Many of us tend to determine our self-worth through external factors. In doing so, we form false beliefs about who we are as people. These false misperceptions can be detrimental to our self-image and to our confidence. The truth is most of us don’t know our worth and thus may not understand the importance in recognizing and appreciating who we are at our core. This is unfortunate because how we see ourselves has a profound influence on many aspects of our life. There are many forces at work attempting to mold our viewpoints about ourselves, let’s dive into the inner layers of self-worth and see what we find.
Misperceptions And False Beliefs: As children, we are like little sponges. We soak up behaviors from those around us and slowly formulate our own identities as we grow into young adults. Being the vulnerable children that we are when we’re young, we tend to be more susceptible to subconscious messages.
I remember having a study session over at girlfriend’s house when I was in high school. Her father helped us out with a few trigonometry problems, and followed with a few sarcastic remarks regarding our intelligence. While her father may have been joking, I believe his comments left permanent psychological scars within my friend. In college, that same friend frequently questioned her intellect throughout her entire academic career. This is one example of how a “belief” about ourself might be formed. You see, most kids subconsciously digest things quite literally, especially if what’s being said is coming from a trusted source such as mom or dad. Consequently, this can cause any kind of stimulant, positive or negative to reside within us permanently, affecting our self-image and inherently our self-worth. Our childhood is a time of self-discovery, it is where we formulate our belief system, what we believe we deserve and what we feel we can accomplish. We carry these thoughts with us well into adulthood.
What Are We Worthy Of:? Self-esteem and self-worth are two critical aspects of emotional health that are often intertwined because one typically effects the other. How often do we question whether we are worthy of something or not? We do this quite often. While this question is often processed on a subconscious level, it’s a reflection of our current self-esteem which can influence our decision making. The quote, “we only accept what we believe we deserve” is a statement in its truest form.
Many unhealthy relationships exist because an individual believes that they are deserving of such dysfunction. By the same token, a healthy relationship can end, by being subconsciously sabotaged by another individual that feels they are unworthy of such love. Maybe a highly talented person sabotages a job opportunity that comes their way because they feel they aren’t good enough. There are many cases in which we don’t give ourselves the credit we deserve, we consider ourselves to be less than because we don’t see our worth. Most of us innately settle because it is what we believe we are worthy of. We all deserve to reach our fullest potential and be a success in life! That is happiness. It is helpful to practice eliminating self-doubt and any false beliefs we have buried inside and allow ourselves to experience life through our true self-worth.
Utilizing Externals To Measure Self-Worth: As children we crave external validation, I know I did. This was how I measured my own self-worth at a young age, but then again I was an approval junkie as I’ve stated before. Unfortunately, not everyone grows out of the need for approval. In fact, many surrender their self-worth to others by searching for the same validation they once did as a child.
Have you ever measured your worth by your achievements, how much money you made or your appearance? Maybe your self-worth was determined by a specific set of skills you acquired, your ability to produce, be caring or your propensity to show up. Any of these would fit the bill for a decent resume, the real question here, however, is how often do we allow others to define who we are (or our worth) based on such abilities? Other’s recognition for such things will only bolster feelings of confidence and value for a short while. This is simply because we’re not measuring our self-worth by who we are at our core, we are relying on our ability “to do” and other’s opinion of that ability. Let us pretend we have lost all skills we once acquired, what would we be left with? Would we still feel valuable? Would we still have a decent sense of self-worth?
Ultimately, how much do you fully accept your true self? Do you allow external factors to determine your value and self-worth or do you take control and realize it’s your own perception of yourself that matters? Challenge those false beliefs you have about yourself and embrace what’s underneath all the misperceptions. Love yourself, appreciate who you are and recognize your worth.