Have you ever felt like shit about yourself? The kind of shit where the voices of criticism in your head are so loud you can’t even hear what the person in front of you is saying?
You’re focused on sucking in your stomach or keeping your hand over the new pimples that showed up unexpectedly.
Maybe your mind is creating the story that the person you went out with last night hasn’t texted you back because your dick wasn’t big enough. Or maybe they noticed you double-checking your bank balance before you picked up the dinner bill because you’re not “ballin” like you “should” be.
All of a sudden, you snap back to the present, trying to piece together the parts of the conversation you missed because your mind was dragging you into a torturous tailspin of overwhelming self-loathing, disgust, and dislike.
It’s as if your mind has become a cruel magnifying glass, highlighting every way in which you don’t look as perfect as you “should,” make as much money as you “should,” or measure up the way you “should.”
The comparisons that plague our minds – from waistlines to bank accounts to body parts – can feel inescapable. We can’t escape the toxic habit of measuring ourselves against others, feeling inadequate because we don’t match up to some arbitrary standard of perfection.
In those moments, it’s like a dark cloud of unworthiness engulfs us, suffocating any glimmer of self-esteem we once had. We try to put on a brave face, pretending that it doesn’t bother us, but deep down, we long to break free from this suffocating cage of self-hatred.
The Journey to Embrace Our Imperfections
I remember all of those beautiful moments that were lost to my insecurities. I grieve the time I lost trying to be perfect enough to feel worthy. Using dieting, exercise, compulsive work, and workout sessions as shoes to outrun my feelings of unworthiness. So trust me when I say – you’re not alone, and you’re not the only one struggling with these feelings.
We all do in some way or another. It’s the unspoken truth that binds us as humans – the universal feeling of not being enough.
Yet, in the midst of this struggle, there’s a glimmer of hope. It’s the realization that our worth isn’t defined by external factors or superficial measurements. It’s not in the size of our clothes, the clarity of our skin, the length of our penis’, or the numbers in our bank accounts.
True self worth comes from daring to be loving and compassionate towards ourselves despite criticisms and judgments. It’s about looking beyond the surface and tapping into the core of who we are – flawed, yes, but also beautifully human.
This blog post is about shedding the armor of pretense and perfection. It’s about sharing the real, raw moments of my struggles with self worth – the moments when I felt like I just didn’t measure up. Because in those vulnerable moments, I found connection and understanding to all of you.
So, if you’ve ever felt like your worth was determined by the size of your waistline or the numbers in your bank account, know that you’re not alone. Together, we’ll navigate this journey of self-discovery, self-acceptance, and self-love. We’ll shatter the illusions of unworthiness and embrace the beauty of our imperfect, authentic selves.
It won’t be easy, and there will be moments of discomfort, but it’s time to break free from the shackles of perfectionism and step into the light of our worthiness. Let’s embark on this journey with courage, vulnerability, and a commitment to truth. By the end, we’ll stand together, knowing that we are enough – just as we are.
Developing Self Worth Step 1: Get to the root of unworthiness by asking questions
To learn how to develop self worth, we must first delve into our past experiences and beliefs that have shaped our self-perception. Childhood experiences, societal expectations, and personal traumas can significantly impact how we view ourselves. It requires courage to face these inner demons and acknowledge their influence on our self-esteem. By bringing these experiences to light, we can begin the process of healing and transformation.
I remember the moment when my relationship and perception of my body went toxic. I was in the fifth grade, and for the first time, my stomach began protruding. Hello puberty, thank you for coming to ruin my life. A close family member came up to me, pinched the extra fat around my midsection, and told me that when they were my age, they could connect the index fingers and thumbs on both hands around their waistline. This was the moment I learned that unless my midsection was flat enough to measure it with my hands, I wasn’t good enough.
I’m 32, and I am still struggling with accepting and loving a body that hasn’t measured up since the fifth grade. It’s incredible how a single comment can leave such a lasting impact on our self worth. It’s as if that remark planted a seed of ugliness that took root and grew into a forest of insecurities. No matter how much I achieve or how many compliments I receive, that voice in my head whispers, “You’re still not good enough,” and this goes far deeper than the way I feel about my midsection.
I share this personal narrative to say that our feelings of unworthiness can often be traced back to a specific source – a person, a moment – when our self-awareness increased, and our self-perception became distorted by someone else’s idea of what worth is.
How To Build Self-Worth: Questions to ask yourself:
Can you recall a specific moment from your past when someone’s words or actions made you feel inadequate or unworthy? How did that experience impact your perception of yourself?
Don’t expect this to be easy
This may be a hard exercise to do because it can be difficult to admit that people we love failed us in moments. It’s hard to face the truth that people we love and who love us can be both villains and heroes in the stories of our lives. We’re much more comfortable with it being either or. But part of personal growth is being able to find the spaciousness within to acknowledge and accept the complexity of all things, but especially other human beings.
This is how we heal, grow and transmute our pain into wisdom, compassion, empathy, connection, and power.
