Can we talk about self-worth? Because it is at the root of everything important. The health of our relationships. The scale of our creativity. Our willingness to innovate and contribute productively to a team. But that’s not really what I want to talk about…
Can we talk about the fact that self-worth and self-love are hard, sometimes?
Can we talk about how far away the concept of worthy, now, as Brene Brown puts it, sometimes feels? When we are struggling. And fighting. When we are not living up to our potential, and everyone else’s expectations. When we are feeling misunderstood and alone. And all bought-in to the media messages of beauty and masculinity. And all mixed around backward in our heads.
I mean… how could I love myself, anyway, when my infomercial face wash hasn’t arrived yet, and I caught a cold and missed my workout three times this week!?
Worthy, now sometimes seems like a lofty goal. A dream. As real as my what I’ll do when I win the lottery plans. In other words: Impossible.
But then again… We’re all about doing The Impossible.
Can we apply the same ideas we use to accomplish The Impossible to help us achieve this lofty goal? Can we paint a vivid picture of the future we want to create? Can we connect to the deep feeling we hope to achieve? Can we get real about where we are now? And then plan the next step (just the next step) toward our goal? Can we find teachers and mentors to help us grow? Can we apply all the same energy and emphasis to this internal goal - self-worth, self-love - as we do to external achievement?
Care to try?
What does self-worth mean to you? Is that something you want to achieve?
When you paint a picture of your self-loving-self, how does it feel? Name that feeling (freedom, warmth, energy, sunshine, confidence, joy, peace…). How can you make that feeling (just that feeling) more present in your life, today? Even if you’re still not sure about your self-worth.
What is a step you can take on the path to self-love? Is it building self-trust? Is it practicing self-kindness? Is it deepening self-awareness? Is it exercising self-preservation? What is achievable and practical and can build toward success?
Who can you call upon as a resource? Who can help you understand your path? Who can show you a picture of your worth (from their perspective) that might inform the picture you paint for yourself? Who has been where you are and knows the way forward that worked for them? What professional support can you bring into your life?
What are you going to do next?
I wish I had a magic wand or a secret recipe I could share with you. I wish I could say this is what worked for me. In the past tense. Because it would mean that I’ve achieved worthy, now and all its benefits.
The truth is, I still struggle with worthiness, sometimes. I’ve come a long way, but I still find myself avoiding the scale after vacation - as if the number has something to say about my value. And I still worry about rejection and let fear get in the way of sharing my ideas. Always looking for one more class or credible reference to bolster what I already know to be true. And I don’t know why I do those things. Why I hold myself back. Because every time I lay it out, and share my vulnerabilities, and brave not being good enough, my courage is rewarded.
It hasn’t become the habit I wish it would be. Self-worth still eludes me, somedays. Self-love is hard sometimes. I know I’m slipping out of my zone when I find myself judging other people. That’s my warning bell. It’s much easier to hear the nasty words in my head when they are about someone else (the negative self-talk voice-track is sometimes too subtle to detect).
I could take that opportunity to scold myself. Instead, I get curious about what that judgement says about me. About the way I am feeling. And then I default to self-kindness (and kindness toward others). I talk to myself the way that I would talk to a friend. I remind myself that I am human and flawed and loved and complicated and doing my best (and so is everyone else).
And that seems to get me through it.
How about you? What do you do when self-worth eludes you? What resources work for you that might also work for me? For all of us? We need to help each other. Because self-love is hard sometimes.
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The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed