“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”
― Zora Neale Hurston
Now that lady knows what she’s worth … and it’s beautiful. Standing strong in the face of our detractors and saying, “No, buddy … I am amazing and you are the one missing out on ME” … obtaining that level of self-confidence basically comes with a lifetime happiness guarantee.
Because a strong sense of self-worth keeps you standing tall in all of the storms that will inevitably come your way and try to tear you down.
But so many of us are raised to believe that feeling self-confident is a sign of arrogance (not at all true). Or we spend years with people that slowly chip away at our self-worth, leaving us without a solid foundation to stand on when things get tough.
Low self-worth is basically a guarantee that you are in store for a lifetime of struggle.
When you have low self-worth, you’re more likely to get into relationships with people who also don’t see your worth, and will treat you poorly.
You’re more likely to fall short in your career, because you don’t feel you deserve a raise or won’t ask for that promotion. Because you’re not really sure you’re good enough. And if you don’t think you’re good enough, no one else will think so either.
You’ll spend the whole day worried about if you’ll be able to handle what’s headed your way in the future, or replaying scenes from the past and telling yourself you should have done better.
Living with low self-worth is living life on the sidelines.
And all our old frenemies like anxiety, depression and anger … they LOVE when you don’t know your worth. They are cozy bedfellows with low self-worth… snug as bugs in a rug.
The world needs you … even the messy parts
And, like I said, there are a lot of reasons for those negative feelings, those struggles with worth. But it’s a part of you, a part of how you were raised, your experience. And all of it is PART of who you are meant to be, so you can make it a positive part of your self-worth.
You don’t need to block out all the bad memories and negative thoughts about your life in order to grow your self-worth. You can use how you dealt with and overcame them as a source of pride. To help empower your journey forward.
Because the world needs all of you. You are so unique and special. You truly have unique experiences, talents, gifts, perspectives and approaches to life
All of those are a part of your whole self. Even the ugly stuff. It’s all your dharma. It all makes you who you are. And believe it or not, the world needs exactly that person …!
But, when we live quietly in fear, shame, or guilt and self-aversion, we are denying the world our one-of-a-kind gifts and inhibiting ourselves from evolving into our own full potential.
So, by now you’re probably saying, “Building up my self-worth sounds great! Signup for a life coach in New York! What’s the first step?”
I hope you’re saying that at least.
Because it can be easy to say you’re going to improve your feeling of self-worth, but you need to overcome some pretty firmly-installed beliefs to really feel it. To make your new sense of self impossible to take down.
So, I have some no-fail steps to help you practice.
But keep in mind, it’s all about accepting, expressing and valuing your whole self. Even the “bad” parts! The big, gross, hairy, scary stuff. The not-so-pretty, just-got-out-of-bed you. The hungry monster that comes through the door after a long day at work you. The weepy you that wants to hide under the bed when the world is being a pain in the ass. All these yous are amazing and worthy and wonderful.
Living true to who you are, honoring your true purpose and personality—even as a work in progress—is the foundation for self-worth.
So, here are a few practices that can help you grow and strengthen your most worthy you:
1. Create an Self- Appreciation Bank
Start a list (Yay! Who doesn’t love a good list!). Write down all the things you’re proud of accomplishing or that you like about yourself.
I mean all of them. That poetry contest your won in third grade (go little you!), or that time you gave a presentation that landed your team the gig (go smarty-pants you!) or that time you nursed a wayward baby bird to a back to a happy, healthy chick-a-dee (go tender-hearted, nurturing you!)
Then, write down a list of all the things other people like about you. Friends, family, colleagues. You know your mom thinks you are the best thing since sliced bread, and your best friend thinks you’re the cat’s pajamas. And your partner thinks you’re the bees knees. But get specific! Write down every lovely word they use to describe you and why.
Now, review your list again and point out to yourself that you did all this amazing stuff while being “imperfect”. Those imperfections didn’t stop you from blowing the minds of those around you with your awesomeness.
Now keep your “self-appreciation bank” handy! Put it in your wallet or save it to your phone. Read it in the morning to set yourself up for the day. Check in with it during the day … anytime you start to feel that sinking feeling. When the world starts pummeling you a little and you start to shrink down. Go back to this list and remember, “Oh yeah! I’ve done all these great things! I am all these great things .. and all these people agree”.
2. Give Yourself A Massage
I’ve talked about the power of self-love before. But it bears repeating. Give yourself a hug. Or better yet, a massage.
Grab your favorite oil and find a quiet place where you can be alone. Play this song, or any other song that floats your boat.
Then, start with your feet. Feel your hands like a warm and loving presence on your feet. Spend a full minute on each foot, taking care of each little piggy.
Take a minute to appreciate all the amazing things your feet do for you. All the destinations they’ve delivered you to. All the dancing they’ve done for you. Connect to how wonderful your feet truly are.
Then move up the body …
- Get those legs
- Hugs those hips
- Rub your tummy
- Embrace your chest
- Stroke your arms
- Massage your head
Reflect on your whole body now. How miraculous and amazing it is. All it’s achieved. The way it performs incredible feats of strength and endurance every day. Your body is a part of you and damn, is it amazing or what?
3. Go after who you want to be
Think about the things you treasure most in this life. What really feeds your soul? Is it family? Work? The environment? Music?
What can you do to support this thing right now? To expand it, nourish it or show it, love?
Got it? Now, go do that thing. Don’t tell yourself all the reasons you shouldn’t. Just do it.
Then, take a minute to reflect. How were you uniquely positioned to take that action towards the thing you treasure? What gifts, talents or wisdom do you have that enabled you to carry out this important act for the world? Feel how amazing your are, in this very moment … imperfections and all.
Because your passions and what you treasure are you. The “best you ever” that you imagine in your mind is YOU. And bringing that into existence is worth it. YOU are worth it!