Developing Self Worth Step 2: Practice finding spaciousness
In a society that often emphasizes perfection, accepting and embracing our imperfections is a radical act of self-love. There are days when I feel like a baddie – confident, empowered, and ready to take on the world. But there are also days when I just feel bad – triggered by social comparison and overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. I can’t escape the fact that I am flawed; and neither can you.
It would be easy to advise people to just avoid any situation that is triggering their insecurities, But, that’s not a recipe for living a full life. And I want nothing more for you than for your life to fulfilling.
Here is the part that is a little tough to accept at first: living a full life means exposing ourselves to people and experiences that may hurt or challenge us. It means acknowledging that life is messy, and there will be moments when we don’t feel our best. And that’s okay.
The Practice of Holding Space for Our Insecurities
Instead of trying to push away those moments of insecurity or pretending they don’t exist, I’ve discovered a healthier approach. I remind myself that these feelings of unworthiness are just that – feelings. They are moments in time, and like all other moments, they will pass.
In those moments of self-hatred, I try to be gentle with myself. I remind myself that it’s okay to be fat, fail or feel insecure. It’s a part of my journey.
Finding the spaciousness inside to hold all of these emotions is a practice. It’s about allowing myself to experience the highs and lows without judgment. It’s about giving myself permission to feel all the feelings – the good, the bad, and everything in between.
And you know what? Each time I embrace these moments of vulnerability and give myself the space to feel, I come out stronger on the other side.
Living a full life means embracing all aspects of ourselves – the light and the shadows.Arielle Davis
Living a full life means embracing all aspects of ourselves – the light and the shadows. It means recognizing that imperfection is not a flaw but a beautiful part of our humanity. And by holding space for all of it, we find a deeper sense of self-acceptance and self-love.
So, I choose to live authentically, even with my imperfections. I choose to expose myself to life’s experiences, knowing that it won’t always be easy, but it will be real. I choose to be kind to myself, knowing that every moment is an opportunity to learn, grow, and become more resilient. And through it all, I hold the belief that I am worthy, no matter what fleeting feelings of unworthiness may arise.
Building Self Worth Step 3: Balance Self Validation and Community Validation
Speaking of living authentically, I have a bone to pick with the self-love and development community. I am tired of the false dichotomy, the mutually exclusive relationship between internal and external validation. A self-validated person is no better than a community-validated person. Which is honestly what we should call it, self-validation and community validation. Both forms are valuable and dare I say necessary.
The whole argument that we don’t need any external validation is a load of bullshit. We’re human, and we need both – self and community validation. It’s as simple and complicated as that.
If you over-index on the self, you might end up looking like a self-absorbed narcissist, only caring about your own feelings, beliefs, and opinions.
But here’s the flip side – if you over-index on the community, you become a slave to other people’s opinions. Your worth becomes this fragile thing, hinging on whether others approve or disapprove of you. It’s like giving away the power to define yourself, and that’s an act of self-betrayal that’s hard to live with.
So, here’s the truth: finding a balance between self and community validation is key. It’s about recognizing that both play a vital role in shaping our self-worth and understanding our value as individuals.
Self-validation is about recognizing and trusting our inner wisdom and intuition. It empowers us to make choices aligned with who we truly are. When we are in tune with our self-validation, we don’t need to seek constant approval from others because we have a solid foundation of self-awareness and self-acceptance to guide us through each moment of constructing our lives.
What does this look like practically?
When making decisions, listen to that inner voice(for me it’s a feeling) and give yourself the opportunity to make choices that align with your values and desires. Tell yourself, “I trust myself, and even if I make a mistake, I will treat myself with compassion.”
When facing a challenge, give yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself, “I can do hard things. I’ve overcome tough times before, and I can handle this too.”
These two forms of self validation when practiced regularly can change your life by giving you the strength and courage to move forward despite fear and uncertainty.
So what about community validation? I know you may be thinking I can’t ask for that, and you’re wrong. You can if you’re willing to be vulnerable enough to ask for what you need.
This looks like this:
Recognize that asking for validation or support from others requires vulnerability. It’s okay to feel nervous but remind yourself that it’s a brave and courageous act to open up and ask for what you need. It’s okay to say, “ Can you tell me what you love about me today? I am having a hard time loving myself.”
Reaching Out for Support
When you’re struggling with self-worth or feeling unsure, don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted friend or loved one. Share your feelings and concerns, saying something like, “I’m going through a tough time, and I could use some support and encouragement. Can we talk?”
It’s okay to seek help or appreciation from others. It can uplift us and reinforce our sense of belonging and connection. It’s actually more than okay; its necessary.
Embrace both sides – your inner voice and the occasional applause from others. Find the harmony between the two. That’s where your power lies.
Developing self-worth is a transformative journey of self-discovery, acceptance, and love. It requires courage to confront past experiences, embrace our imperfections by finding spaciousness, and balance our need for self-validation and community validation.
Remember, self-worth is not something we acquire; it’s something we uncover and nurture from within.
Know your self worth, cherish your journey, and live life unapologetically as your true, imperfect, and beautiful self.