and understand that you are capable beyond measure.
Life as its popularly said, is short. In the period of one’s life, there are bound to be different challenges, and life will also do its best to beat you up. These obstacles and challenges aren’t necessarily meant to destroy us, they are rather, an important path to growth, they are what makes life worth living and thriving.
There are so many things that can make one develop low self-worth or undervalue themselves in life, it could be at work, family, within friends, or life in general. At the end of it all, it doesn’t matter how we develop the low-esteem or self-worth. The crucial thing is that we don’t let it undermine how we live our lives; we shouldn’t let it stop us from enjoying the life we so much crave and want.
Awareness and taking up the responsibility of yourself and life is your mandate and no one is responsible for that.
In this article, we looked at how it’s important to develop and grow our worth because I believe it’s the most important factor that determines how we live our lives and it is also what determines how and what we earn in life.
If you liked reading this article, kindly share it to help educate others on the importance of working on themselves and developing the right mindset about themselves.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy your life. it’s your right.