Self-worth (noun): The feeling that you have good qualities and have achieved good things.
Self-worth and self-love
When I think about self-worth I used to assimilate it with self-love (Article about self-love here). I thought that as long as I am expressing self-love by doing a list of actions that I know will bring joy into my heart then that also demonstrate a healthy level of self-worth. I thought: "I am making myself a priority, I am showing myself love and it demonstrates that I am now worthy of my energy before I share this energy with anyone else."
What I missed from that equation is that self-worth is a pre-requisite for self-love and therefore it is important to check where I lack self-worth because this would be the areas where I do not provide self-love.
The areas where I lack self-worth would be recognizable by the way I treat myself. I give way much than I can afford from a place of fear not a place of love. It is okay to give from a place of love. Love is abundant, therefore we could never live on credit. However giving from a place of fear creates gaps, creates emptiness because I had nothing to give to start with, I went digging and the few things I found, I gave them up. Now I am left with nothing but loneliness, sadness and maybe resentment, etc.
Fear is a messenger. She indicates:"Oh careful luv! I'm not saying you should not give but not from my cup, find the Love cup and then give from here!"
How much I value myself defines from where I give energies to people. It defines whether I am doing kindness or business. I don't mean it in a negative way, sometimes I give thinking it comes from a place of love but when I do not receive the same level of attention, time, etc, I feel that something is not fair and realise I was actually giving from a place of fear. In love there is no unfairness.
How do I identify areas of poor self-worth?
First, let's clarify something: Self-worth is about who you are intrinsically and not what you do. Therefore a good starting point for me was to understand who I am and what are my values? You can click here if you want to do this exercise. Once, I had defined what makes me unique then I already felt better about external criticism because I just brought clarity into myself. If when defining your values you realise that the life you are living is not aligned with your values and you have been trying to fit and please others, find some space into your heart to forgive yourself and build a plan to work towards living in alignment with your values from now on. Remember you can only do better when you know better.
Secondly, scan your relationships with others, where do you feel like someone is "too nice" with you? Why do you think this person is "too" nice? How do you react to compliments? To gifts? Do you receive and think that you have to top that gift or at least give something equivalent back to that person? Do you think that you do not deserve someone that nice into your life? How do you feel about the idea of loosing that person?
On the contrary is there a relationship where you feel hurt by the other person because you feel like you are "too nice" and they are not as nice as you are, but you accept it by staying and being there for that person anyhow? Why? Does it come from a place of love or a place of fear?
And finally is there someone with whom you feel like you can be yourself and that person will love you anyway? Whatever you do, whatever you say. That last person/situation is where your sense of self-worth is fine. Use it as a measure to assess other relationships.
How to address these areas of poor self-worth?
Where you feel like it is too much or too little get yourself on the "Why" ladder. Ask yourself "why" questions until you get to the bottom of it. Sometimes the ego is not ready to give us an answer straight away so try regularly until it gives you the answer. Get into the habit of questioning your ego. Do not be scared to discuss topics with your ego. All it wants is your attention because the ego is an internal coach, just a bit too much focused on negative language but it is here to flag areas of development and you can then decide to address those areas with patience and compassion so they grow.
Now let me give you a few reading recommendations that can also help in addressing those areas of poor self-love (Don't believe your ego when it says "Ain't nobody got time for reading!" Again how much do you value yourself? How much time are you ready to invest into yourself? ):
- The untethered soul - Michael A. Singer
- Choose wonder over worry - Amber Rae
- Heal your wounds and find your true self - Lise Bourbeau
- Le pouvoir de l'acceptation - Lise Bourbeau (sorry I have no idea what is the English translation of this book)
- The mastery of Love - Don Miguel Ruiz
- 7 Reasons Most people are afraid of Love, click here to read this article on Psychalive
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Sawubonasana is a space where you can be yourself, recognized and loved just the way you are. Sawubona means "I see you and by seeing you I bring you into being", Asanameans posture, way of living. I've chosen this name for my website because I want to live a life where I see you, I acknowledge your existence and love your uniqueness. In this space you can love yourself, lick your wounds and heal them with love and compassion. You can book a coaching session with me by clicking here.