To value yourself means to feel you are useful, worthy and important. It means that you know your life is important and beneficial. It also means you have a high opinion of yourself.
All these descriptions are true and necessary for you to have the highest quality of life. Logically, you know self-worth is necessary. You know you must meet your own needs before you can truly help others.
You probably agree with others when you discuss doing nice things for yourself. You set resolutions for mental and physical self-care. You may follow through with the occasional massage or weekend away with friends.
But most likely, if the truth were to be known, you are still feeling guilt or stress about being away from your daily responsibilities of keeping it all together at home and work.
So, why is it so hard to truly value yourself for who you really are?
How to Value Yourself
For many, remembering negative experiences, comments or events is easier than remembering positive ones. It is easier to believe negative statements over compliments. You may tend to agree with negative comments or experiences because your valuation of your self is low.
And your valuation of your self may be low because you feel tired, broke and mentally unwell. You think that if you were such a great person, you would not be feeling so bad.
Another reason is that you may be comparing your life to what you think is a great life of someone you know. However, your perceptions you have are skewed because you are given just a small snapshot of their lifestyle. What you see is not always the real story, especially on social media, where everyone posts only the good things going on in their lives and leave out anything negative.
The truth is that no person, relationship or family has a great life all the time.
Finally, the expectations you place on yourself may be unrealistic. You are not super-human. No one is super-human. If you expect yourself to be perfect, you will always be disappointed because no one is perfect.
Learning to reverse these behaviors that cause you to de-value yourself is key to finding happiness within. Below are more ways to find value in who you really are.
Discover Your True Self
Before you can begin to value yourself, you need to know who you are. Many times, people take on the likes and dislikes of others, whether friends or significant others. You may like the same music as your spouse, you may have the same friends as your sibling, or you may eat at restaurants that members of your family pick.
Make time to find out your likes and dislikes. What are your dreams and goals in life? What is on your bucket list? Your music preferences? Your favorite foods? Not theirs, yours.
Fire Your Inner and Outer Critics
If you have people in your life that constantly put you down or discourage you verbally, it is time to make changes. It is easy to believe your own thoughts, even if they are false. Sometimes your inner critic is louder than anything positive.
When you find yourself talking to yourself negatively, immediately switch those thoughts to something positive. For every bad statement there is a good one that can replace it. For every “you are not good enough” there is a “you can do this” to follow it.
When criticisms come from people who are supposed to care about you, it is time to evaluate how much time you spend with them. Limiting your time with negative influencers gives you more time to realize how much better you feel about yourself when they are not around.
With some people, you will need to set and protect clear boundaries.
Protect Your Boundaries
Boundaries in relationships are set to protect you from emotional, physical or mental abuse. The more you extend your time for the benefit of others, the less time you have for yourself. The more you say “yes” to activities you do not want to do, the more regret, stress and dread you place on yourself.
Limit yourself to one or two extra activities to participate in each year. You do not owe any explanations as to why you say “no” to requests for help. If they get mad, that is their problem not yours. They may just be jealous that they were unable to say “no” also.
Do Not Settle
There are so many ways men and women settle in their lifestyles. Some because of guilt, some because of pressure, and others because of low self-value.
Maybe you are driving a worn-out vehicle, but your spouse or teenager are driving brand new vehicles. Maybe you have not bought yourself new clothes in two years because you feel you need to spend your clothing budget on your children.
Maybe you do not join a gym, do not get a massage, do not buy the healthy food options for yourself because you feel someone else deserves the extra money. Or, maybe you stay working in a job that is demeaning and does not pay well.
These are all ways you may be settling for less when you deserve better. Not settling means you recognize your needs to stay fit mentally and physically, and you meet those needs.
The more therapeutic tools you have, the easier this can be.
Build Your Toolbox
The best way to learn techniques and tools that increase the way you feel about yourself is to work with a mental health professional. They can provide you with a list of activities you can use to increase your self-esteem.
From journaling, art therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, music therapy, exercise and meditation, the tools you learn while working with a therapist can also help you discover yourself, set boundaries, and avoid settling.
In conclusion, these are just a few ways to value yourself for who you really are. Who you are, deserves to live a great life.
Photo by bruce mars