Learn to Love Thyself


By Michele Bacigalupo

Photo courtesy of Sascha Kohlmann.

Taking the time to treat yourself right before considering others is actually more important to a person’s health and happiness than may be expected. When a person consistently pushes his own wants and needs to the back burner, he is setting himself up for a future breakdown. Repercussions are bound to come eventually and they are likely to be painful. When self-worth is neglected, it takes a toll on all areas of a person’s health–mental, physical, and emotional.

Self-worth, synonymous with self-love, is defined as a regard for the state of one’s own well-being and happiness. Self-worth reflects an individual’s internal sense of identity and purpose. This is different from self-esteem, which is more external, pertaining to how a person behaves and how he is perceived. Essentially, self-worth is the foundation for self-esteem. You have to learn to love yourself and appreciate who you are before you can begin building confidence.

By ignoring the internal voice inside your head (this is typically your conscious, but maybe you have a variation, a barbershop quartet of advisers) you are damaging your sense of self-worth. A person’s intrinsic voice usually represents a gut feeling. If your sense of self-worth is high, then your conscious will have your best interests in mind. However, by neglecting your gut, your self-worth will suffer and the consequences can prove dire. A person’s self-esteem will diminish, possibly to the point where it vanishes completely.

A person who pays little attention to his intrinsic voice is inclined to agree to attend parties where he knows he’ll have an awful time. He’ll force himself to enter situations where he knows he’ll gain nothing besides misery and awkward conversation. On the other hand, a person with high self-worth knows when to say no to such events. He will choose to create his own night of entertainment, perhaps by staying in and watching a movie or going out to a restaurant, rather than waste time mingling with lackluster company.

If an individual has high self-esteem, he is better equipped to deal with life’s daily challenges. However when a person has low self-esteem, he is more prone to view events through a pessimistic lens.

More often than not, self-esteem changes when you compare yourself to those around you. This often has a negative effect on self-worth, which, since it is an internal measure of value, should never mix with external circumstances. By judging self-worth in comparison to other people, an individual’s self-esteem is bound to rise and fall with more frequency and unpredictability than it would otherwise.

It’s true that appearances are ultimately deceiving. A person’s intrinsic constitution is a much more telling factor when it comes to self-worth. Instead of placing a value of who you are as a person and attempting to gauge it from day to day, you should realize that respecting yourself is all that matters. Everybody has self-worth. When an individual is able to recognize this, he will be set free from petty worries and insecurities. He will gain strength and confidence and his daily actions will reflect these changes.

When an individual confines himself to a poor sense of self-worth, his attitude is not the only thing that suffers. His self-esteem–his behavior and the way other people perceive him–are affected as well. Low self-esteem resounds in a person’s actions and voice. A person who acts without confidence presents himself as undeserving and incompetent. It becomes integrated in his personality. The individual no longer portrays his positive traits to others because he ceases to believe that they are still a part of him. Therefore, people with higher levels of self-worth are apt to avoid or ignore him.

Even a glimmer of self-confidence can draw out a person’s more attractive traits, which would put him back on the track of winning friends and opportunities. However, many people do not know how to begin developing confidence, even when they’re aware of how desperately they need it.

In order to remedy low self-esteem, it’s imperative to identify the specific beliefs that are holding you back from being a confident person. Everybody has their own insecurities, but the trick is in how a person manages them. Confident people take the initiative to either change the things they don’t like about themselves or else learn to accept them. Some people cope with insecurities and others embrace them. It’s a matter of what you are comfortable with.

A good strategy for building self-confidence is to challenge your negative thoughts. You need to confront the overly critical beliefs you have about yourself and commit to taking the steps required to either change the way things are or learn how to live with them.

Make a list of all of your strengths and all the things you already like about yourself. This will help remind you of elements of your self-worth that you may have forgotten.

Another surprising method for increasing self-esteem is adding the word “no” to your vernacular. People with poor self-esteem feel pressured to agree to everything because they are already accustomed to doing so. Saying “yes” becomes habitual. People want to please the person asking for a favor and they are afraid to reject the offer.

By giving in to the urge to agree to absolutely everything, a person is likely to eventually become overwhelmed, angry, or upset. Saying “no” grants you the power to do your own thing. You can enjoy a solitary activity or simply relish some peace and quiet away from the noise of other people.

Beginning to realize your sense of self-worth and finding happiness with who you are is not something that you can afford to delay any longer. Once you begin to validate your self-worth, you’ll be more in tune with a sense of balance in your life and the world should appear more serene.