When we hear the words ‘self-worth’, we also often think about self-value, self-confidence – basically all of the ‘self’ words. Self-worth is defined by Merriam Webster as “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect”. Now how many times have you caught yourself saying “if I do XYZ, then I will be XYZ”? You’re thinking from a place of lack – I don’t have this thing, nor this capability, therefore I am not worthy. When we start to take apart our thoughts and really look at why we have these feelings, we may come across false indicators of self-worth. Below, I’m going to go through 10 things that do no not determine your self-worth.
What is The Self-Worth Theory?
According to the self-worth theory (written by Covington & Beery), we often equate self-worth with accomplishment and achievement. This means we often fall victim to believing we’re only as good as what we’ve achieved. This theory is especially seen in the school setting with the grading system present (You can read more about the theory in this short read).
Self Serving Strategies to Avoid Failure
Interestingly enough, within this theory Covington proposes there are two “self-serving strategies to avoid failure” – excuses and the assurance of success.
Excuses: procrastinating and setting unrealistically high goals are two main examples of allowing you to ‘fail with honor’
Assurance of success: setting the bar so low, you achieve your desired goal and achieve success that way (taking the easy way out).
These two components of the self-worth theory are often present in the school setting, however can seep into our lives long after we leave academics behind. If you find yourself falling into one of these habits, it may be worth acknowledging and coming up with a plan to unlearn these!
Why Is This Problematic?
When we measure our self-worth based on external factors instead of who we really are, we’re relying on an outside source to provide a sense of fulfillment. What we really need to be doing is determining our self-worth from within, and break the cycle of using an achievement based measurement system to determine our own value. Self-worth comes from looking inwards, reflecting and getting to know and love the person you are for who you are. Learn to recognize the 10 things that do not determine your self-worth and how we can re-write your inner narrative!
10 Things That Do Not Determine Your Self-Worth
Because we compare self-worth with achievement, we have developed a false set of criteria to determine our self worth. The problem is, these factors do not determine our self worth! Below, I’m going to list 10 things that do not determine your self worth (and then share with you how to fix your thinking around it!).
1. Your Appearance
This is a big one – if you’re changing or modifying your appearance in any way, it should be solely for you. Your hair colour, skin colour, weight, height, fashion style, or defining features have nothing to do with how brilliant, radiant and awesome you truly are. Your physical appearance does not correlate to worth as a person.
2. Your Job
It doesn’t matter what your job is, it’s more important to love what you do. While some jobs have attained an association with being ‘elite’ or ‘desirable’, they don’t contribute to your worth as a person. The goal in your life is to be satisfied with what you do for a living, whatever that may be (and if you’re not, soul search until you find what that is).
3. Your Social Media Following
Repeat after me: the number of likes and or followers you have is not an indication of self-worth. Social media is one aspect of your life, and you may think having a huge social following will solve all of your problems. At the end of the day, how you see yourself is the most important part of all.
Bloggers and influencers: your blog views and follower counts are simply vanity numbers. Finding an engaged audience who loves the content you produce, looks forward to hearing from you and engages with you is more valuable than any type of metric.
4. Your Age
Your age is just a number, a measurement with your relationship to calling this Earth home. It’s all about how you feel. Ditch the notion of made-up timelines (having certain things done by certain ages). It’s never to late to start over, try something new or make a change!
5. Your Social Circle
Who you’re friends with and how many friends you have are not indicators of your self-worth. Surround yourself with people you love, who uplift you and make you truly happy to be around. Whether that ends up being 3 people or 15, your social circle is another external factor that doesn’t determine your worth as a person.
6. Your Finances
No matter how much or how little you have in the bank, life is what you make of it. Having millions or merely pennies doesn’t change your worth as a person. Dollars do not directly relate to worthiness. They say money cannot buy happiness, and true happiness comes from knowing who you are and what you have to offer as a person.
7. Your Relationship Status
Whether you’re single, married, divorced, in a relationship – your relationship status doesn’t make you better or worse for wear. However you choose to live your life, companion clad or not, your worth will not change.
8. Other People
The most important one on this list – louder for the people in the back – OTHER PEOPLE DO NOT DETERMINE YOUR SELF-WORTH. You determine that. You are in charge. You can see what you bring to the table. Don’t let other’s thoughts, opinions, statuses, haves/have nots infringe on your view of yourself.
9. Your Interests
What you like and dislike is entirely up to you and doesn’t determine your worth in any way. Our unique views and preferences will vary from person to person, and have no direct impact on our worth as people.
10. Your To-Do List
Whether you have 100 things with big, check marks beside them, or 2 items that have sat there for days, your worth as a person is not determined by your to-do list. Being busy does not make you more valuable, worthy or better than anyone else.
Related Post: How to Become the Best Version of Yourself
How to Determine Your Self-Worth & Re-Write Your Inner Narrative
Now that you know what doesn’t determine your self-worth, it’s going to be way easier to re-write your inner narrative! Follow the tips below to become more at peace with yourself & more aware of your worth as a person!
1. Keep The Above List Handy & Remind Yourself Frequently
Just like you haven’t learned this mindset overnight, it’s going to take some time to undo this way of thinking. Keep this list handy & revisit often. Make a conscious effort to dive into what you currently believe makes you worthy, and debunk it one idea at a time. Instead, focus on what really matters – personality traits such as compassion, kindness, and other positive traits about yourself.
Make a list of your positive personality traits and what you like about yourself (ie. your ability to make others laugh and bring joy into a room). Keep that list handy as well.
2. Call Yourself Out
When you catch yourself having these thoughts that challenge your self-worth or try to justify it based on external factors, stop and call yourself out. Ask yourself if you truly believe you are only worthy because of XYZ. Un-write that thought! Re-visit why you’re worthy based on who you are and not what you do, become and achieve. This is going to take some time and practice, but stay on yourself!
3. Find Joy in All Areas of Your Life
Partake in activities, tasks and exercises that bring you closer to appreciating yourself, enjoying your interests and fulfilling your desires. Participate in activities you may not be good at, but enjoy anyways. Continue you pursue your dream job, even if it isn’t the most high paying job out there. Surround yourself with friends without worrying what your social circle looks like. Do things because you enjoy them and want to do them, not because you feel like they will make you more worthy as a person.
Understand this is going to be a work in progress. You’ve spent a long time basing your self-worth off of your achievements. It will take time to re-wire your brain around the 10 things that do not determine your self-worth, and start looking more intrinsically for your perceived worth. I hope this inspires you to find more joy, get to know yourself better and live a life you want vs what you think you should want.
Did you find this helpful? Have any tips for recognizing your own self worth? What do you love most about yourself? I’d love to hear in the comments!