Have you ever asked yourself whether you value yourself enough? When we value ourselves we tend to have increased happiness levels, we maintain clear boundaries and we have no problem speaking up for ourselves.
We are born blank slates, as we grow older we begin to form a picture of our self identity. This is partly formed through your genetic make up but a large part is formed through social interactions.
Recently, whilst working in an NHS clinic I met a client with incredibly low self esteem. She did not value herself at all. Throughout the session she kept apologising and at one stage she suddenly sat upright and asked, “Am I boring you?”
I have never had a client ask me this and it was a good indicator of how little this client valued herself. The main reason that she didn’t value herself was due to an abusive relationship she had been in for many years. Over time, her partner had eroded her sense of self. He constantly criticised her and made her question her reality. She was filled with self doubt and felt she couldn’t take care of herself any longer. Many people (but not always) who experience abusive relationships have low self esteem. This may also have formed during their childhood if their parents were abusive or neglectful. Of course I have worked with people in abusive relationships who had very loving and stable childhoods so this isn’t always the case.
Anyone is susceptible to being in an abusive relationship.
Signs that you don’t value yourself enough:
You don’t pay enough attention to self care (hygiene, diet, your appearance etc)
You’re not assertive
You allow others to treat you badly
You’re self critical
What do to:
Self compassion involves treating yourself with kindness. This means, not only being kind to yourself by the way you speak to yourself but also by the tone of voice that you use. Speak to yourself as you would a dear friend. Give yourself the same compassion and kindness.
Keep a few positive statements ready for when you need a pep talk. Affirmations such as:
Everything is unfolding as it’s meant to
I will be okay and can handle whatever comes my way
This too shall pass
The above positive statements can help to remind you that even when you feel low, it will change. Thankfully what goes down must come up. If you feel at rock bottom, you will definitely shift to a better place in time. Hang in there, sit tight and take it one day at a time.
Maintain clear boundaries
Don’t allow others to walk all over you. I have made the mistake of wanting someone to like me so much that I have allowed them to treat me badly. I have been in relationships where I was criticised and made to feel inadequate on a regular basis. Instead of being assertive and standing up for myself, I allowed the criticism to continue. Over time this had eroded my self confidence. You teach people how to treat you and allowing someone else to treat you badly will undermine your self worth. Be assertive and ask for what you want.
Instead of looking at how you can please others, also look at whether they are good for you. It’s never a good idea to keep toxic people in your life.
Our sense of self worth fluctuates just like everything else in life. We can’t always feel formidable, we’re human. Be self aware though and make an effort to protect yourself from the harshness of life. Self worth starts with you!