Self-worth is simply another term for self-esteem. It means confidence in one's own worth or abilities; self-respect. It’s how you feel about yourself and how you judge your worth.
We organized a panel of 3 single and 3 married women for the event on June 2, 2018 to discuss the topic for women in DFW over breakfast. I really believe that this is such an important topic to address because so many women suffer from low self-esteem at every age and every level of 'success'. I’ve observed women try and convince others they have a high level of confidence, sometimes by being aggressive, taking authority by force, and even putting others down. The truth is, they really don’t have much confidence or self-worth. It’s something that each of us has to address for ourselves and develop a healthy amount of it to live a good, healthy, complete life.
The single ladies panel brought up the following points:
1. What are ways that women measure self-worth on a day to day?
- Based on primarily, appearance and looks.
- Pleasing others.
- Gratification that makes you feel good about yourself, as an example, carrying a designer bag.
2. Dating and Maintaining a Healthy Self-Worth
- Abstinence is so important. Not giving yourself completely to people in that way until there is a commitment before God in marriage, helps you maintain personal value. Even if you don't believe in abstinence or the commitment of marriage, women who have sex without a solid commitment are giving so much of themselves away. Some are left with a reality shock of how much it took away from their self-worth when the relationship ends.
- Not fantasizing or having unrealistic expectations of living a fairy-tale life.
3. How to obtain self-worth and maintain it.
- Reading the Bible and Applying God’s word to your life. We receive our true identity from God. We can have a good foundation of our worth and value based on what God has to say about us, as opposed to what others try to say about us or even our perception of ourselves which can sometimes be negative. ("Okay, Arisbet, but I'm not religious." - That's fine girl, just keep reading. Email me and we can have coffee to discuss more.)
- Define and stay true to your standards. You will allow anything without standards in place.
- Take the time to learn how to love yourself.
Single for 8 years, Career Field of Finance. Tiffany commented on the single life and self-worth.
The Married Women’s Panelists brought the following points:
1. How affirmation from your spouse or the lack of affirmation affects your self-worth.
- How your husband perceives you can be an influence positively or negatively on your self-esteem.
- How to maintain a healthy self-worth if he affirms you. If he does not, how to maintain your worth in Christ despite his inaccurate perception of you. (Again, let's grab coffee.)
- How to communicate to him effectively.
2. Losing yourself single vs. married.
- When you’re married you face different obstacles that come against your self-worth than when you were single. As an example, when you're single you are your priority (assuming you don't have kids). Then, when you get married, you may set your husband and his career as priority over your own goals and could lose yourself in that process.
3. Modern Marriage vs. Old School tradition.
- Oh how the times have changed. We are in a different place than our mothers were and don't have to stay tied to some of the old school tradition of doing things.
Married for over 10 years, Business Owner and Make Up Artist. Shanta commented on her experience battling depression.
Divorced and Re-Married for over 5 years, Book Author and Career in Senior Care. Ja'net commented on one way she felt she lost herself and some of her self-worth in marriage.
Psychology points to traumas, un-involved care givers, bullying or having lived in poor environments as causes to low self-esteem. I know that those are all factors that may negatively affect us, but we can't victimize ourselves and excuse our lack of self-worth based on those things. Actually, all of the listed items said to tear you down could help you develop a healthy level of resilience and grit. Also, some of those things on the list are completely out of our control. For example, if you experienced physical or emotional abuse.
Allow me to bring your focus back on the meaning of self-esteem. Your self-worth is based upon how YOU see yourself, not what happened to you or what didn't happen for you. Therefore, YOU are ultimately the source and in control of how healthy or unhealthy your self-esteem is. Now that you know you're responsible, here are my top 7 behaviors that we do to destroy it.
Top 7 Behaviors That Destroy Your Self-Worth
1. Not knowing your true identity, therefore living out a false identity.
Why am I here? What do I matter? What do I like? What don’t I like? How would I describe myself? Who do I want to be? How do I want to be remembered? All good questions to answer for yourself, because if you do not have answers to those questions, others will answer them for you. An inability to answer these questions can keep you from having a good sense of self-worth. HOW to answer them can be as simple as sitting down alone and determining each one. They may also be discovered through different types of self-care, like taking yourself out on a date.
Here's a secret: Figuring out who you are and what you hold as valuable about yourself when you're single keeps you from so much emotional damage.
If you have it down and are sure of your identity, when someone introduces themselves into your life, and they speak to you opposite of these definitions, you can respond accordingly. Some people are really damaged, and they'll try to classify you as something you're not. If you do not know who you are, you'll believe them.
2. Obtaining your worth based on your looks.
There is so much pressure to meet a certain standard of beauty, it’s horrible honestly. We’re living in a culture where plump everything is beautiful, from plump lips to a plump booty. Many of the procedures are so affordable too. Women in their early twenties are getting them done, and I’m sorry to say, that they do not resolve your issue of low self-worth. These standards set by social media are unrealistic images of what women should look like.
The “ideal” body type is the type you’re born with girlfriend.
