The way you feel about yourself can have a significant impact on how you interact with others. People often come to see me when they are struggling with negative thoughts and feelings about themselves. They have a poor perception of themselves, their abilities and their self-worth. They also think that people’s perception of them mirrors their own and this faulty belief can negatively influence their behavior.
It’s important to have a healthy concept of self, to have a sense of your own value and self-worth. When you have a negative self-concept it will permeate many aspects of your life. It can affect your romantic relationships, your friendships and even how you perform at work. It can also lead to self-destructive and maladaptive behaviors which could worsen the way you feel about yourself. It’s not about having a nice home with beautiful art hung on your walls or a fulfilling career that offers exceptional benefits and superb vacation time. Your self-worth is not determined by how much you have accomplished in your life. It is much deeper than that. It’s based on an ongoing internal dialogue you have with yourself. In fact, I would even say that it’s risky to base your self-worth solely on external factors. Often times your external circumstances are things that you have little to no control over. Your self-concept is also likely to be harmed should you experience a loss or change in your circumstances like the loss of that nice home or job. While it’s important to recognize your achievements and feel good about them, you should also feel good about the things that make you you. All grains of sand differ from one another and we are no different. Everyone is unique and I believe that inherently makes us all worthy and special.
To begin to improve your self-worth, start by identifying yo32ur core beliefs. Core beliefs are deep-rooted beliefs that influence how you interpret your experiences. What beliefs do you have about yourself and the world around you? What are the recurring messages that you send to yourself? Self-statements like “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not lovable” can be very harmful. Once you have identified your core beliefs, begin to search for evidence contrary to these beliefs. The likelihood is that you have had these core beliefs for so long that despite the current lack of evidence to support them, you’ve continued to hold on to them for many years. Even if you may have felt there was supportive evidence at one point in your life, what matters is that the evidence no longer exists. Be sure to look at the evidence objectively. Ask a close friend or family member to help you if you experience difficulty with identifying or reviewing the evidence found.
The next step is to stop comparing yourself to others. When you do find yourself doing this, take the time to remind yourself of the things that make you unique. Focus on your inner strengths and qualities that make you special. Continuing to make comparisons undermines your efforts at developing greater self-worth.
Be compassionate with yourself. Give yourself the same kindness and compassion you would with a friend or family member.
Engage in activities and with people who bring meaning to your life. Spend time with the people that bring you joy and do activities that you feel good about. It’s important to engage in activities and interactions that support your intrinsic values. When your actions don’t match your values you are more likely to be self-critical and again this undermines your development of a higher level of self-worth.
Focusing on your flaws and short comings can hinder your personal growth and development. Let today be the day that you value yourself for you who you are and embrace the qualities that make you unique and worthy of the best you have to offer yourself.