The Road to Self-Worth
By now, you must have heard the mantra, YOU ARE ENOUGH. Well, you are, but how often do you doubt that or unconsciously make choices that depreciate your worth as a person.
Self-worth is an internal sense of being good enough and worthy of love and belonging from others. I’ve found that the longer you are in an environment that doesn’t value your worth as a person the harder it becomes for you to acknowledge your worth and demand better.
Although self-worth is an internal feeling it’s one that has direct impacts on our external behaviours and who we keep in our lives. For example, if you depreciate how worthy you are of love, you might stay in a relationship where you aren’t being treated respectfully but stay for the familiarity and comfort that brings. Not realizing your self-worth can also lead you to justify the lack of support and attention you receive because you are not in a place with yourself, YET, where you recognize that you can demand more and that a lack or acknowledgement of this from others means you should walk away. By walking away, I mean walking forward because when you choose yourself you are choosing to love yourself beyond any situation.
It’s truly challenging to recognize a situation where you are being taken for granted and to make the decision to remove yourself from that situation or make a change because you recognize that your value isn’t being recognized or respected. Unfortunately, the most common response is rather to internalize blame or mitigate our feelings, but we are doing ourselves a disservice when we stay quiet, when we don’t express how we feel or what we need, or even when we do speak up but accept the lack of response/action.
YOU bring something to everything you do, to every encounter you have, even the brief ones like walking on the street where you can make a stranger’s morning by smiling. Your value as a person does not change across your relationships, when you go to work, or over time. You always have your self-worth intact, what changes is your level of self-love. Although it’s hard as f**k, don’t let circumstances change your appreciation for yourself, it’s okay to say no and to change relationships, jobs, or yourself if you’re unhappy, don’t feel valued, respected, and appreciated for all that you bring—trust me you bring more than you know.
It takes time to realize that your needs, feelings, and opinions are valid and that it’s okay to put yourself first and demand that others respect your worth if they want to stay in your life. I’ve put the needs of others ahead of my own during my career; there were times where I overextended myself, accepted to work hard for less than what I was worth and brought in terms of experience, and I did nothing when my requests or needs were repeatedly ignored.
Try to reflect on your self-worth, think of the experiences you’ve gone through in life that have shaped your perceptions of yourself, and think of the times where you didn’t feel heard or valued and don’t blame yourself but rather ask yourself how you could have chosen to show yourself even more respect. Get to a point where you’re happy with yourself and you don’t want to be anybody else because being YOU makes you happy. Get to a point where you are not afraid to take up space and demand what you need, sometimes you have to put yourself first before you can care for others.
I think self-worth comes when you give yourself time to breathe, just to be, and you embrace yourself rather than trying to fill a void or let others define your worth. Remember that perfect is never the objective, it’s all about how you feel, you want to go through life feeling good about yourself, your choices and ideally you want people in your life that support you and help you shine. Next time you’re doubting yourself or feeling low, try looking into the mirror and tell yourself that you are worthy, you’re smart, capable and add three things you’re proud of that you did or that you like about yourself.