Nobody is unworthy or unimportant. Even if you do genuinely feel that way, you have the ability to change that conception.
People have an unfortunate tendency of measuring their self-worth in accordance with things like their relationship status, job title, or income—as if being a wife, VP, or the owner of a six-figure salary is all that could ever define a person.
As a result, we pine for these things, and criticize ourselves when we can’t seem to acquire them.
I know I’ve struggled with this in my own life. Before I was co-pastor of my church, World Changers, I thought myself less valuable because I wasn’t yet in a leadership position, nor did I see myself ever being able to rise into a leadership role as female leaders are so rare in faith-based organizations.
There are numerous problems with this. But the most troubling is that when we tie our worth as people to measurements of status, we lose sight of our inherent worth.
You know, the stuff that makes us unique and interesting and valuable as people, otherwise known as our intrinsic value—the value that exists in its own right within each of us.
To be a wife or a CEO is a beautiful and incredible opportunity. But what truly makes someone “valuable” or “worthy” isn’t so quantifiable. Rather, it’s qualitative. It’s tied to the intangible value you bring to the world—whether that be through your natural or learned skills and abilities, your empathy and curiosity, or how you endeavor to give back. That’s what matters. The rest—your relationship status or professional title, for example—is just window dressing.
It’s critical that you appreciate this fact. Because only when you’re confident in your inherent worth will you truly succeed and accomplish all your professional and personal dreams.
Of course, being so confident in practice is hard. So, how do you do it?
The first step is to reflect seriously on what makes you you.
The qualities that comprise your inherent worth are, unfortunately, sometimes hard to spot. They’re at least not as visible to the outside world as a ring or desk placard. Some aren’t visible on the outside at all.
To identify and appreciate them, then, you need to step back, reflect, and survey your invisible qualities. Think about what elements of your personality you like and respect. What have you done in the past to demonstrate the existence of these qualities? What do you do now to prove you possess them?
When I do this, I’m able to identify all sorts of things about myself that I love and pride myself on that I don’t normally think about. I know I have all kinds of admirable qualities which contribute to my worth, and none of them have anything to do with my job.
Try this on your own. It will help you realize that, again, while titles like “wife,” “mother,” and “CEO” are beautiful, they don’t actually define you. And they certainly don’t define your worth.
More generally, work on yourself from within.
To appreciate your inherent worth, you have to really believe you possess it. And that starts on the inside, with who you genuinely believe yourself to be.
After all, the person you think you are is the person you present to the world.
To this end, reflection isn’t enough. It’s not enough to identify your inherent qualities. You have to convince yourself that you’ve earned them and that they’re themselves valuable and useful—that they really do contribute to making you who you are.
You also have to challenge the voice in your head urging you to think the worst about yourself.
Simply put, nobody is actually unworthy or unimportant. Even if you do, right now, genuinely feel that way, you have the ability to change that conception. It’s within your control.
And it’s incumbent upon you—if you really do want to realize your potential—to take the steps necessary to form a more genuine and healthy view of yourself, whether through meditation, therapy, or daily affirmations. Work to believe that you really do matter and that you do have value, because you the truth is, you do.
If you don’t start thinking this way, you risk holding yourself back. You risk acquiescing to these inauthentic beliefs, accepting the superfluous standards of modern society. And when you do that, you end up settling for mediocrity—because without self-esteem, you can’t apply the effort and diligence required of elevating yourself.
Again, it’s not easy to combat negative thoughts, reflect upon your inherently valuable qualities, and work to appreciate them. For some folks, especially—those who grew up in challenging circumstances, for example—it’s really hard.
But you have to try. If you want to live a happy, productive, and fulfilling life, one that very well may result in your raising a family or building a company, the first and most essential step is believing in and loving yourself.