All right, let’s get to this matter of increasing our self worth. Worth is like joy, in that it must come from within ourselves. When we know our worth from within ourselves, we no longer need to judge others in order to know where our own worthiness is positioned. A fundamental concept: Everyone is worthy, regardless of what they can/can’t do, have/don’t have, did/didn’t do, or what they look like. No exceptions. It sounds corny, but it’s true – everyone is unconditionally unique and special. Everyone has positive traits and just because someone else has a positive quality that we don’t, does not diminish us. This line a friend used to say sums it up nicely – ‘You are special and unique…just like everybody else.’
After we come to realize and accept the above, to increase our self-worth we must love ourselves. To love ourselves, start out by simply telling it to ourselves. Chances are, everyday you tell someone you love him or her. Why aren’t we telling ourselves everyday…or ever? I’m a big fan of Louise Hay, a spiritual and inspirational author, who suggests to look in the mirror and say, ‘I love you. I really, really love you…just as you are.’ Even if it seems silly or stupid at first, if we keep doing it, something kicks in and we start to feel differently about ourselves. Give it a try and see what you experience!
Next, be kind to ourselves. When we start paying attention, it is amazing to notice how many unkind thoughts we actually think about ourselves! Kind thoughts are ones that uplift us rather than make us feel bad. To be kind, tell ourselves how smart, good, pretty, and capable we are rather than how we are dumb, bad, ugly, and inept. Be nice, gentle, and non-critical of ourselves. Rather than harshly focus on what we don’t do well or how we could be better, acknowledge our positive traits, acts, and intentions.
For instance, I was sending gifts to some family members for basically no reason. I caught myself thinking, ‘This is a dumb idea. They will wonder what the heck these are for. And if I’m giving gifts, then these gifts should be bigger and better.’ I changed my thoughts to, ‘It is very thoughtful of me to send these nice gifts for no special occasion. I am doing it because I am thinking of them and wanted to let them know in a special way. I am considerate and appreciative and my love for myself spills over to kindness to others.’
Obviously, the latter thoughts are going to be more beneficial than the former. But perhaps we say, Do a couple of thoughts really make any difference? But consider this: The National Science Foundation says we think about 12,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day. Let’s say half of these are thoughts about ourselves (totally guessing that part). Multiply 6,000 (the low end) by the number of days you’ve lived since age 5 (the approximate age psychologists suggest we become aware of self). This adds up to over 80 million for me…a big deal! Imagine if we are thinking mostly unkind, negative thoughts about ourselves. It is easy to understand how this can be detrimental to our self-worth.
Remember, we are not comparing ourselves to others. We are not saying we are better, smarter, stronger, prettier, etc. than so and so. We are simply acknowledging our God-given value. Loving and being kind to ourselves is not narcissistic. It is love of self. It is appreciation of God’s creation.
What kind thoughts about yourself are you thinking today?
Come back for more increasing our self-worth talk next time!