Q: I went to a party the other night, and the whole night I worried I wasn’t smart enough, wasn’t dressed right, like I just didn’t deserve to be there. How do I get over the feeling that I’m not worthy enough?
A: You suited up and you showed up, so major points for bravery, friend! I know that wasn’t easy to do. Many a time I’ve cried in my closet, agonizing over the perfect outfit for an event and it was never about the clothes. It was the overwhelming sensation that I wasn’t good enough be invited. So, I feel your pain sister/mister! There’s a saying that sometimes you have to “Fake it, ‘til you make it!” You can look around a room of 100 people and plenty of them may stand tall and look like they own the joint, but emotionally they are working hard to stay upright and not letting the fear of being found a fraud squash them.
Calculating our self-worth is a tough one, mostly because we tend to do the math wrong. We let outside forces influence the numbers, and then do ourselves a bigger disservice and count from the outside in. We then gather all that gobbledygook up and are left with a paltry bit of business that doesn’t add up. No wonder we feel worthless. What we believe we’re left to assess, doesn’t have much value. Again, that’s because the numbers are wrong. I’m going to ask that you go all forensic accounting, to get to the truth of the emotional embezzlement you’ve been experiencing.
Put your hand up and tick off these five erroneous measurements of self-worth, one at a time: 1. Appearance. 2. Net Worth. 3. Who You Know. 4. What You Do. 5. Achievements/Accomplishments. Now, close your hand. It all went away, didn’t it?! All five crushed into the palm of your hand, no longer seen. While your closed, clenched fist is still there, strong and important – we don’t see the fingers you assigned those units of measure to. Your self-worth cannot be calculated by things that can be taken away or by the measurements imposed by others.
We’re going to switch from math class to language now. The dictionary defines self-worth as a noun meaning “the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self-respect.” Boils down to self-worth’s an inside job – another noun meaning task, work, assignment, etc. Self-worth takes self-work in order to fully understand, accept, respect and love yourself and hard work takes two hands! For each finger, I want you to say something good about yourself and repeat those things a few times a day, so you commit it to memory. Then, think of a few more positive things to say and do every single day – and just keep adding, until you reach a googolplex. Might take a lifetime, but when all is said and done, you’ll discover your worth and others will, too. It’ll all add up eventually.
xo – t.