No judgement here, if you get that Botox filler or whatever else. I’m just saying, basing your worth on your looks is a faulty method at gaining healthy self-esteem. Getting old and seeing wrinkles come in will happen to all of us. Thank you, father time. Getting that tummy tuck or face lift may be something you feel you need, but does it really improve your worth? No. You're still you. Some of the most physically beautiful women carry the ugliest personalities. Consider also how fashion models have admitted to low self-esteem including Victorias Secret model Sara Sampaio. You can get work done, and then suffer a tragic car wreck that leaves you disfigured. If your value is based on your looks, there goes your self-worth. There is a profound dis-empowerment that comes with seeing your body as an object to fit the media’s mold. So decide to love yourself plain and simply, the way you look today.
3. Negative Thought Patterns.
Your thoughts and feelings actually work in the same way as muscle memory. Just as our muscles learn the wrong way to perform a physical activity, our thought and feeling memories can learn wrong perceptions of ourselves. Constantly attacking and putting yourself down is the worst thing you can do. Also, thinking that others are better than you. Many people deal with this daily from the posts they see on social media. Some may have a habit of expecting negative outcomes to happen to them first, before thinking of the positive. If you have often felt that you’re worthless or inferior, or if you constantly think negative thoughts and say negative things about yourself, STOP. Be mindful of what you’re thinking by trying this simple exercise.
- Carry a small notepad with you one day and every time you have a negative thought, write your thought down and time stamp it.
- At the end of the day, look over it and you can get a good picture of where you're at.
If you continue nurturing negative thinking, then you’re likely to live a negative life, unless you break the cycle by countering your negative thoughts and feelings with healthier ones.
4. Living in past mistakes.
You allow your past to define you by dwelling on it and keeping it a current issue today. Just let it go and decide that who you were in the past and your mistakes back then are no longer who you are now. If anyone is holding you to your past, it is their issue, not yours. If you have to end the relationship or limit your time with someone to recover, then do so. Another thing to examine your heart about if you're stuck in the past mistakes, is forgiveness. Have you forgiven people who wronged you? Have you forgiven yourself? If not, today is the day! Make your peace where you have to and where you are able to and then, a otra cosa mariposa. That means "to a new thing butterfly". It sounds better in Spanish. Just move on, is what I'm trying to say. Become the woman who you would admire, and whoever she is, I promise she is never going to be perfect. Each sunrise offers a fresh start.
5. Keeping the WRONG friends or social relationships.
Where do I begin?! Girl. I know you think they are all your friends but take a good look. Some people don't have our best in mind. If a person brings you down – by not respecting you, by pressuring you to do things you’re not comfortable with, by not valuing your thoughts and feelings, etc. – they are not good relationships to keep close. They will cause you to feel like something is wrong with you, feeding insecurity in your life. Not only that, but you may believe that the only way for you to be accepted is to do what others want and not listen to your own heart and mind. This is very damaging to how you see yourself. If you are criticized no matter what you did or how hard you tried, it becomes difficult to feel confident and comfortable with the authentic you. Critical friendships diminish your self-esteem. Most times, people who are critical suffer from very low self-worth, to the point that they have to be critical on others as a way to deal with themselves. Stay away from them until you have a solid self-worth and can manage the relationship in a way where you could help them.
6. Getting your self-esteem from others.
Did you ever have that one guy you dated and felt like your life was over when he left? I can't relate either girl, but those women are out there. Whether its your parents, your partner, or a very important friendship, it is not wise or healthy to base your worth on another person. Nobody should have that much authority in your life. We are all so imperfect and cannot be placed on a pedestal. If you place your worth on the acceptance or presence of another person over your life, when that someone dies, or leaves you, there goes your worth and value. Growing up in a small Christian church, I saw many people place their worth on 1 pastor. When your religious (or other) belief system puts you in a position of feeling as if you are perpetually sinning, it can be similar to the experience of living with a disapproving authority figure. Whether judgment is emanating from authority figures or from a religious belief system in your life, it can evoke shame, guilt, conflict and self-loathing. When you don't fit the mold or fail to reach the almost perfect standards others set on you, you end up feeling insufficient, disoriented, shameful, fake, and disappointed with yourself over and over again. In reality, you are living out a common life. We are all dealing with similar challenges, and people who hold you to high standards are not living up to them themselves.
7. Unrealistic expectations.
Whether the pressure comes from yourself, parents, friends or important figures or peers, expecting way too much of yourself in terms of career achievement, or social status is detrimental to your self-worth. You may find that you try to take on too many activities and expect to be “the best” at all of them. You may crave popularity and expect everyone to like you – something that is simply unrealistic, because, no matter who you are, you can’t please everyone! It's totally OKAY girl, trust me. You don't want to be liked by everyone. The inevitable failure to meet unrealistic goals may lead to the feeling that you are a failure in general. Write down your standards and personal goals, but let those unreachable standards go. We all fall short in some way or another and are still uniquely, fearfully and wonderfully made.
I hope these were helpful for you! Let's keep the conversation going, message me on our social pages, I'd love to hear from you!