Reflections #5

Finding your worth

Self-worth.  It is how we value ourselves, whether we feel that we are deserving of respect and love.  It is one of the most vital aspects of us as individuals.  Our self-worth links closely with the other “self” words; self-esteem, self-concept and self-confidence.  Though in my opinion, our self-worth plays such a key role in our mental health.  Our behaviours, feelings and overall thoughts are linked to how worthy we feel, and if we place value in ourselves.

When we don’t see value in ourselves, we start to get those feelings that we are not good enough, suffer from “impostor syndrome”, and think that we cannot achieve what we want to.  The negative self talk appears and it becomes harder to move ourselves out of feelings of inadequacy. 

A lot of times, we look at how worthy we are by external factors.  This can be anywhere from our appearance, how much money we earn, academic performance, acceptance from others (and many many more factors).  We are continuously comparing ourselves to other people and linking our value to that.  Doing this can really impact negatively on our mental health.  When we solely see our worth based on how others see us, it becomes a struggle to redirect when things don’t seem to be going our way.  

The key to how we value ourselves, however, is internal.  It is that inner voice we have, and the unique qualities that make us who we are.  Sometimes it is difficult to reign in our inner critic and that is an area which is easily amplified when we don’t value who we are.  

For me, losing my feelings of worthiness led to a state of depression.  My inner critic was very loud and hard to ignore.  This was something that snuck up on me, and even though how you value yourself is linked to internal factors, it was external forces that led me to undervaluing myself.  It wasn’t an easy thing to pinpoint and be able to stop.  It was only when I started to do a lot of work on myself that I started to understand I had lost my feeling of worthiness.

Reminding ourselves of who we are and practising kindness, compassion and empathy are all areas that can support increasing our self-worth.  Though just like all aspects of enhancing your mental health, how you develop your self-worth is different for everyone and you need to find things that suit your own uniqueness.  For me, I had to step back and really work on my inner self.  Remove the critical voice and re-frame my thinking (ensuring I work on my positive self-talk).  Focusing on myself also included the practices of gratitude, mindfulness and self-care.  I found that participating in breathwork group sessions and finding things that are important to me also really helped (thanks so much to Christina Niven who runs programs and offerings focusing on ourselves – you can find her work at the following website https://www.youarethemedicine.ca/ and on Instagram: @youarethemedicine.ca).  I worked on opening up more to my support network and being open to exploring my vulnerability.  It wasn’t easy, nor did it happen overnight.  For me, it has been a journey of more than two years and is still going. 

Being prepared to work on ourselves and spend the time necessary to find our worth and seek out our value is something that I truly believe needs to be a priority in life.  It’s time to prioritise you!

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