If BEAUTY is about self-esteem, self-appreciation, self-love, then self-worth is part of this conglomerate of self-[insert cool word]. Also, you’re going to need coffee for this saga. This might be a relatable story- one in which you may either end up hating me as a writer or appreciate that I felt compelled to share some of my thought bubbles. If anything, I just sincerely hope you’ll walk away feeling good about yourself because you should- you’re worth it. It doesn’t matter if we don’t know each other, know each other and don’t like one another, or know each other and unbiasedly really like one another, you are still worth it. I really mean it.
WHAT IS SELF-WORTH?
a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect
YOU HAVE SELF-WORTH
Why am I even yammering about this? Because it’s a little soul shattering when your self-worth gets questioned. It needs to be written about, not by a celebrity who has 9 million people admiring/hating them, but a regular old fart like me with barely 5 friends. You’ve probably at one time in your life, experienced someone who makes you question your self-worth. You can’t escape it unless you live in a cave, alone, with Josh Groban CDs, because Josh don’t judge.
We are bombarded with messages that, in small or large ways, affect our self-worth. From our life choices to the foods we eat, the clothes we wear, they way we let our kids use a pacifier, the way we don’t take our kids to soccer because we want to bring them to karate instead, the way we don’t breathe enough, the lipstick we choose, the books we read, the way we feel, the way we think, that religion we choose or don’t choose, and thanks to check-out lane magazines, the way we don’t have 6-pack abs after giving birth. *insert UGH face*
Ok, so even though we shouldn’t CARE SO MUCH what anyone else thinks about us, we are human and things affect us. And, sure, you also need to look inside yourself, believe in yourself, yadda yadda yadda…. but, you’re not just BORN knowing what your self-worth really means. It takes place with your parents/caregiver, your preschool teacher, and grows or dies from there.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou
WHERE SELF-WORTH STARTS TO GROW
New research findings by the University of Washington states that children establish their self-esteem by the age of 5. This is established before going to preschool, rather than developed IN preschool. This suggests that children learn self-esteem/self-worth from those they are around the most during their first 5 years of life, parents or a consistent caregiver (Cvencek, 2016). Such people impart a sense of confidence, can-do-anything attitude, and guide you to success in the face of failure and frustration. Can you think of someone who made you feel like you could keep running even though you tripped on a rock and scraped your knee? Or someone who kept nudging you forward when you had a tough time in school or work because they knew the frustrations were temporary? Or someone who never let you quit because they knew you had potential, for some level of greatness? If you can think of someone, text them and say thank you. Right now. These are the people who planted the self-worth seed and nurtured it.
WHERE SELF-WORTH CAN DIE
Then you grow up, go out into the real world, like elementary school. There are great people in elementary school, and then there are those meanies who gave you the first taste of what it feels like to feel bad about yourself.
I sometimes wish I had the ability to block out some painful memories of people who shattered my self-worth growing up.
That friend in 4th grade who made and then unmade me her best friend every other week until 8th grade. That best friend in high school who showed me what a one-way friendship was like, her way. That guy in high school who “cared” for me yet got mad that I took an AP English exam without him while saying things like “Don’t even try, no one will ever like you and you’ll get nowhere.”
I’m not playing boo-hoo victim here because I let these people do this to me. It wasn’t because my parents didn’t tell me these people were actually stupid. I just didn’t listen. I wanted to be liked. Only when I learned that this was NOT ok, I learned not to let it happen again. Sometimes, it’s hard to recognize when you are killing your self-worth or letting someone else do it for you.
For girls, killing your self-worth can be as simple as: “OMG I AM SO FAT”–“OMG NO YOU AREN’T, BECKY!” It’s small, it’s harmless, but these self-depreciating thoughts and statements get us no closer to anything good. But, we do it, it’s our thing when our pants don’t fit.
But, when someone else does it, it looks like my youth- painful. It can be someone you love just making passing comments on the way you are raising your children. It can be someone who apparently profoundly cares about you but will put you down with a smile. When someone makes you feel BAD about yourself, makes you question yourself, that in essence, is how your self-worth slowly dies.
@Makeup Brew Tulips
UH, SO WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?
We’ve all been there, at the bottom of someone’s shoe. Maybe we are there currently, but what can we do?
I’m not qualified to tell you what to do. I kinda think we can maybe figure that out together. It’s hard, to just cut people off from your life. The older we get, the more we try to hold on. We hold onto history, memories, and we just can’t let them go because how dare we? How dare we do what’s right for ourselves? How dare we think about ourselves lest we get labeled as selfish, inconsiderate, rude, unworthy, self-centered? How dare we try to live by trying to increase the quality of our lives? How dare we try to find our right fit? How dare we forsake every single sacrifice they ever made for us?
But, ever think that the people who break your soul are the ones who are actually just thinking about themselves? Or, are they just kind of miserable themselves? There needs to be a time where it’s OK to think of yourself, not just on #SELFCARESUNDAYS. When you are hurting, when you are not happy, when you don’t feel fulfilled- it’s ok to change all that. We talk about self-love and self-improvement but when we try to practice this, we get called names and get bullied. It doesn’t make any sense. So, we keep going on with the same problems, the same bad feelings, suffering in silence sometimes, and we end up wasting our whole lives at the mercy of other people’s criticisms and expectations.
In order to change it all, I think we have to feel it in our gut. That feeling like “Let’s do this.” You know it when you feel it. There’s a sense of fervor and urgency to make your life better no matter what. However, no matter what you decide to do, do it with a gentleness so that the farewell doesn’t leave anyone wanting to do voodoo on you.
@Makeup Brew Tulips
PRACTICE SHOWING OTHERS THEIR SELF-WORTH
How can we understand our own self-worth then? Sometimes, we can show other’s their self-worth. I think it’s simple in trying to practice what you are trying to preach. Oh god, am I preaching, I’m sorry. But, it’s like the “do unto others as you would possibly like to have them do to you” thing.
What are you talking about, Crazy Person?
So…ever meet someone you don’t really vibe with? It’s awkward and painful, but you’re supposed to like…be friends or try? I have these moments and I start excessively rambling because I just want to drown in my own words. Then, I see my husband who is like 5 million times nicer than me simply say, “Oh, so I heard you were trying to be an astronaut, it sounds cool, what’s it like?” Then, I see that weird person perk up and start talking to him like an old friend. That perking up is a physical indication that the weird person felt some increase of self-worth. Like, “oh wow, someone’s interested in me trying to be an astronaut. I’m maybe cool?”
Sometimes, a simple extension of kindness in the form of coffee, because coffee opens doors to gentle communication (usually). Or, a genuine compliment/question conveying some interest in that person will open them up. Then, a nice exchange should ensue. Showing interest in that weird person kind of boosts their self-worth and when they reciprocate by actually speaking to you, yours grows, too.
Sometimes people are operating on assumptions. They “FEEL” you don’t like them or vice versa and there’s no concrete evidence to support this. Sometimes living in a world where you are suspicious of people for the way they look, the way they act, the way they are too happy, too sad, too quiet, too funny, too anything, can affect the way you treat them. This not only affects their self-worth but also yours in return.
I’m not saying this is easy but try a little. Try to give someone who might need a little morale boosting and see where it takes you. Then, try again. Like, try three times before you call it quits. If you’ve already tried to no avail, then just move on. Some people, you just can’t. There’s a point where you are trying to understand these astronaut dreams when they are so unresponsive. That’s when you need to move on. In trying to give THEM so much self-worth that you start looking a desperate, pleading bastard. That’s not cool for anyone, so move on.
SIDE STORY: WHEN SOMEONE I USED TO NOT REALLY LIKE GAVE ME SELF-WORTH
There was a significant moment in my life that changed my views about my own self-worth. This deals with my brother in law. Hi AW. Truth is, when my sister was about to get married to him, I didn’t understand why. I came to the conclusion that it was her life her choice, but ugh. Like, why? He seemed so..pompous. I thought I didn’t do a good job of bullying my sister as a kid that she had to go marry someone who seemed arrogant.
AOL Keyword: SEEMED.
One trip, he and sister were talking about work- being busy, checking emails, and looking really important because they wear these Dr. lab coats and follow HIPPA rules. I follow toddler rules but felt I could be following HIPPA rules, too. Anyway, my brother in law then starts yammering about kids and moms and I was bracing for something arrogant people would say.
