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Where You Get Your Sense of Self-Worth


By Leo Babauta

So much of our difficulties can be entangled with our sense of self worth — from whether we take care of ourselves with good habits to how we are in relationships to how much confidence we have at work.

Think about your biggest difficulties (other than problems at a national or global level) … how many of them could be resolved if you had an unshakable confidence in your self-worth? If you felt whole, complete, and incredibly worthy?

You could create and put your creation out into the world with confidence, and even market it to others.

You could launch a business or venture, create an organization to serve others, teach something you care about.

You could speak confidently in public, put your ideas out there, stand for yourself. You could set boundaries, express your needs, take care of yourself.

This all comes from a strong sense of self-worth.

But we are taught from a young age to get our sense of self-worth externally:

  • Praise or validation from others
  • Likes and comments to validate us on social media
  • Accomplishments, awards, rewards
  • Success, wealth, a nice house, nice things
  • Nice clothes, things that make us feel attractive or cool
  • Sex, attracting a mate, interest or attention from others
  • People wanting to spend time with us, showing an interest in us

And so on. The problem with this kind of external validation of our worth is that it is fleeting. Sometimes we’ll get it and feel good about ourselves, and many times we won’t get it and will feel discouraged, rejected, miserable. And then we’ll seek more of the external validation, because that’s what we know to do when we need to feel better about ourselves.

So … what can we do? We can seek to find our self-worth from within.

This can be a lifetime exploration, but some places you might look:

  • Notice the good in your heart
  • Have compassion for yourself when you’re feeling difficulty
  • Be curious about yourself
  • Try to notice your determination, perseverance, commitment
  • See if you can find your sense of play, joy, and wonder
  • Appreciate how you appreciate things
  • Spend time with yourself, and care about how you feel
  • Give love to yourself and others, and appreciate the love that flows from you
  • Pour yourself into one act, giving all of yourself, and appreciate that as well
  • Keep coming back to a project or habit change effort, even when you fall off
  • Journal, reflect, contemplate, meditate, find time for quietude and stillness
  • Go on a meditation retreat and explore your inner self
  • Find ways to explore bringing out your joy, divinity, play, curiosity, and more
  • Notice the abundance of love that you have
  • Find wonder at who you are in every moment

Some of these might be challenging — that’s OK! Notice how you respond to challenge, and find wonder in that as well. Keep exploring, keep bringing curiosity, keep bringing wonder and love.

What would it be like if you had an abundant sense of self-worth always available to you?

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