What Are You Worth?
Value can be something that is difficult to define. How do we measure what something is worth? What standards do we use? When it comes to another person, how do you measure their value? Even more so, when it comes to yourself, how do you measure your own value? We often see others as worthy and have no trouble placing value on someone else, but struggle with seeing the value and worth we have in ourselves.
Our society has taught us a lie. Our society has said that others are more valuable than yourself. This lie is the breeding ground for shame. We believe that we need to cater to others and place them above our self. As soon as we put someone higher than ourselves by idealizing them, we automatically devalue ourselves. This then sends the message “you are less important”.
The other side to this lie is the truth, which is you are the most important person in your world. This doesn’t mean that other people are less valuable, but in your world you are the most important person and should be treated as so.
I know I may have just shocked some of you. The truth is you, as a human, have immense worth. You have value and worth not because you have ever said anything. Not because you have ever done anything. Not because someone has ever done something for you. You have immense value and worth because you are a human being.
We often feel that we need to prove our worth; that our actions dictate who we are. Our actions don’t define who we are. When we allow our actions to dictate who we are, we bring on shame. I often hear “I’m a bad person because I did…” I’m sure we could all fill in the blank here. I often look to this example. If I am working with a couple in counselling and one of them has had an affair it doesn’t make that person a horrible and bad person. It means that the behaviour was wrong and that it needs to change; not that the individual is a bad person. We get our value and worth from who we are, not what we do. If we look at a brand new baby, that baby carries immense worth. In its first few seconds of life it hasn’t done anything yet but is incredibly valuable.
We have often received messages from others that we are unimportant. When this happens it begins to lower our self-esteem and we also begin to see ourselves as worthless and unimportant. If this is you, I can feel along with your pain. As I have worked with hurting people, the biggest stumbling block to overcoming anxiety and depression is not seeing value in oneself. If this resonates with you, we would love to help you rediscover your value. We are here to work through this muddy shame with you.
Jenn Betts is a Registered Psychologist with the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta and specializes in the areas of self esteem, confidence, and personal growth, as well as many others. For more information on Jenn, her work, or other articles she’s written for Living Well click here to link to her full bio page.