“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”
One day, I sat at a coffee shop, relaxing with friends. Among the various topics we discussed, that day, one was self-worth. There were exciting conversations about how people around us looked at self-worth. I picked up my phone, showed them the above image and asked them a simple question, “how much will you pay for these tomatoes?”. Some thought to themselves, “what a silly question”, but they still responded. One of them said, “the tomatoes look good, I would pay what is on the price tag”. Another said, “I will negotiate and get the best deal”. One friend, sitting next to me, said that he would check the quality and then decide. I then asked, “who wants to pay more than what is on the price tag?” The response was, “are you out of our mind, who will pay more than the price tag?” I then looked at everyone and asked, “what is the tag you have on yourself?” Remember, people will not pay an extra penny than what you have written on your tag. Only you know what you are worth, do not let others decide that for you! I left them with that message.
Who then is defining our self-worth? No prizes for guessing, yes, it’s social media, advertisements on TV, our education system and at times even our parents. The ads on TV, the number of likes on our post on social media, the percentage we score in our exams, etc. are the deciding factors of our self-worth. Instead, it should be us who decide what our worth is. We should base that on the expertise & knowledge we have acquired in life. One should not get carried away by the ads which create a false aura, saying, if you don’t have what they are selling, you are not worth it!!
Are self-worth and self-esteem the same? Not really! There is a slight difference. Our accomplishments (winning awards, accumulation of wealth and assets, etc.), social status (holding social and career positions etc.) etc., give us self-esteem. It is what comes from how people around us, recognise, admire, respect us etc. Self-worth, on the other hand, is our actual value. It is based on the knowledge we have acquired and the experience we have gained in life, the principles we stand by and the causes that concern us. It can’t be taken away from us. It is who we are. It doesn’t depend on the amount of wealth we possess, the designations we hold or any other material gains of our life. It is the tag we have given ourselves, unlike self-esteem, which is a tag put by others. Hence what really matters is, what you think about yourself and not what others think about you.
As Bruce Lee once said, “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering”. Our life is worth remembering only when we know our self-worth. Bruce Lee had perseverance, dedication and passion for what he was doing. He perfected the art of Kung fu, and that is what defined his self-worth. Bruce Lee did not get lead roles in the US; people could not recognise his worth. He decided to move to Hong Kong, where he made it big. He never gave-up his self-worth, even in his bad times. This commitment got him to the top of the charts.
If you are currently in that position where you are low or not sure of your self-worth, here are a few things you could do to increase it.
Many a time, we put ourselves down more than others. We keep telling ourselves we are not capable or we are not worth it, or we can’t do it, etc. For example, it could be that we made a bad presentation in front of the management or it could be that we had an unfortunate incident in our life or we could have scored poorly in our exams etc. Forgiving ourselves, for all that has happened in the past, is the first thing we should ensure, is done. Forgiving ourself saying, “what has happened has happened, now I know my worth and will lead a great life”, is very important. At the same time, developing self-acceptance, of what or who we are now, is equally essential. Never put yourself down at any cost.”You are what you are” accept this fact and life will become more enjoyable.
In-depth knowledge of anything we do is the deciding factor in knowing our self-worth. The moment we possess the skills and expertise in any area, our self-confidence will go up. Once we have a higher level of confidence, our self-worth will go up. In-depth knowledge and self-confidence always go hand in hand. People get to know our self-worth by our knowledge and our level of confidence.
How you carry yourself when things are going rough, will decide your self-worth. Every human being goes through turbulent times, at some point in their life. When in the harsh phase, do not put your self-worth down. Let’s take job loss due to economic slowdown, as a practical example of a rough phase. After a while, the economy will recover, and people with experience will be back in demand. All the expertise, knowledge and capabilities you have, will remain with you only and it can be put back to work anytime. If you lower your self-worth, at this time, the phase will look worse than it actually is. This situation is a temporary phase and will pass faster, based on your mindset. You could do odd jobs for survival in this phase, but that doesn’t mean your self-worth will go down. It’s the way you carry yourself. The good times will be back and by knowing the way you handled the circumstances; people will realise your self-worth. Even in this phase, you learn and gain experience in managing a situation. On the flip side, if you let your self-worth down, you may not be able to rise-up, in many cases. Low self-worth leads to severe consequences for you and your family. But one thing to keep in mind is, the world will still run without you; it’s about you and how you make the best of a situation.
We should always remember that we are a unique creation. There is no second person like us, on this earth. If we ask 10 people for the solution to a problem, we may get 10 ways to solve it. So, everybody has a different approach to lead their life. Then how can we compare ourselves to others? Comparison is the biggest mistake every human does. In the process of comparing ourselves to others, we put our self-worth down. You are unique, and your strength is different than the others of your group or society. Instead of comparing yourself with others, set yourself a baseline. That will lead you to success and its more comfortable for you.
“I can’t tell you the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone” – Ed Sheeran. Trying to please everyone is the biggest illusion I had earlier in life. I had made it the purpose of my life, that everyone around me is delighted by my humbleness. But you know what, people take you for granted when you do this. If people take you for granted, they will kill your self-worth and put you down in every interaction. Take control of the situation and set your self-worth with every interaction. Doesn’t mean, you shouldn’t be helpful to people. Definity, you should be a part of the social cause in your society and should be known for your social responsibilities but, not at the cost of your self-worth.
Do not procrastinate. Every time you dream of things and fail, you put yourself down. Overthinking leads to lower self-worth! Comparison is the biggest culprit for procrastinating in what you can do. Always know your strengths and work towards fine-tuning it. People need someone substantial in a specific field, than who is mediocre in every area, but not strong in any. Sharpen your sword and stop procrastinating to increase your self-worth.
Know your self-worth and set the right tag for yourself! Remember, no one will value you at even a penny more than what you set on the tag. I will leave you with the same question, what is the tag you have set for yourself?