- Helen Gash
‘What does self-worth mean to you?’
The question ‘what are you worth?’ used to strike fear into me. It took me years to realise that the word ‘worth’ has a definition, but the actual meaning is different to every single one of us. I did a shout out via social media recently and asked the question:
‘What does self-worth mean to you?’
The response was overwhelming, and women poured their hearts out. The responses I received were proof that behind every single one of the confident and self-assured profiles you come across is a woman who has a story, and a struggle. When I first decided to discover my own worth, I found the whole process very daunting. So I separated the journey out into three areas: defining, growing, and utilising. We all know that its easier to focus on something in bite size chunks. We don’t get overwhelmed, and it’s easier to achieve smaller goals than bigger ones. So, don’t be daunted, delve in, we’re in this together.
I encourage you not to get self-worth, and self-esteem mixed up. They are two entirely different concepts. We need both, but self-esteem is linked with confidence, and having a healthy admiration for one’s self. Whereas, self-worth is the leading lady in the big picture of mental, and emotional health. Self-worth all comes down to acceptance, vulnerability, and courage. The Oxford English Dictionary defines worth as: “The level at which someone deserves to be valued or rated.” Right now, where are you on a scale of one to ten? I’m about a six, some days it’ll be higher, some lower and that’s ok. Self-worth can, and should be a fluid process, with Internal, and external influences making it ever-changing, and evolving.
Let’s start with what feeds your soul. Think of family, friends, faith, work, hobbies etc. and divide these up in order of how they make you feel. You should be doing more of what makes you feel good, and less of what is at the doesn’t.
Then think about what you value, in yourself and others. Focus on words like love, integrity, kindness, emotional intelligence, forgiveness, and inner balance. What do you want to give more and receive from others? This helps define your core values.
Try to be as honest with yourself as possible. Be vulnerable, sometimes at the end if pain we find the goodness. If you a living in line with your core values and feeding your soul, worth will come.
This stage takes courage. The courage of your convictions, to put yourself first, and to change – for the better. Most of us are time poor, which is why it's even more important to pick and choose what we spend our energy on. Learn to say no to the activities, situations, and people that we know don’t help us, gives us time to do the things that grow our worth. It’s hard to say no to people, especially if you’ve been a ‘yes’ person for most of your life. It’s vitally important that when we say no to things, we do so without guilt. Sometimes it’s difficult for people within our community to understand this new mindset, but when treated with love and respect, most will understand and support your decisions.
Now you’re in a ‘no’ mindset, take a moment to make a list of those relationships and material things that are still defining your worth. Are you using them as a yardstick and comparing yourself, or using them for growth? Remember, these are a choice, not a necessity when it comes to your worth. Growing your worth based on your own values virtually removes the element of competition; the only person you have to compete with is yourself.
If you are still struggling with feeling that you have worth there is no shame in asking for help. Sometimes our demons are bigger than we give them credit for and just releasing them to someone non-judgemental is helpful. Even just arguing back with the negative voice in your head lifts a weight off your shoulders. You have control, whichever path your choose.
Whilst you are working on growing your worth, check in with yourself on a monthly basis. Is your life on a path that lines up with your core values? Once you feel like it is you can use your worth to help and encourage others.
If we use others to define our worth, we will always be faltering. Never feeling we are worth the love, the attention, the accolades. To a certain extent it’s fine if other people, money, clothes or the latest car give your life value, but these aren’t the places you should be using to define your worth as a human being. After all, you are still worth something even after the relationship has broken down, and all the material things have disappeared. You might not think you can use your worth to help others, but just by not compromising yourself, and accepting all you are as a person, others can see the happiness this brings and want to follow your example.
It’s as simple as treating and respecting others like a human being. By using our worth for good we learn even more about ourselves, and the skills we’ve gained on this journey.
Most importantly remember everyday to look in the mirror and appreciate everything you are – even if it’s not perfection.
This blog has been written by guest author: Helen Gash who runs the Book Blog & is Chair of Ladies Circle GB&I E-Club.
Ladies Circle GB&I is a group of women aged 18 to 45 from all over the country and all walks of life who want to make new friends and meet new people. With over 80 clubs nationally the organisation follows the principles of fun, friendship and fundraising. No two circles run in the same way but every single one is waiting to meet you and help you start your circle journey.