All infants are born with an equal sense of ‘Self-Worth’. As life progresses and we mature, the remarks, observations, expectations, and attitudes of the people surrounding us can corrode this inherent sense of self-worth. Self-worth is a crucial part of our mental make-up. It’s what makes us believe that we have the ingrained talents and skills to contribute our best, achieve our dreams, give back abundantly to society, and lead a fulfilling life.
But what happens to the teeming millions who suffer with crippling issues of low self-worth? Are you one of those silent victims of low self-esteem? Have you ever felt your self-respect being shattered after the ? Do you find yourself sceptical when a toxic friend tries to ‘downgrade’ you despite your inner disagreement towards what has been said? Know that t especially when being taunted in front of a group of peers. It is pretty hard to avoid being upset initially, but over the years you will discover that the offender is also ruining his stature by indulging in this insensitive and crude display of ego. In fact many of these tormentors will end up miserable and alone without many true friends left due to their destructive nature of degrading everyone around them.
So how does one deal with toxic people who doggedly try to demean your self-esteem? It makes it a lot easier to deal with the situation if you comprehend that the bully always tries to overwhelm the other person’s self-esteem with an aim to elevate their own dignity. They may be silently battling self esteem issues of their own, and that’s why the belittling act makes them feel better after they have transmitted the ‘unhappy experience’ on to others. Unfortunately, this denigration act will only gratify them temporarily, and this becomes a recurring and vicious bully-victim cycle.
Another tactic is to simply walk away. The tormenter who is trying to humiliate you will feel even more uncomfortable, if not confused, when you don’t respond to him. Of course, if this person happens to be your boss or an elderly person, show your civility by giving a brief and courteous response before walking away.
As toxic personalities are certain to haunt us at every juncture of our life, it is important to develop feasible techniques to deal with the associated issues of low self worth. A simple method is to wake up every morning and start the day with at least 5 minutes of alone ‘ME’ time focused on r How you view yourself, how you talk about yourself, and how you present yourself eventually becomes the ‘real’ you. Understand the power of your attitude toward yourself and have a realistic view about yourself.
Another method involves learning to trust your own feelings. Listen to and rely upon your own feelings and do not fall for the trap of automatically responding or reacting to the feelings of others. Do not reinforce the discredit shown by others by belittling your own worth, making light of your opinions, and letting go of opportunities. Everyone is blessed with unique strengths and gifts. Recognize and celebrate the fact that you are a valuable human being, equal to all, and that your skills, talents and opinions are of great magnitude.
Today, we live in a culture that is addicted to visiting psychoanalysts, preachers and a host of other people who are more than willing to analyze us at the drop of a hat. Seriously, unless you've got a severe disorder, daily anxiety or low self worth issues don’t require hours of expensive analysis by an outsider. All you need is some time off to introspect and analyze yourself so that you can clearly recognize where you're underrating and short-changing yourself. The answers will automatically follow.
Also, stop linking your self-worth to the expectations of others. Once you try to live up to an image of what you think others want you to be, you will lose your identity and end up following a pathway created by other people's expectations. Unfortunately, many people live this way, including making key life choices including studies, career, residential location, who to marry and how many children to bear, based on the expectations generated by their family, friends, colleagues and the media. Many choose not to offend their loved ones, but most are afraid of standing up for their own preferences and upholding their self-worth.
Many self help books espouse the miraculous theory of ‘self-affirmation’. I disagree with these theories partly due to the fact that ‘self-affirmations’ are no magical potions and cannot by themselves raise your self-esteem. The truth is somewhat different... while it's important to use positive self-affirmation, it is also important to work actively on building your sense of self-worth. And this can only be attained by accepting responsibility for the fact that you are in control of your attitude, your feelings, and your sense of worth. No one can put you down without your assent!
Nowadays, self-worth is largely determined by our career, income and lifestyle displayed. In a society that tends to define people by ‘what they do’ rather than by ‘who they are’, there is a great risk of underestimating your self-worth because it's irrevocably linked to job prestige and income generated. Don’t reply "Oh I'm just a ..." in reply to the question "So what do you do?" You are not "just" anything – you are an exceptional, valuable, amazing person who matters.
Developing self-worth is a gradual and ongoing process. Treat it as an integral part of your daily routine. Maintain your focus on self-worth as an important part of what goes into making you a wholesome being. It takes time, patience and courage to change a negative self-image and breaking the destructive pattern of allowing others to walk all over you. Many will be bothered when they discover the new, more assertive and confident you, but don't let that worry you because this is about your journey, not theirs.
Treat your life as a journey scattered with a series of ordeals and tests designed only to strengthen you. Many times we have been dropped, our minds crushed and our spirits ground into the dirt both by the decisions we chose to make and through the situations we encountered. At such moments most of us have felt worthless in this world. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, always remember that you will never lose your worth. Everybody is special. Know your value, demarcate your boundaries, set your goals, and march relentlessly towards achieving your dreams. Remember, you have been created with a purpose, and you are still alive today only to accomplish that marvellous purpose.