What do you think of when you hear the phrases self-esteem or self-worth? Do you think it’s something you have? Is it something others around you have? Is it something you want more of?
Self-worth is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself. It enables you to work yourself out of situations that negatively impact your life. It enables you to create a balanced and positive life for yourself, which in turn helps your mental health. So what is self-worth? These are a few things I learned on an online retreat:
Self-worth means no longer needing to please other people
Self-worth means no longer caring what other people think of us
Self-worth is no matter what others do or say, or whatever happens outside of us, we alone control ourselves
Self-worth comes from inside of us
Many of us can attest to being ‘people pleasers’ and I definitely hold my hand up to that! Wanting to be liked and being given praise by others for something we’ve done is natural. But when it becomes the reason why we do certain things, go to certain places, surround ourselves with certain people, it can become toxic to us and lower our own self-worth. This in turn can lead to deeper mental health issues.
Have you ever done something that you’re proud of, but when you’ve told someone, maybe a close relative or friend, you haven’t received the reaction you expected or wanted? It’s at these times when our self-worth can become tied up in what other people think or say about us or our achievements. You have to remember that you were proud of what you’ve achieved, so why does it matter what the other person thinks or says?
It may take a bit of time and getting used to, but you can start to increase feelings of your own self-worth by changing your behaviours. Below are just a few examples, but there are many more to be found on the internet:
Recognise the things you are good at. Don’t wait for others to notice your talents! We all have something we are good at, be it cooking, working well in teams or drawing. Try and write down 5 things you are good at and when you have those moments of self-doubt, look back at that list to remind yourself of your talents.
Set yourself a goal. Is there something you have always wanted to try, but have been waiting for someone else’s ‘approval’ to do it? Join that exercise or creative writing class. Just getting out there can sometimes feel like a huge hurdle, but once you have done it, it will only increase your confidence and self-esteem!
Start saying ‘no’ more. Doing things or going to places because you are afraid that someone will think negatively of you if you say no, will only hurt you. Being able to say no helps you to assert yourself and your needs and increase those feeling of self-worth!
I have been guilty of toxic behaviours in the past, not realising or acknowledging my own self-worth. I have done things to get praise from others or to receive a positive comment and thereby letting my self-esteem become tied up in other people’s opinions. And at the time those comments or praise made me feel good, but it never lasted long so I kept striving for more comments and praise. It ended up in a downward spiral!
I made a choice to do more things ‘for myself’. And by that, I mean, things that I didn’t want or need other people’s opinion or validation for. I started to do things that made me feel proud of myself and good about myself. Once I started doing that, the easier it became to see my self-esteem growing and it gave me the confidence to change negative situations in my life. And that gave way to more positivity and better mental health!