On Self Worth
Am I worth it?
This is the question I ask myself when a new opportunity or challenge comes up. And I believe I’m not the only one asking this question.
Feeling that we’re not worthy is one of the most pervasive issues I’ve come across. Lack of self worth—maybe in varying degrees—is not confined to certain cultures or boarders.
The feeling of unworthiness can manifest in various problematic ways. Consider these:
Self doubt: When we feel unworthy, we start to doubt our abilities to achieve anything. And if we can’t do anything, we feel we don’t deserve anything.
Distorted view of contribution: If I can’t see my value, I won’t be able to see the value of anything I’m offering to the world.
Misguided measure of others’ value: I won’t be able to see the value of others and what they contribute if I’m blind to my own value.
Constant need for validation and approval: We need others to prove to us that we’re worthy because we can’t see it in ourselves. But even when we get validation, it’s short lived because deep down, we don’t believe it.
Self sabotage: When I don’t think I can do anything, or I’m not worthy of anything, my subconscious mind is going to provide all the reasons and excuses for me not to follow through.
Procrastination and/or perfectionism: If I can’t get anything right, I’ll keep postponing working on it. And if I manage to start I’ll find fault every step of the way so that nothing gets finished.
Self worth is not just about our perception of our self. It’s about how we see value in the world.
Why do we feel unworthy?
The feelings result from situations where we were let down, made fun of, rejected, criticized, felt neglected, and so on. The root causes for each one of us are different.
The common denominator is that we took certain experiences and feedback and made a general statement. And we turned it into a mantra: I’m not worth it or I have nothing of value to offer.
Then we repeated the mantra till it became carved in our subconscious mind as a truth, i.e. a belief.
How to deal with lack of self worth
You can address issues of self worth by finding the root cause of the belief and then negating it.
“Self-worth comes from one thing – thinking that you are worthy.” Wayne Dyer
Today I want to propose a different approach—one that works with numbers. Just like we have a financial net worth, we’re going to create a statement of self net worth. Instead of thinking that you are worthy, you will see that you are worthy.
In financial terms net worth is equal to your assets (what you own) minus your liabilities (what you owe).
Net worth = assets – liabilities
So if you have let’s say $3,000 in your bank and you have $500 in credit card debt, your net worth would be $2,500. This is a very simple example. It gets more complicated if you own a home with a mortgage, own a car, have student loans and other kinds of debt and investments or retirement accounts. But the concept is the same.
As you probably know, money is just an arbitrary symbol that we humans decided to use as a medium of exchange. So when it comes to self value we’re going to arbitrarily choose points. Here is the breakdown of our points system:
What’s out of your control: 1 Point
Things you like (or dislike) about yourself that are genetic (i.e. you can’t do anything about them) like your height, skin color, your nose shape and so on.
This also includes limitations from injury, accidents and illness.
The limitation is one point but overcoming it would be under your control and that’s 5 points.
Things you can control: 5 points
Things you like (or dislike) about yourself that you can change. For example, being overweight without any medical problems, being a procrastinator, not eating healthy, following your dreams, and so on.
This also includes character and values, your achievements, failures, and experiences that impacted you.
Intrinsic capital: 1,000 points ??
This is the value of being … of existing right here and now. Being alive is the foundation of our entire existence, without it we won’t be having this conversation. How many points is that worth?
Remember that the odds of being born at the exact time and genetic makeup are estimated to be 1:400,000,000,000 (one in 400 trillion). What value can you put on that? I added 1000 arbitrarily. Quite honestly I feel it should be 400 trillion points!
This is value from the cosmic bank sent straight to your beautiful one of a kind self—with no strings attached.
An example of self net worth
This is a hypothetical example:
Assets (what I like about myself)
- I have beautiful hands: 1
- I like my nose: 1
- I’m at my ideal weight: 5
- Graduated college: 5
- Got my real estate license: 5
- I’m loyal: 5
- I love what I do: 5
- I survived a bear attack: 5
- I complete what I start: 5
Total assets: 37
Liabilities (what I don’t like about myself)
- I’m too short: 1
- I have oily skin: 1
- Neck pain due to pinched nerve: 1
- I don’t exercise: 5
- I haven’t started on my novel: 5
- I’m shy and don’t speak up: 5
- I procrastinate: 5
- I envy others sometimes: 5
Total liabilities: 28
Self net worth
- Assets – liabilities: 9
- Add: Intrinsic capital: 1,000
Total self net worth: 1,009
Is this really a smart way of looking at self worth?
You might think this exercise is stupid; there is no way I can put numbers on my value. And I agree; it is as absurd as using money as a medium of exchange. But it’s a way that we can see for ourselves what we like and dislike about ourselves in plain sight on paper.
You can choose to remove the numbers all together and just keep a list.
Using your statement of self net worth
A few pointers here to get the best results out of this experiment.
Update it on a regular basis.
When you start this exercise you may not remember all the positives and negatives that linger in the back of your mind. So it’s very important that you become aware of self worth thoughts as they come up and add them to your list.
Write them down as you think of them, and keep reviewing your list on a regular basis.
Most of us are probably better at coming up with things we don’t like more than the things we like. It’s important to keep track of anything positive that you do and add it to your list.
It’s really personal.
This is a very personal document so I wouldn’t encourage you to share it—unless you want constructive feedback from someone who can help you.
What you like or don’t like about yourself is your view. So some of the things you think are true about yourself might be distorted. If in doubt, ask someone you trust about the particular issue and see if they agree with you or not.
Use your self net worth for motivation.
The points I added are arbitrary and in all honesty being here trumps all the other assets and liabilities. But the good thing about having this list is that it will get you to see what you think. And maybe do something about the things you can change.
If your weight bugs you, you can start eating healthier. If you’ve been longing to write your book, you can begin writing.
At any given point you can turn liabilities under your control into assets by choosing and acting differently.
The bottom line is no matter where you look and what you add to your list, you will have a positive self net worth, if for nothing else, it’s for existing in this wondrous world.
As you read these words always remember that you are worthy of all you desire. Life loves you and that’s why you’re here—deserving of all that’s good in life and then some.
“Poor is the man who does not know his own intrinsic worth and tends to measure everything by relative value. A man of financial wealth who values himself by his financial net worth is poorer than a poor man who values himself by his intrinsic self worth.” ~Sidney Madwed