What is Self-Worth and Why is it So Important?

#Self-worth, the trendy story.

What is self-worth, and why is it so important?  Maybe you haven’t noticed, but lately, the idea or notion of having a strong sense of self-worth has become all the rage.  The terms “love yourself”, and “self-worth” trend on social media platforms. All around you the theme is  “Improve and love yourself”.  You may wonder why that is. Truthfully I believe it has to do with the fact that people are starting to wake up to the idea that so many of our struggles are locked behind the gate of self-worth.  In fact, tt’s not the quick fixes, the diet pills, or the easy-outs that pave the road to success and happiness.  Not by a long shot.  

Nurturing your sense of self-worth creates opportunities in your life that, without it, you may never even notice let alone be brave enough to take. The belief that you are worthy allows you to traverse so many obstacles that someone who felt unworthy may not be able to face.

What is Self-worth?

So what is self-worth, and why is it so important?  Is it just a trendy idea?  A holistic, peace-loving, chakra studying awareness that is supposed to make our lives all better?  My answer is yes and no. I think it takes a sense of harmony and willingness for inner-peace to cultivate an environment that allows self-worth to grow.  We will get into that further down the road.

Dictionary.com defines self-worth as “another term for self-esteem”.  Gee thanks, that doesn’t really help us much does it?  Sometimes I want to look at the internet and just say “duh”. We all know in some vague sense that the term self-worth revolves around our self-esteem. Yet there is so much more to it.  

I searched on and found that the Merriam Webster Dictionary added a little bit more to the flavor of the word, defining self-worth as a sense of one’s own value as a human being; Self-Esteem.

I want you to read that definition again; Self-worth is the value you place on yourself in this life.  Other definitions I found scattered across the internet are:

  • A feeling/sense that you are a good person who deserves respect
  • Another word for self-esteem to describe what you think, feel, and believe about yourself.
  • The intrinsic value that you bring into the world.

Basically, it’s the way you measure what you’re worth in this world. No big deal right? WRONG! This is a huge deal. Somewhere along the way, the world has conditioned us to believe that we have very little value and that what we contribute in life is unworthy of greatness.  This is something that needs to change!

 Living Small

When I think of the impact of the world around me, and how it affects who I am as a person with value and worth, I feel small.  I have spent my whole life, up until recently, living with the idea that I am not worthy of anything; especially love, happiness, success, or compassion. Sounds sad, doesn’t it? Lonely even. Want to know what’s worse? I’m 100% sure that I’m not alone. I’m in great company with almost everyone else on this planet.  

A precious few humans have figured out how to unlock their self-worth, and man did I envy them.  It didn’t matter that they had flaws that society deemed unacceptable, or not beautiful. They saw inside themselves a value that is rock solid and worthy of greatness.   What did I have in comparison?  A burning desire to be small?  To not laugh too loud, or show people that I loved things about myself.  I was the fat kid after all, what could I possibly love about myself?

Embarrassment leaves scars.

I remember being embarrassed by such silly things, but that embarrassment was so bone-deep that 25 years later I still remember the wash of shame and the heat that flooded my cheeks. Perhaps I overheard a boy I like making fun of something I ate, or one of the mean girls at school whispering that fat girls shouldn’t wear something I had on. 

You think as you grow older, those are just growing pains. They fade, and you are allowed to come into your own.  Yet how does that happen when in your formative years any sense of value that you were supposed to develop was wiped away from everything around you?

Honest answer; it doesn’t.  Instead, it creates a desire to hide. A need to live small, to not be seen. If you draw attention then you risk ridicule for being you. You can’t dare show the world that you think you are good enough.  Society, even at a very young age, conditions us to live in fear of our own greatness. It’s good for business.

 “In a society that profits from  your self-doubt, loving yourself is a rebellious act ~unknown”

what is self-worth and why is it so important

Self-worth is the key

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many people in my life. It’s through those people that I’ve been able to come to this conclusion:  Everything we do in our lives is determined by the value that we place on ourselves.

Self-worth isn’t just a way to measure how you feel about yourself, it’s the key to unlocking every potential avenue in your life.  Follow me down this little rabbit hole if you will, as I explain just what I mean.  

Let’s say you’re entire life you have wanted to start a business, something that you are extremely passionate about. It could be anything!  One day the opportunity falls into your lap that you could have this dream become a reality.  A person with a strong sense of self-worth, who believes in the value of who they are, would look at that opportunity as a gift. They would be filled with passion and excitement, and take it! Using that sense of value to spur them on to great success. 

