This season has forced us to come face-to-face with the reality of our own self-worth…and most people are struggling. Without external means of validating our worth as we are forced to stay home or are laid off from work, many of my coaching clients have found themselves questioning their own worth and value. As uncomfortable and frightening as it is, this is a great opportunity to do some work that will free us to live a better life. We can learn to build our self-worth from the inside and appreciate that we are worthy and of value just by being.
So what does realizing your own worth and value from the inside look like? Self-worth issues are a struggle for every person I have ever met. They have been for me too. I want to share a framework that has helped me get to a healthier and more peaceful place, and one that I use with my clients to build their self-worth and confidence. My framework is rooted in my faith and God’s love for me, although can be helpful no matter what you believe.
It starts with exploration. Slow down and consider who you really are. We are so caught up in learning about our external world, that we don’t make the time to learn about ourselves. Most of us don’t have a clue who we are. This is part of our self-worth issue. We can start to learn by exploring questions like these:
What values do I operate from? What beliefs do I hold as truth? What is meaningful to me? What skills and perspectives do I have to offer? The answers to these questions can be the building blocks for your internal self-worth and value. When you know more about who you are, you are more confident in what you can offer to the world. When you offer your unique perspectives and skills more regularly, you start to see that your ideas and voice are valuable and that no one has them but you. This builds your internal self-worth and confidence. It doesn’t happen overnight, it is a process. If you keep showing up and keep delivering on your commitments to yourself and providing your unique value, your self-worth will build.
Next we have to do some unpacking and letting go. We all have limiting beliefs and fears based on life experiences that we need to unravel. Every single one of us, no matter how we grew up have fears and false, limiting beliefs we need to face and free ourselves from. Ask yourself: What stories do I tell myself that hold me back? What do I believe about myself and the world that are based on fear or hurt? What life experiences impacted me the most and what was that impact on my beliefs about myself or the world? Who do I need to forgive?
These questions start to identify some of the fears and limiting beliefs you need to work to heal and shed. Two key skills that we learn during this process will serve us well for the remainder of our life: radical acceptance and radical forgiveness. We will unpack things we’ve done that cause us shame or pain, and we will certainly identify other people who have hurt us in some way. As you do this unpacking, it’s important to remember that these things are in the past. Forgive yourself and others for these hurts. Accept that what’s done is done. Stop resisting. Until we accept what is, we can’t move forward to healing and what could be.
Accepting and forgiving allow us to put all our energy into how we move forward from here, and free us from giving any energy to past resentment. This practice of acceptance and forgiveness is something you will have to do over and over and over again for the rest of your life. Past hurts may continue to hurt us, and we will experience new pain. Recognize where you are today. Forgive the past. Focus on the future.
As these skills are practiced and developed, you will continue to to feel the weight lift. You will see yourself and the world in a whole new way with bigger and better possibilities because your worldview and self view are no longer clouded by shame, anger, resentment, and fear. You may need support during your unpacking journey. It’s important to have friends, family, therapists, healers, mentors, teachers, or coaches who can continue to remind you of your value and worthiness as you move through the unraveling and unpacking.
One way you can be supportive to someone else going through their unpacking or consistently questioning their self-worth is to make it a point to consistently give them positive feedback on their internal, inherently good traits. Not about what they do, but about who they are. Things like, “You are a great listener and I feel cared for when you listen to me.” “I admire your passion for helping others.” “I appreciate that as we consider decisions, you are always thinking about how it will affect the kids.” Be specific and make it about their internal, unique skills, perspectives, ideas, etc.
The best source for boosting self-worth is the Bible. Read about how God sees us. How He created us and how He thinks about us. He sees us the way we were meant to be seen, and loves us the way we were meant to be loved. Here are a few of my favorite verses that remind me of His perspective and His love for me:
I am holy and without blame before Him in love (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16).
I am merciful, I do not judge others, and I forgive quickly. As I do this by God’s grace, He blesses my life (Luke 6:36-38).
I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ Jesus who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13).
Find more from Joyce Meyer’s great post “Knowing Who I Am in Christ” here.