Last week, we talked about what is self-worth and where does it stem from, but how exactly do we start to gauge our level of self-worth?
You can start to identify your personal level of self-worth by paying attention to the inner dialogue that you have with yourself. Sometimes this dialogue can sound like the following phrases: I’m not good enough, I don’t deserve…, I always have bad luck, or I can’t trust anyone.
You may be thinking, “I don’t say things like that to myself.” Ahhh! But here’s the thing – there are tons of other phrases you are likely saying, and the thing about all of the phrases is that they can be very, very sneaky. Phrases like these are a part of our inner limiting beliefs that hold us back. However, these beliefs sit below our conscious awareness; yet, they control the majority of our behaviors.
Take inventory on the following:
· Are my relationships often one-sided?
· Do I often lack boundaries with the people in my life?
· Am I constantly apologizing (even when I didn’t do anything)?
· Do I have a chronic fear of failing?
· Do I have a chronic fear of rejection?
· Do I often put everyone else’s needs before my own?
· Do I often doubt myself or second guess my decisions?
· Is my outlook on situations and life, in general, negative more often than not?
· Do I often blame myself when things go wrong?
· Do I often blame myself when other people don’t like me or have an issue with me?
· Do I often worry about what other people will say or think or seek their approval?
· Am I highly critical of myself throughout the day?
· Do I often highlight my weaknesses while rarely acknowledging my strengths?
· Do I quickly dismiss or minimize compliments or praise from others?
· Do I always stay in my comfort zone (when setting goals or planning)?
· Do the majority of my conversations consist of talking about others (i.e. gossiping)?
· Am I constantly comparing myself to others?
· Do I struggle to ask for help or for the things I need?
· Am I always trying to please other people?
· Do I often settle for less than I desire or always allow others to have first pick?
It is important to keep in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. There are many more indicators, but we’d be here all day. This is just a starting point to begin to get an idea of where you may fall on your self-worth scale.
Now… how many questions did you answer “yes” to? The more questions you answered “yes” to, then the lower your sense of self-worth. Let’s look at one of these in more depth…
Take the chronic fear of failure, for example. In relationships, this might look like not holding your significant other accountable for their part in the relationship. Instead, you do all of the “work” (that’s meant for two people) because the relationship must work by any means necessary – even if that means at your expense. If you don’t make up for the slack, then the relationship may fail.
And your fear of failure may be rooted in the fear of being a failure or not being good enough. So, if the relationship fails, then that equates to YOU’RE a failure. (And for the record, that’s absolutely not true but inner beliefs aren’t necessarily based on logic, truth, and reason.)
So, you will either stay in a toxic relationship to avoid its perceived failure OR if the relationship ends anyway, you’ll repeat the same cycle in future relationships of the same nature. And because those relationships failed, you only reinforce the subconscious belief that you’re a failure while further reinforcing your fear of failure (leading to the same behaviors). And the cycle repeats itself. Very self-fulfilling tendencies, if you will.
Whew! Are you still with me? Let’s look at how this might show up professionally…
You’re in a meeting with your colleagues. You have a really great idea to advance the discussion, but it goes against the grain a little bit. Rather than speak up to share your novel idea, your fear of failure causes you to give a commonly accepted, safe response or causes you to not speak up at all. In other words, you shrink yourself – completely forgetting that you’re in that meeting for a reason.
Or maybe you’re unsatisfied with your current position. When an opportunity for a promotion with your dream role becomes available, you convince yourself that you’re not qualified or that so-and-so is a better fit and will probably get it anyway. So, why even bother? Rather than shooting your shot for the position, your fear of failure will make you convince yourself that you didn’t really want it anyway. [Read: It’ll be more work or you don’t really have time or it’ll pull you away from that “thing” that you aren’t really focused on anyway, etc..]
Again, this is not exhaustive, and these are two quick examples to illustrate just how sneakily deceptive our beliefs can be and negatively impact our lives. If any of this has resonated with you, don’t feel bad or beat yourself up. Remember… it’s only human!
But luckily for us, we can change things for the better (if we choose to). And in case you’re rolling your eyes, asking “Who wouldn’t want better?” Then, let me tell you, if it were that easy, we’d all be living our happiest most fulfilled lives ever!
So, make sure you come back next week because we’re going to talk about how to boost our sense of self-worth!
Lindsey Vertner, Mindset Expert & Professional Speaker