Now let’s say that you are a person with a low sense of self-worth.  How would you react if given the same opportunity?  Me personally, I would overthink it, be scared that I would fail. I wouldn’t believe that I could succeed in this opportunity and I would take the safe, less fulfilling path. Without that foundation of worth, you just won’t believe you are capable of creating greatness in your own life. 

So I ask you again; what is self-worth and why is it so important?  It’s everything that you value about yourself, and it’s the key that unlocks your true potential on this earth.  The purpose of your story you were born to write. 

“It’s not who you are that holds you back. It’s who you think you are not ~unknown”

Signs that you may have low self-worth

Most of us that have grown up feeling inadequate, or not enough, have become so accustomed to it that it’s a natural part of our life. The habits that we have built up to shrug off the insecurity, or hide from our own value are as natural to us as breathing. 

Think about it, do you have more negative thoughts about yourself than you do positive?  Is it natural to immediately criticize your body or choices? Are you afraid your partner or loved one will leave you if you do something wrong?  Do you sometimes get excited about an idea or opportunity and immediately berate yourself for that excitement?

Somewhere along the way you have conditioned yourself to think you aren’t good enough. If you are honestly not sure whether you suffer from lack of self-worth here are a few easily recognizable signs.

  • The need to live small: Meaning that you have difficulty speaking up for yourself. Prioritizing your needs over others. No matter how frustrated you are, the idea of standing up for yourself leaves you terrified. 
  • Lacking the confidence to make choices: The simplest of decisions can be a burden because of your fear and obsession with making the wrong choice.
  • Unable to accept a compliment: This is a huge neon sign. If accepting a compliment makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s most likely because you don’t believe it’s true. We have the hardest time accepting kind words because our mind tells us that those kind words just can’t be true. We aren’t good enough for those words.
  • Overly apologetic: You constantly apologize even when it’s unwarranted. Taking the blame becomes second nature.
what is self-worth and why is it so important

Lack of self-worth doesn’t just affect your life choices, it shapes your relationships.

What is self-worth and why is it so important? What you think about yourself, is how you teach other people to treat you.  This can make or break you in the long run. Looking back at my life, it’s easy to see I spent most of it not valuing myself.  My self-worth was so low that I can safely say it was nonexistent. When that happens you end up surrounded by two types of people in your life.  The uplifters, and the abusers. 

The Uplifter

If you are lucky, there are people in your life right now that you consider amazing people. You admire them, maybe even slightly envy them.  These are the people who stick by your side, why you don’t know, but they are always there. Not only do they see your worth, but they constantly uplift you, supporting you when it’s needed the most.  These are the people that feed you the small bits of external worth that keep you feeling ok. 

Unfortunately, this external source of emotional validation isn’t sustainable.  You end up doing a great disservice to your friends by sucking their energy dry.  Eventually, they just can’t be enough to keep you feeling happy. To protect themselves they start to ease away from you, and that leads you to feel even worse. You start to believe you aren’t worthy of true friendship. Or that you can’t trust people.  

On a side-note, if you are lucky enough to have those friends still in your life, let them know how much they mean to you. I have been blessed in my life and as I grow in this journey those men and women have become more important to me than any treasure.

The Abuser

The other side of the coin is the abuser. These are the people in your life that see your low sense of worth and exploit it.  They use it for their gain to control you.  It’s in their best interest that you never start valuing yourself because then they lose that control. The experiences with these types of people can do irreparable damage to your mind, heart, and even body. 

When you find yourself in a relationship with a person like this it becomes even more difficult to understand your own worth.  The ability to trust is corrupted further. You end up feeling lost, alone, and like you don’t deserve to be treated with love and kindness.  This is DANGEROUS.

So when you ask yourself what is self-worth, and why is it so important, the answer is very clear. If you have self-worth then you teach people to treat you with value. 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is very clear. Everything you experience in this world is filtered through how you value yourself.  The opportunities you take, the dreams you have, even the relationships that you form.  

If you don’t value yourself, then you will live life scared of opportunity, and chance.  You will form relationships where you either use or get used. 

Finding your voice, finding your value, and not being afraid show the world is the key that unlocks the chains that have been holding you back your entire life.  So the next time you ask yourself what is self-worth, and why is it so important, what will your answer be? I hope it goes something like this. “The great value I place upon myself, and it’s the key to a world of fulfillment, happiness, and success”

You are worthy, you are amazing, and you are never alone my friends. Until next time!

Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens  ~Louise L Hay

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Tired of battling low self-esteem, zero self-worth, and an emotional eating addiction, Amber created Amberable to share her journey with those who may be struggling. Hoping to empower, inspire and heal others like herself