Then, it came. The words out of his mouth: You choose to be with your kids despite all the other things you could be doing and I think that’s so important. It’s not about making money, being in the ivory tower, curing the AIDS..it’s about raising your kids. They’re the future. No one should make you feel bad for this decision because they think you need to be doing something else or that you need to be just like them and juggle 90 things. I admire that you’re with your kids and believe that makes a positive life difference. Everything else is a moot point.
I almost swerved into a tree because I was overcome with shock. Wow, he didn’t look down on me because I wasn’t donning a lab coat like him, my Dr. sister, or his Dr. psychiatrist sister? I was just mental and thinking all these stupid things that I thought HE THOUGHT about me this whole time.
Ever since that moment, things changed between us and for me. He gifted me a sense of worth that I had been missing for so long. All because I felt I was supposed to be doing something else. All because other people kept feeding sh*t into my brain that being a SAHM was not really a “job”. I would have never expected him to be the person to put back the pieces of my self-worth because I thought he was arrogant and wondered whyyy my sister even married him. Now, when they visit, the hello-hugs are more genuine, the laughter is more real, and the bonds are ever growing. I’m sorry I thought you were arrogant and pompous. And, Thank you, Dr. AW.
HOLD ONTO PEOPLE WHO GROW YOUR SELF-WORTH
I think about people who have come into my life when I was already a big kid and pumped my self-worth full of antioxidants. Every time I fell apart, they were there with super glue to piece me back together without me having to ask. Every time I changed from what I was before into something they didn’t recognize, they simply guided me back. without making me feel like the worst person to exist on the planet. Had I never experienced self-worth killers in my early years on earth, I would have never recognized the self-worth revivers.
These self-worth revivers are the most selfless type of people. They literally just want you to be happy, not treat them TOO badly, and they’d be willing to do anything for you. They never judge you in your worst moments, even if those moments last a year or two or three. They are always ready to cheer you on whenever you have an idea you want to pursue and make sure you see it through to its fruition.
“Every time you let someone make you feel less worthy, you unwittingly give them power over you”
Nothing in life is perfect except that occasional cup of coffee brewed just right and milk frothed just so. I’m not that cup of coffee and luckily I’ve found people who don’t expect me to be. I think when you have friends who are willing to fight with you, for you, even when they have insurmountable battles of their own, what is that? It’s optional unconditional love and the perfect environment to grow your self-worth. It’s like optional parental love because they could dump you in the jungle with no spears, but they don’t. And because of this, self-worth flourishes. This is where everyone should focus their energies so that they may grow into better people. Not on the people who make you feel like you belong at the bottom of their shoes.
Do you have best friends and family on earth you can picture at your funeral crying, laughing, and missing you? If you do, spend your energies on them and don’t like the others get to you. These are the people who see YOUR self-worth and thus, you gotta see it too, before it’s too late.
SO, THINK OF IT THIS WAY
Do you want to be 89 on your death bed wishing you had never let someone have power over you? Telling you what to do? How to do it? When to be happy? When to be sad? With them? Without them? For them? Because of them? Like, dying and the whole time you were alive, you didn’t even have the ovaries to believe in your own self-worth?
I like to take a morbid approach to living. Not because I’m into hunting ghosts, but because sometimes, you need to be a little cut-throat to improve the quality of your life..because say it with me: LIFE IS TOO SHORT. If you’ve ever gone to a funeral, that is when there’s an outpouring of love for the deceased. I think if I die tomorrow, who’s going to come to my funeral and have something nice to say? Who’s going to cry that I’m gone? When I look at the podium, am I going to see my best friends ever on earth sharing good memories? My best friend who has the password to my accounts? The one who knows too many things and I hope he doesn’t talk about all of them in his eulogy..looking at you EAV. My family? My husband who breathed life into my self-worth since we were 19? Or like, the cashier I like to visit with at Trader Joe’s? Or my family physician? My neighbor? The effing UPS guy who throws all my packages?
Whoever is going to go to your funeral tomorrow because they want to, not because they have to, spend all your efforts on them today. And, I can pretty much promise you, once you change your focus, you’ll always feel like the worthy, loved, and important astronaut for all the days of your life.