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How do we feel “worthy?” Is it after ace-ing the big final? Or after getting the promotion? Is feeling worthy something we can only receive from external factors? The feeling of being “good enough” is something many people can spend their entire lives chasing, convinced by ads that tell us we need to buy this product to look better, by misguided educators who teach us we need the highest test scores to feel valued, even by well-meaning family members who may tell us we need to change to succeed in life. But what if I told you that this feeling of complete harmony with yourself and all that makes you – well, you — something you could give yourself every second of the day? I’ve dedicated the last few weeks to discussing the many ways we build self esteem, confidence, and reclaim our personal power over our destinies. Through each post, I hope my message of loving yourself and practicing self compassion have continued to inspire you during moments of self doubt, moments of transformation. But if I had to condense every post into one central concept, one key message at the core of every topic, it would be this: Self-worth. Self-worth is the recognition and acceptance of our inherent value as human beings. It’s the deep-seated belief that we are deserving of love, respect, and happiness simply by virtue of our existence, regardless of external achievements or accolades. In today’s post, we’re going to explore this wonderful concept in detail. Along the way, we’ll discover actionable strategies to cultivate and nurture that unfailing self-worth laying dormant within us.

Self-worth and self-esteem: definitions and differences

There are many self words I talk about in almost all of my blogs, including self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-compassion. However, self-worth deserves this special attention because while it is intimately tied to other ways we conceptualize the positive self, it differs in important ways. Self-worth in its most basic definition is the idea that you are worthy as a human being, and that you are deeply aware of your intrinsic value such that you simply “know” that you are deserving of respect, value, and love. While self-confidence and self-esteem are critical to develop a healthy sense of self love, self-worth cannot be ignored as it is at the center of nearly everything.

Self-worth vs. self-confidence

Self-confidence is the feeling of confidence in certain aspects of our lives, such as in a sport or academic subject. It’s an evaluation of our efficacy in the moment. Self-worth is tied to self-confidence, but the key difference is that self-worth doesn’t change no matter the context or situation — it is possible to be self confident in some areas but not others, but self-worth is felt without any external factors at play. Having low self-confidence in some areas is perfectly okay, so long as we maintain a high sense of self-worth overall.

Self-worth vs. self-esteem

Like self-confidence, self-esteem is influenced by many factors outside of our internal state. It is the subjective evaluation of our life, ability, accomplishments, and social standing. Building self-esteem involves being our biggest fan, and allowing ourselves to succeed. Self-worth, however, is the stable concept of our worthiness and value simply because we exist, allowing us to recognize that we are deserving of life’s many adventures just because.

Self-worth vs. self-compassion

Self-compassion is the ability to give ourselves permission to treat ourselves like someone we’re responsible for supporting. We give that encouragement, understanding and empathy we normally reserve for others to ourselves, embracing all of the positive qualities we represent while forgiving past mistakes. Instead of letting self-doubt consume us, we respond to negativity with encouragement and warmth. It’s helpful to think of self-worth as the foundation of self-love and a positive self image, a place from which compassion can emanate.

How do we improve self-worth?

Unfortunately, life has a way of making it difficult to develop healthy self-esteem and self-worth, with the constant pressures of the day sometimes moving taking care of our mental health to the bottom of our priorities. But I implore you — every single moment of your journey is defined by your ability to connect with yourself, and give yourself the self-respect and self-regard that you deserve. Building ourselves up from a place of low self-worth is a daunting task, but I’m confident that through clear focus and intention, we can regain control over our sense of value and develop a healthy self-worth.

1. Embrace authenticity

Authenticity lies at the heart of self-worth. Living our authentic truth is the first step towards nurturing dormant feelings of self-worth, It’s about embracing our true selves — flaws, imperfections, and all — and refusing to conform to the expectations of others. When we honor our authenticity, we cultivate a deep sense of self-worth that emanates from within and radiates outwards, empowering us to live with purpose and passion. The challenge is living our truth even when the world tries to tell us we are wrong — stay steadfast in your convictions, forgive past mistakes, and advocate for your personal power.

2. Know and advocate for your boundaries

Boundaries are essential for safeguarding our self-worth and well-being. Proper boundaries allow us to define our personal limits and protect ourselves from toxic relationships and negative influences. A common issue many of us face is being taught from an early age that setting boundaries is rude or harsh. I implore you to re-examine these beliefs and embrace that idea that setting boundaries is not harsh at all; as a matter of fact, it’s brave. By setting and enforcing boundaries, we honor our worth and create space for healthy, supportive connections that uplift and empower us.

3. Cultivate gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful practice that can deepen our sense of self-worth and appreciation for life’s blessings. Instead of seeing failure or mistakes as opportunities to engage in self-criticism, gratitude allows us to respond with appreciation for all the lessons we’ve learned, and assert our worth as a human being who sometimes encounters obstacles. By focusing on the abundance and beauty that surrounds us, we shift our perspective from lack to abundance, fostering a sense of worthiness and contentment that transcends material wealth or external validation.

Conclusion

Our worth is not determined by external achievements or the opinions of others, but by the unwavering truth of our existence. May we embrace authenticity, practice self-compassion, and set boundaries that honor our worth and empower us to live with courage, confidence, and purpose. And always remember that we are infinitely worthy of love, happiness, and fulfillment, simply because we are.

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