One of the easiest ways to tell if your self-worth could use a tune-up is by paying attention to how you judge yourself. Do you get really upset when you make a mistake? Do you say, “Damn! I’m such an idiot!” Do you tell yourself that you aren’t smart enough, aren’t good enough, aren’t capable?
Sometimes, that voice of judgment is so automatic that we don’t actually “hear” it, but we sure do feel it. The excuses come next: “I can’t join that class. I’ll look stupid because everyone else will be super fit.” Or, “I can’t take that job. It’s too far away!” Underneath those excuses is the longing for the very thing we’re pushing away. And we push it away because we’re afraid we aren’t good enough.
When my critical voice starts to shout, I say, in my best British accent (I’m obsessed with watching The Crown right now), “Oh, hello! I’ve been expecting you. Unfortunately, I’m not interested in hearing what you have to say because I’m too busy being positive, productive, and fabulous. You’re excused!”
Also underneath the excuses are our “what ifs” – “What if I’m not smart enough to get that job?” “What if I’m not fit enough to keep up in that class?” We’d rather stay safe and small than take the risk of finding out that our “what ifs” are correct.
But here’s the thing: When your self-worth is strong, the “what ifs” aren’t so scary. What if you take the class and find out you can’t keep up? So what? If your self-worth is solid, it won’t be damaged. You aren’t going to die if you can’t keep up in a fitness class! The same is true of that job. If you don’t get it, so what? It’s hardly the only job in the world. With a strong sense of worthiness, we’re much less likely to let “failures” get us down. Instead, we see them as learning experiences that propel us forward to even better opportunities.
The condition of our self-worth is also revealed in how well we care for ourselves. Just as we demonstrate our love for others through our actions, we demonstrate self-worth through making sure we’re eating well, sleeping enough, exercising enough, and taking time to nurture ourselves through activities such as journaling, meditation, a hot bath, or a talk with a friend.
It also means taking credit for our progress and our successes. We pat ourselves on the back when we do something well. We acknowledge our talents and abilities. We notice our growth.
Healthy pride comes from a place of knowing your worth. Don’t confuse that with arrogance, which actually comes from a lack of self-worth. It’s putting on a good show of self-worth, but it isn’t real worthiness.
Do you know someone who has healthy self-confidence? That person could be a good role model, a worthiness mentor. Even if you don’t know anyone personally, you can probably find someone in the public eye who exhibits that kind of confidence.
Remember, there’s no “ultimate” or “perfect” state of self-worth. No matter where you start, you have the opportunity to improve.