How do we measure value in the 21st Century?
More and more this seems to be in a monetary sense; what we do for a living, how we “spend” our time, even where we live. it’s certainly fair to say celebrities are often seen that way. As an example, Kim Kardashian’s net worth is currently $1.8billion, Elon Musk is $266.1billion. But of course, in the end, money doesn’t equal happiness. It’s important then to measure our sense of self-worth, rather than how much we have in the bank.
In my classes, I talk about the difference between self-esteem and confidence. Self-esteem is how we measure our worthiness, confidence is how we rate our ability to (e.g.) stand up in front of others and talk passionately about what we know. What this means though, is that high confidence doesn’t necessarily mean high self-esteem. In fact some of the most “confident” people in the world, are fighting their own secret battles.
It’s important to say as well, that if we have low self-esteem, that’s not a “weakness”. It can be affected by our environment, how people treat us, whether we feel like we belong somewhere, even how the media says we “should” look. We can lose ourselves before we know it. Here’s what might help:
This week, maybe set the intention to Know Your Worth. One way to raise self-esteem is to remind yourself you matter. Negative self talk (calling yourself names, beating yourself up) only serves to keep you in a negative cycle of shame. A healthier way is to think about what you have done (rather than what you haven’t) – who you’ve helped, how you’ve supported others, even keeping a “self-esteem log” of all the ways you live by your values every day.
Remember also to explore beliefs that might be limiting you, and how what I call your ‘rule book’ is affecting your view of yourself. For example, sometimes we think we’re being selfish for taking time out, even when it’s much needed, because the rule book we developed in childhood says we’re ‘lazy’ if we stop and do nothing for a while. This includes again how you talk to yourself (mentioned above) when, for example, you make a mistake. Everyone messes up from time to time, and despite what we may think (or hope), even in a planet of nearly eight billion people, the perfect human just doesn’t exist. When we can accept that mistakes are normal and part of being alive, we can cut ourselves a bit of slack.
It can also be helpful to think about what you can do, rather than what you can’t. If you hit a stumbling block at this point, it’s ok to reach out to people you trust and ask them what you’re good at – their answers may even surprise you.
This article offers some thoughts but, as strange as it sounds challenging yourself to something you’ve not done before or helping others can pick you right up. Whether it’s trying a new hobby or even just doing something lovely for a neighbour – you’ll be surprised at the feel-good feeling this can bring.
If you feel like you don’t belong somewhere, it’s ok to question what certain places (or people) are bringing to your life. Belonging doesn’t mean we have to accept what’s not good for us, so make your well-being a priority if a situation is taking its toll. It can be lonely being authentically you at times, but that’s much better than you not being yourself at all.
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