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How To Build Your Self-Worth

Hi there and welcome to Charlie’s toolbox, a place to center yourself, increase your life toolbox, and decenter men. Today we are going to discuss the road to rebuilding or building your self-worth. I thought this would be a great topic to discuss because it is an area that we all struggle with and sometimes we need a reminder that we do already have the tools to strengthen this.

When we examine our self-worth, we are examining the following: an “internal sense of being good enough and worthy of love and belonging from others.” According to the University of North Carolina Wilmington Counseling Center, “Self-worth is often confused with self-esteem, which relies on external factors such as successes and achievements to define worth and can often be inconsistent leading to someone struggling with feeling worthy.”

To gain that internal sense of worthiness and to feel good enough you need adept parents. Parents who validate emotions recognize how special their kids are and delight in their kids. When your parents don’t do these vital things, children become adults who feel worthless, because worthiness was never reflected in them. They view their life, possibilities, emotions, and actions through the lens of worthlessness. There are many paths that people choose to strengthen their self-worth, I will outline what I did and hopefully, this can help you on your journey to an increase in self-worth.

For those who know their self-worth has not been developed, the first thing you must do is meet and know your authentic self. This is an important step because how can you take care of the real you, make her feel safe and worthy when you don’t know her, hide her, and be rewarded for a performance from those closest to you?

So, introduce yourself to yourself meet the real you, and do so in a safe and loving environment. To know yourself unmasked and unguarded you should ask yourself the following questions and collect data:

Where do you tend to recharge?

1. When you are recharging you are likely not performing. You are likely relaxing, pouring into yourself, or resting to get back into life.

2. If you are an extrovert, this question may not apply to you because you may recharge by being around people and you may keep the masks on while doing that.

Who are the people you can be vulnerable with?

1. This question is important because you are learning not only about yourself but also learning about what safety looks like to you.

2. You cannot be vulnerable or unmask when you feel unsafe. So, observe and write down what characteristics these people possess.

What spaces do you feel most comfortable in?

1. Again, we are trying to understand what makes you feel safe. There may be certain spaces where you feel comfortable being yourself. What is it about those spaces?

2. Write it down and observe.

How are you when you are around your best friend?

1. Your best friend is your chosen family. You chose them because they made you feel safe and loved.

2. Describe what you like about them and how you are when you are around them. These two questions provide more intel into you and the type of environment and people you need to choose for yourself.

When you are alone, how do you feel, act, and behave?

1. No one knows our inner world but us. We often don’t show it until we are alone where no one can see us. We feel ashamed of it because we were made to feel that way. Or we are afraid to show her because of the abuse we received as children.

2. But this person deserves space. The light deserves to shine on your inner self. So write out who this person is, so you can begin to embody this more when you are out and about. The purpose of this exercise is to observe and understand who you are in your most natural and relaxed state. This person who comes to the top is the one you want to pour into, protect with boundaries, and encourage you to show up more.

Once you observe yourself over time and get a good understanding of your relaxed state, your next step is to develop boundaries and create spaces where this relaxed person can be free and safe. When you were a kid, your parents did not validate, love, encourage, or delight in you and as a result, you felt extremely unsafe and unloved. To cope with your lack, you either blamed and criticize yourself for their lack of love and your self-worth decreased. Or you moved inward and promised yourself to never expose yourself to anyone unless they made you feel safe. Those conclusions made sense as a child; however, there are better options as an adult that will leave you feeling loved, safe, and delighted and they are called boundaries.

Boundaries are the remedy. They allow you to unmask in a safe space. They help you choose people who will delight and pour into you. They also protect your inner you so that you can continue to nurture and grow this person. So, how do you create and know your boundaries? Remember the observations you made in step #1 where you wrote down where you feel safe and loved and with whom? Well, use those observations to develop your boundaries. If you feel safe in (x,y,z) you will create boundaries for yourself that says I will choose (x,y,z) and tell people I need (x,y,z) to feel safe. The purpose of this is to constantly create spaces and choose people who encourage you to unmask. The more you unmask, the more you develop an appreciation and acceptance of yourself.

For example, I feel safe around my best friend because she gives me room to be and recognizes that we may not always agree, but she will always respect me. My boundary for myself is to choose people who respect me. My boundary for others is when I observe that someone does not respect me, I will articulate it and give them the chance to remedy it. If they disregard my boundaries, I will take myself out of that relationship and not blame myself. If it is someone, I am forced to be around like work or family, I will communicate my boundaries and disengage whenever that is disregarded. There is no room for negotiation. There is one conversation and disengagement. These boundaries keep me safe and help me make room for my true self. I hope that if I keep exposing my real self to the light, I will start to develop an appreciation or acceptance of her.

When we don’t have self-worth, we forget that we are co-creators in our life. Life does not just happen to us, we allow, engage, invite, or become silent to things, and that permits others to run amuck in our life. This does not have to be. You can feel safe in any space you walk in by choosing spaces and people that encourage it, being clear about your boundaries, and disengaging if they are not honored. Safety is always yours. Now that you know who the unmask you are, developed boundaries, and created more spaces for you to be you are strengthening your sense of self and the next step is to build appreciation for yourself. So, how can you begin to develop an appreciation for yourself?

Build your self-worth in your safe zones

Allow your true self to be in your safe zones e.g. around your friends or at home alone. This helps you nurture your self-worth and make it strong and impenetrable when you are outside of your safe zones.

Observe yourself without criticism.

Value is something created and determined by you. There is nothing that requires you to do it. So that means you can observe yourself without value and just note what you are doing. Instead of looking at your body and determining its worth, you can simply say this is my body. When you are conversing with new people, instead of thinking oh man I hope I don’t come off as stupid. You can say this is a conversation. I am talking. The less judgment you participate in, the less you will receive from yourself. This also goes for judging others. The metric for which you judge others, you also judge yourself. So, you can simply observe, note, and move on.

Stay attuned to your body

Listening to yourself and your body shows that you respect what it has to say. In the past, you ignored it, and you realized later down the line your body was flagging something. It was trying to get your attention. It was saying something isn’t right or this is something you need to give more attention to. Your body is your compass and you should delight that you naturally have a compass that wants to protect you at all costs. Even when you willed against it, it still spoke up, and isn’t that amazing? You have a body that loves you so much that it will show up for you when you don’t. Recognizing all the things your body does for you will help you develop an appreciation for it. For example, when I date the instant, I feel unloved or decrease in passion my alarm bells ring. I don’t ignore this and tell myself it’s me, I am fine, or I am triggered. I note it and tell myself my body is recognizing something I am not privy to. It is telling me to note this and soon I will know what exactly it is saying. Then, I thank my body and proceed with my day. The more I encourage my body to speak, the more it does and the more it guides me in the right direction. So, let it be.


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