Shine A Light On... Self Worth
Self worth is ‘the degree to which a person…zzzzzzzzzz’…..
Oh, sorry. I nodded off.
Self worth definitions are so BORING aren’t they?!
Self worth is exactly what it says it is. There’s not much point in explaining it further!
But, erm, I have a blog post to write…so I should probably say more…
Self worth is a slippery little thing. It isn’t concrete and cannot (easily) be quantified. It is fuzzy around the edges and constantly changing. Like a shapeshifting blur; it’s hard to grasp.
I think we view the world through our own ‘shapeshifting blur’ of self-worth. It colours our experiences and determines our responses to situations. It affects how well we are able to interact with other people and plays a huge part in our mental health.
Self worth is majorly important, then, which is why there are lots of attempts to try to understand it (Check out this Wiki link for a taster of the length and breadth of self worth theories and research, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-esteem).
Here is my (very) quick and (very) simplistic take on it:
- Self Worth = Assertiveness
Assertiveness is, among other things, having the ability to say ‘yes’ when you mean it, and ‘no’ when you mean ‘no’.
(I nearly ALWAYS say ‘yes’ when I actually mean ‘no’…why oh why do I do that? Because I’d rather be pleasing to other people than assert my own wishes. How daft!)
Thankfully, assertiveness is something you can practise and re-practise until you get good at it. Being assertive is a really practical way to value yourself, and it feels EXHILIRATING.
Here’s a cute video that describes the basics
- Self worth = A full life
Low self worth holds us back from the fullness of life. So healthy self worth would mean living a life without perceived limitations. A life where you can have a conversation without worrying about what other people think of you; a life where you can face new challenges knowing you are capable, and where your failures don't make you unlovable. A life where you have enough love within yourself that you can be open and loving towards others.
I'm willing to guess that we all operate from a place of low self-worth (to a greater or lesser degree), so let's be patient and gracious with each other as we muddle through life in search of our worth.
- Self worth = Self contained
Healthy self worth is held within us. It gives us a steady life experience that doesn’t flail in the face of criticism or inflate in the face of flattery.
If my sense of self is destroyed when I fail a test, or when a friend lets me down, then I have given control of my worth to other people. Or if I crave positive feedback from others in order to feel good, then I am depending on other people to maintain my self worth (and other people aren't responsible for my self worth, so that's only gonna end in tears).
My worth is within me, it can't be taken away by any one or any circumstance. I am valuable just as I am.
So how on earth do we keep control of our own self worth, live a full life and become brilliantly assertive? I'm not sure, because I've not managed it. But here is an idea and a couple of my favourite quotes:
- Be a bit meta...
We have the ability to examine our own thoughts, feelings and behaviours. We can have thoughts that think about our thoughts. What?! It's weird but true.
If we spend time reflecting on (but not judging) our thought-patterns and behaviours, we will come to know ourselves a bit better. And when we know who we are, we can be more confident in sharing ourselves with others.
- Henri Nouwen says...
'When we start being too impressed by the results of our work, we slowly come to the erroneous conviction that life is one large scoreboard where someone is listing the points to measure our worth. And before we are fully aware of it, we have sold our soul to the many grade-givers'.
- Richard Rohr says...
'It’s a gift to joyfully recognize and accept our own smallness and ordinariness. Then you are free with nothing to live up to, nothing to prove, and nothing to protect.'
'When you get your,'Who am I?', question right, all of your, 'What should I do?' questions tend to take care of themselves'
- Russell Brand says...
'It's difficult to believe in yourself because the idea of self is an artificial construction. You are, in fact, part of the glorious oneness of the universe. Everything beautiful in the world is within you.'