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Understanding Self-Worth

Self-worth, in definition, is ”the value or worth a person places upon themselves.” It’s an emotion determined by how you think and feel about yourself. It’s how you perceive your value to the world and how you think you measure up compared to other people. It comes from your past and present experiences and is subconsciously reinforced by your beliefs. If you’re not sure of your intrinsic value, you will have issues with self-confidence, relationships, and life.

If you don’t have much self-worth, you may exhibit a wide spectrum of emotions and behaviors:
● You might have trust issues with confidence issues in the workplace, friendship, and intimate relationships.
● You might be afraid to take risks because you may not see any payoff.
● You might have trouble with commitment because you have a hard time believing in things and people.
● You might have a hard time admitting your mistakes, and it might be hard to get feedback from others.
● You might be overly sensitive and defensive.
● You might be a perfectionist.
● You might be stubborn and want to do things your way.
● You might feel insecure and tend to be envious of others.
● You might be arrogant because you lack proper perspective.
Without a solid foundation of self-worth, it’s almost impossible to be successful, have proper relationships, and feel loved.

The sad thing in life is that our sense of self-worth is heavily influenced and easily malleable at a young age. The criticism, judgments, and certain traumatic events that happened to ourselves twisted our self-worth and even destroyed it completely. A baby or toddler wouldn’t question their worth or whether they deserve of love and happiness to feel joy. But if others make them feel like they’re annoying, bothersome, or hard to love, they wouldn’t question others, they believe those things.

Our perfomance culture reinforces this idea. To feel something worthy, we need to “earn it”. We need to study hard to achieve good grades; we need to work hard to earn certain status and salary. We need to do certain things and be certain way to reach success, to be worthy of happiness, of love. Overtime, we’re trained this way to mold our self-worth to be validated by others’ ideas and expectations. However, just because it’s been that way doesn’t mean it’s true. Your self-worth is independent of others’ opinions, of your capabilities, of your look, and of your status and of your relationships.

The good news is that you can improve your self-worth. You do not wait to achieve certain income level, to settle into certain relationship, to accomplish any particular thing to feel worthy. You never wait for a puppy to learn a trick to love the pet. A rose never needs to prove its worth or beauty; it only blooms at its own pace. Similarly, you do not need to prove anything, to anyone to be worthy of good things.

It’s not easy to fix our self-worth issue in a month or two, but I hope some tips shared below can remind you that you’re worthy.
1. Remember the Things You’ve Achieved
Remind yourself of all the things you’ve achieved. Look at your accomplishments, no matter how small they may be. Recall moments you have been kind to somebody else, even if it’s small. Did you hold the door for someone else? Did you give up your seat on a crowded bus for someone? Did you let someone in traffic during rush hours? Did you got promoted? Did you make someone smile? Did you feed a stray cat? Those small acts of kindness, regardless of being noticed, are evidences of the goodness in you. Your hobbies, your more typical accomplishments (such as career) are additional evidences of how capable you are. Even your survival to today, regardless how hellish your journey has been, is evident to how resilient you are.

You are good. You have a lot of goodness in you. You may not feel like it but it doesn’t lessen the wonder of you.

2. Your Past is for Lessons
Whether you’re happy or sad about your past, it’s not wasted time because it is your life and as long as you can learn from it, that’s okay. Your terrible is NOT an indicator of your future. Just because you’ve grown up in a dysfunctional family, it doesn’t mean you’re destined for horrible relationships in the future. You do not deserve your painful past, but you have the power in the present to learn, to heal and to move forward.

3. Treat Yourself Better
I cannot emphasize how important this is. Give yourself grace. You journey might have been so rough and so long and you might be so exhausted but you know what’s one certainty in life? Impermanence. Nothing lasts forever, including your pain, the dark days. The sunny blue sky will come again even after 6 months of long and dark winter. Remember you’re not alone in your journey. Reach out, seek help. Be patient with yourself. You’ve been through a lot, give yourself a break. When things get overwhelming, it’s okay to take a step back and take a moment for yourself. At the very least, be as kind to yourself as to others.

In general, your self-worth is an integral part of your life and determines how you see the world. By recognizing and honoring your self-worth, you teach your world around you to value you. The person that needs to believe in you the most is yourself. Let this blog post remind you today that you are worthy because you are.

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Tiffany Nguyen

Tiffany Nguyen

Spiritual life coach, doctor of pharmacy, your truth telling BFF. Guiding others to reconnect and live their truths with practical and intuitive approach. Eternal weak spot for dogs and Tarot.

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