What is Self Worth?

Self Worth is how much you are worth to yourself.  Too many people mistake self worth for your worth to the market, economy, government, other people, etc.  But that’s not self worth, that’s Market Worth, or Economic Worth, or how much Bob or Alice think you’re worth.  Self worth is how much you think you’re worth, so you are in control.  

You don’t have to be perfect to have self worth, unless you choose to make it a requirement, in which case you should realize you’ve chosen to make it impossible to have self worth.  Remember, you are your worst critic, and no-one sees as many flaws as you do, so realize you have a skewed view of your imperfections.

If you decide to value yourself based on how much wealth you have, then you have chosen to tie your self worth to money.  It doesn’t have to be, you could instead measure it based on how popular or powerful you are.  Or you could free yourself from societal or external standards, and say that you have self worth because you give yourself self worth.  You are valuable because you say so.  Then, with a secure internal mindset, you can go out into the world and try to get external value like Market Worth or Popularity Worth if you want.

Believe you can have what you want.  This idea of “deserve” only exists within certain contexts: at home, you only deserve ice cream if you finish your vegetables; working in America, you deserve one because you can pay for it it; at a business, because you have connections; etc. etc..  Getting something has two components: believing you have the self worth to have it, and an opportunity to have it.  Opportunity is partly in your control, but the belief in your self worth is definitely in your control.  You are worthy of happiness, love, friends, success, if you say so.  Whether you get it is separate–if you don’t get it, it doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy of it.

Unbalanced or Lack of Self Worth can lead to depression or over compensating, or denial and delusion, so take care of your self worth!

When you’re comparing yourself with others, be kind and use context: if you’ve been playing violin for 2 years, don’t compare yourself to a professional violinist who has had a 40 year career.  Make sure your comparisons make sense, or else you’re setting yourself up for depression.

More resources that can help:

Overcome Illogical Thoughts of Insecure People

Understand Judgments

Formally expressed, Self Worth is “Who am I to myself right now in this reality?”  (Identity and Reality explained in my: Life Education Curriculum).

Misc. Thoughts

Why do I always feel ashamed of who I am? While I was religious, they taught me to be ashamed, that’s why!

The market is imperfect.  If it was perfect, then we can say that the rich are successful and the poor are unsuccessful, and justly so.  But just because someone is poor does not mean they are unsuccessful or not hard working–they could just be unlucky.  Don’t think the system’s evaluation system is reliable, or accurate even.

A few days ago I talked to a friend and that friend told me I’m normal: Yay!  and I’ve been feeling more and more normal ever since I was told that.  See, I used to always think I was different, but I never asked around to find out from other people whether they thought I was different or normal.  If you ask around and they do think you’re different, embrace it I say, but if it’s detrimental than perhaps move to a different place: a fish is normally in water, not normally in the sky, so if you’re a fish in the sky, find water.

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  • Bonnie

    I love the emphasis you put on the SELF in self-worth. It’s not about how you are evaluated in relationship to others, it is about your inherent worth as a person. I recently read a great article that talked about the difference between self-esteem and self-worth, which said self-esteem focusing too much on measuring yourself against others and not on your intrinsic value. I’ll share it here in case you are interested: http://www.psychalive.org/self-worth/

  • Nausea

    I already know that my negative self-worth is illogical. That doesn’t make my faulty thoughts magically go away, or mean that I am now invulnerable to them. I can’t just logic my way to liking myself. But since everyone insists that this always works for everyone, it makes me feel even worse about myself (and I know that that’s illogical, so I feel bad about feeling that way, and I know that THAT’s illogical, so I feel even worse, repeat ad infinitum).

    • AttemptedLiving

      That is great that you know your negative self-worth is illogical: that puts you ahead of the curve. Some people feel insecure about themselves because they don’t know if their negative self-worth is justified or not: they don’t know if it’s something uniquely wrong with them or a common problem that they can relax about. So you’ve already taken the first step: recognizing the problem. Now you have to break the habit of having self-worth. Knowing that it is an illogical thing should give you confidence to believe that you can overcome it. If it was logical like say I need to train 4 years to cook for a professional restaurant, then it might be discouraging to think about having to train 4 years. But because it is illogical, it is encouraging because there is no 4 year training required: you can instantly succeed right now. The only ‘training’ required is the training of your new habit: replacing your habit of viewing your self-worth negatively with a new habit of viewing your self-worth positively. See my post: http://attemptedliving.com/2014/03/11/the-stages-of-building-a-new-habit/