How do you determine your self-worth? Is it how much money you have? Is it the fact that you can or can’t fit into skinny jeans? That you have a great job and a Tesla?
It’s an interesting question. Most of us just have a vague notion of whether or not we should love ourselves given our circumstances in life.
A good thing to consider is how you think your/a child should measure their self-worth. Do you think a child should love themselves more or less if they were:
● More or less attractive than the average person?
● Wealthy or poor?
● Failed more times than they were successful?
● Succeeded more times than they failed?
Would you consider any of these to be a reason for a child to love themselves more or less? What criteria would you use?
Things that probably shouldn’t determine your degree of self-love:
1. Your education. If your child decides to become a welder or a preschool teacher instead of going to college, would you consider them to have less worth? If you need to go to college to pursue your dreams, then go. If you don’t, there’s no reason to feel bad about not attending.
2. Your body shape or attractiveness. While your diet and exercise routine have a great effect on how you look, much of your appearance is out of your hands. The color of your eyes, your height, and your general body shape are determined by your genes.
- Consider your spouse, child, friend, or even a pet you love. If their appearance took a turn for the worse, would you think less of them? Of course not. So, there’s no reason to think less of yourself for not looking like a fitness model or movie star.
3. Your career. Some careers are more challenging or lucrative than others. But there’s more to life than splitting atoms or making six figures.
- If you enjoy what you do, can pay your bills, and have enough time and money left over to do the things you love, you’re doing incredibly well.
4. Your financial situation. Happiness is a more worthy goal than wealth. Studies show that happiness doesn’t increase beyond the $70k/year mark. Having more money than that doesn’t matter much.
- If you’re making less than that, it might be worth your while to reach that level. However, your income says nothing about how much you should love yourself. There have been many spectacular people that never made a lot of money.
5. Your possessions. If you travel, you’ll notice how people in the US and Canada compare to those in most other countries. We’re obsessed with having more. Interestingly, people from many relatively poor countries often rate themselves as happier than the people in North America.
- There will always be someone with more. It’s a battle you can’t win.
6. Your successes and failures. Everyone has successes and failures. You can always try again. The most successful people have often had the most spectacular failures. If anything, you might have a good reason to be happy with yourself for failing a lot.
7. The people you know. Are you more worthy of self-love because of whom you know? Are you any less worthy of self-love because of whom you don’t know?
- Things outside of you can’t be a valid determiner of your self-worth. It’s called “self” for a reason.
This list might seem a little daunting since these are the very things that are prized by many in our culture. However, if you want to love yourself, it’s important to use valid criteria.
The keys to loving yourself are to know yourself and to be on a path to become a person that you respect. You’re already amazing. Realizing that is half the battle.
The other part is to see regular improvement in yourself. Humans are happiest when making progress. You get to determine what that progress is moving toward. You’ll be more pleased with yourself if you start working on those things that you think are important.
Our society thinks that certain things are important. However, your self-worth is independent of where you live. Why would you like yourself more or less if you lived in Ukraine, Hawaii, or Australia? You’re still the same person. Society can’t give you permission to love yourself or take it away from you.
“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.”– ELEANOR ROOSEVELT