Self-worth was always something I thought I had, but it wasn’t until this past year that my loved ones brought something to my attention. “If you knew your worth you wouldn’t do this, associate with him, put yourself through that…” A long list of crimes against myself was unfurled and I couldn’t ignore it any longer.
If your anything like me you spend your life in pursuit of love in every sense of the word. You love your friends, your family, your significant other, and even total strangers with a fierceness that defines your life. It’s a beautiful gift with a dark side. If not kept in check, this gift will quickly turn into you sacrificing yourself for everyone around you, whether they are worthy of it or not.
I had allowed myself to base my value on the people in my life. If a friend and I drifted apart, I blamed myself regardless of the situation. If a romantic relationship failed, I took all responsibility upon my shoulders, completely forgetting how much I’d given to keep us together. I spent months crying over people that had betrayed me, somehow thinking it was my fault. This is not what self-worth looks like.
In this post, I want to show you what it does look like. I want to pass on the lessons I’ve learned in hopes that you’ll find the value you hold and be able to appreciate it the way you deserve to. Finding my worth opened so many doors for me and I hope it will do the same for you.
Stop Punishing Yourself
It’s so easy to live in guilt when you don’t recognize your worth. You could be doing exactly what everyone else is doing and if just ONE person disagrees with your actions you feel as if you’re the worst person in the world. You question every decision, even if you feel in your heart that it’s right for you. You lay awake at night thinking about every mistake you’ve ever made.
Listen, if you made a mistake yesterday, learn from it and get on with your life. It’s done. The moment is dead and gone. MOVE ON. Don’t spend your new day (which is a gift) beating yourself up for things you can’t change.
Self-worth is giving yourself a second, third, hundredth chance because you know you’re not perfect, but you are genuine. Forgiveness is an incredible gift to give to others, but just as powerful when given to yourself.
Never beg for someone to like you
If someone doesn’t like what you’re doing or who you are, so what? If that guy doesn’t want to date you anymore, there are billions of others out there (and they’re way hotter, trust me). If that girl doesn’t want to be your friend, who cares? If someone has something to say about your choices, let them say it. You can politely listen to their opinion and just as easily brush it off. Their life is not your life. What’s right for them is not right for you. Seeking validation from anyone other than yourself is a recipe for a miserable life.
No more stressing about getting left on read. No changing yourself to make sure everyone in the room absolutely loves you (because even then, some of them still won’t).
Not everyone is going to like you and that’s ok. Some people aren’t meant to be in your lives and there’s usually a very good reason. I guarantee there are many more people that adore you than you realize. And you didn’t have to change a thing about yourself for them to love you.
Stop settling and start having standards
Dump that dude that treats you like trash, stop being friends with the habitual liar, and respectfully tell your coworker she can’t talk to you like you’re an imbecile because this is a place of business, Rebecca.
You’re not obligated to go out with someone just because they ask. You don’t have to stay friends with a crappy human just because you’ve put a lot of time in. You need to heighten your standards. More than that, you need to stand by them.
If someone tells you “your standards are too high” or “you’re too picky,” remind them Harry Styles paid $200 for a freakin’ designer string to drape around his neck. A SINGLE GOLDEN STRING. You, my love, are an expensive-ass golden string and one day a Harry Styles is gonna snatch you right up, mark my words. But he can’t do that if you’re taking yourself off the market to settle for some sub-par boy band wannabe.
Have standards and don’t let anyone tell you you’re wrong to set them high. You deserve the best.
Your mom reads any mail left out when she comes over. Your coworker asks a few too many personal questions. Your “friend” keeps asking to borrow money. It’s time to set some boundaries.
Setting boundaries with people we love is never comfortable, but it is necessary to maintain healthy relationships. Without boundaries we allow the people in our lives to take advantage of us and ignore our worth. It’s your job to take that power back and establish some clear boundary lines. Yes, you appreciate your mother’s concern, but she really shouldn’t be snooping around your place. Your coworker shouldn’t ask uncomfortable personal questions because that isn’t work (or life) appropriate. And you and I both know money can destroy friendships so you need to cut that off immediately. If they don’t understand that then they never valued you or the friendship in the first place.
With clear boundaries you reclaim your self-worth. You have a “never tolerate” list that keeps you and the people around you in check. Respect yo-self.
Surround yourself with the right people
I recently read a quote on Facebook that read “We need to hang around people that pour water on the fires of our fears, and throw gasoline on the passions of our dreams.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.
We are a product of the people around us. The people we CHOOSE to be around. Anyone can come from a troubled family or negative work environment and CHOOSE to be better than their circumstances. But willingly surrounding ourselves with pessimistic, fake, or untrustworthy people will eventually turn us into the same thing. And we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.
Build a community of support, love, and encouragement in your life. Your circle of friends should reflect and enhance all the good things about you. Choose people that don’t stir the pot of drama, don’t involve themselves in unhealthy, illegal activities, and don’t tear you down when you need someone most.
Having self-worth means recognizing you deserve amazing people in your life. People that actively prove that they care. People you know if you really need, they’ll be there. Sure, building this system of friends may take some time, but I promise you it will change your whole life.
Know your truth
Your family, your friends, and even society as a whole will try to tell you who you are and what you can be, but you have to know your truth. You have to know that people are always going to talk, trends are always going to change, but you will always be who you know yourself to be.
You are not obligated to allow people to sway your perspective of yourself or the world. If you believe something with all your heart, cling to it. You can respectfully hear someone out without agreeing with or taking on their belief system.
People that acknowledge their worth and truly value who they are do not allow people to tell them they can’t accomplish their dreams. They don’t listen when someone tells them they’re too old to like a certain song or too young to know what they’re talking about. They listen to their heart and know what’s right for them. They know that if they have peace with themselves and their creator, no one can tell them otherwise.
Outline your beliefs. Who do you believe yourself to be? Are you happy with that version of yourself or could you change for the better? How can you value who you are now while you grow? Having the answer to these questions is an important step toward knowing your value and loving yourself for who you are now and in the future.
Always keep growing
We can all stand to improve. Some of us have big problems like bad spending habits. Some are bad about little things like doing laundry at the last minute, but all of us have lessons left to learn. When we become complacent, dissatisfaction sneaks in. Suddenly we aren’t excited about life because we have nothing to challenge us. Nothing to light a fire beneath us. Nothing bringing joy and inspiration to our lives.
Never give up on growing. No one on this earth has all the answers, but we do know it’s the constant pursuit of knowledge that keeps us going. It’s the beginning of a new project, the new daily practice we want to try, or simply the time taken to reach out more often that brings us the growth we need to keep us feeling like we’re part of something.
Progress never made anyone value themselves less. I challenge you, finish a personal project and see how you feel once you’ve finished. That feeling you get looking at all your hard work paying off? That’s pride. That’s acknowledging that you did that. You had the ability, creativity, and drive to complete it, only adding to the value you see in yourself.
Knowing your worth takes practice and daily acknowledgment, but just like any habit, once you build it, it becomes a natural part of your life. I’m beyond excited for you to grow and gain your sight for self-worth. This step forward can improve your life, your career, and your relationships in ways you’d never imagine and I can’t wait for you to experience that pure, much-deserved joy.