The Importance of Self-Worth
Self-worth is a crucial, internal concept that measures how and what a person feels about their own intrinsic value and abilities. A high degree of self-worth says, “I am loveable. I have inestimable value. I am necessary.” Because it is at the very center of who we really are, our thoughts, feelings, and actions contribute significantly to our self-assessment and the resulting value we place on our ourselves. This in turn impacts everything from our performance to our relationships with family, friends, co-workers – those in every sphere of the life in which we move.
Therefore, it is vitally important that we work to develop and maintain an authentic and healthy self-worth. The first step is defining what self-worth is not. An accurate and authentic assessment will not assign weight to such things as appearance, net worth, job status, social media popularity, social status, fitness level, relationship status, or any other external factor. Although we can influence these areas of our lives, we cannot entirely control them. An accident, illness, or layoff can change things instantly, and to the degree that we have constructed self-worth on any external factor, we are vulnerable to disappointment.
Genuine, healthy, and consistently high self-worth arises from understanding and accepting yourself. It means accepting your weaknesses but choosing to focus on your strengths. It means having unshakable confidence in yourself, esteeming yourself and your abilities, and believing that you deserve happiness in life. In the face of difficulties and disappointments, a well-grounded self-worth will be an asset in navigating troubled waters and emerging stronger for the journey. Even difficulties can be embraced for the opportunity they present to increase self-knowledge and self-awareness and make changes if necessary.
In order to effectively accomplish this, you must put yourself first. However, as Certified Professional Co-Active Coach Hannah Massarella writes, “To put your own needs above anything else is seen as selfish. Society as a whole is yet to embrace the idea that working on being the most authentic, vibrant, aligned to your values person you can be is actually better for those around you, probably the least selfish and most community orientated thing you could possibly do.”
Think about the familiar pre-flight instructions telling us to first put on our own oxygen mask in a potential emergency before attempting to help another. We can only be best equipped to help others if we are operating from a position of strength. This is especially important if you are in a position of influence, such as a coach or leadership role.
So, how can you work to improve and develop your sense of worth? Here are some ideas to get you started:
· Silence the voice of your inner critic by replacing it with self-love and self-acceptance.
· Remember that self-love doesn’t mean self-indulgence – it means taking responsibility for your life and gently pursuing growth.
· Embrace weaknesses honestly and with the optimism that you have the potential for growth.
· Identify your core values, and work to honestly align your thoughts and actions with them.
· Consider your strengths: what are you really good at doing and what abilities do you have? And then, build on those answers.
· Reject the impulse to let people or circumstances define you.
· Focus on taking full responsibility for your life, including both the good and the ugly.
· Acknowledge that you alone have the power to change your life’s circumstances – then roll up your sleeves and get to work – the world needs what you have to offer!
Learning about self-worth and how to improve it will help you become more authentically you. And as your happiness and sense of fulfillment increase, so will your ability to help others. Yes, it takes time for reflection, evaluation, and growth. But the result will be a sense of deep and enduring satisfaction in your own life and the joy of knowing you are helping others along the way.