(If you can relate to any of these attributes, please do not take this feedback as an attack on your character. This article was meant to be a self-improvement guide for those of you who have been feeling a little stuck.)
We are constantly told that our worth is determined by so many things – your looks, your job, your degree, the clothes that you wear, the number on the scale, how many likes you get on social media. But, what if it’s not?
Hey Psych2Go-ers, today I want to talk about 17 things that don’t determine your self-worth. A lot of times we feel like because we have certain ‘things’ or abilities, it determines how much value we have as a person. But in reality, these are just external factors and should not be what dictates how you feel about yourself. It’s important to know what these are so you can actively avoid them if they’re not healthy for you. So let’s get into it!
1. Your appearance
It’s so easy to get caught up in our physical appearances but the thing is, there are so many people out there who will love you just the way you are! They’ll appreciate all of your little quirks because these are what make you an individual instead of being someone else’s version of perfect or normal. Be your own definition no matter what society says! Because when you’re confident in who you are, that’s when the right people will find you irresistibly attractive.
2. How much money you make
Nowadays, it seems like so many people define their self-worth by their income and net worth. They will go into debt trying to chase after this dream of having all the nice things in life – the nice clothes, the nice car, or a big house. But truthfully, if you base your self-worth on something external like this, it’s going to be short-lived because there is always going to be someone who has more than you and someone who has less than you.
3. Your job title/degree
There are so many people who say that they do ‘X’ for a living with pride in their voice. These people usually have degrees that allow them to get these jobs and believe that having one of these labels – doctor, lawyer, engineer – is what makes them special. In reality, though, these are just roles you play in life, and while you may excel at doing these things, you never let them define you as a person – who you really are and what matters most about your life.
4. Your possessions
You know deep down inside that you don’t need any of these things to show your self-worth. But even if you believe this and consciously try not to let it affect you, there’s still something called the ‘lizard brain’. According to Joseph Troncale, M.D. FASAM, a Medical Director of the Retreat, the lizard brain is found in all creatures, especially humans – and can be defined as the primitive part of our brains responsible for instinctual fight-or-flight reactions. Even though you know you don’t need these things to define who you are, the lizard brain doesn’t ‘get’ this, and sometimes it can be hard to control. This is why you might see some people aggressively pursuing money and power because their lizard brains think they need them to survive. But with time and practice, you can learn how to control this part of your mind so that it no longer dictates your decisions.
5. What your parents say about you
Many people take the words of their family members as if it were law as if whatever they said was an absolute truth that could never be changed. But this is another one of those situations where you could learn to step back and realize that just because your parents say dismissive and discouraging things about you, it doesn’t mean that it’s reality. Reality is your self-worth is defined by what you make of it.
6. What your significant other say about you
Like with friends, just because someone says something about you doesn’t mean that it’s true! Your partner might be having a bad day and projecting their negative feelings onto you, but that doesn’t mean that these feelings are valid or that they define you as a person. Let the words pass through your mind without letting them affect how you feel about yourself.
7. Your mistakes
When you make mistakes in life, sometimes you beat yourself up over them because “you should’ve known better”. The truth is though, nobody can predict the future so even if you know what’s right and wrong, sometimes you’re still going to make mistakes that will hurt others or yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in the past, but it is important that we try our best not to be. You can try focusing on ways you can improve yourself to live better both in the present and for the future.
8. Your weaknesses
Even though it might be difficult at times, try not to get hung up on your weaknesses (because everyone has them) but instead focus on developing your strengths! You have things that come naturally for you like having a knack for math or writing or playing an instrument – these are things that should be embraced instead of ignored because they’re part of who you are as a person.
9. People’s expectations of you
There are some people in this world who project their ideas and beliefs onto you without truly understanding who you are as an individual. They might think that because they want to be an accountant, you should want the same thing. When in reality, it might not be something that interests you at all. Therefore, don’t forget to follow your dreams and do what makes YOU happy instead of trying to make everyone else happy by doing what they expect you to do!
10. What society expects from you
There are certain things expected of you like getting married, having children, gaining success through your careers, etc., but sometimes these expectations can feel overwhelming or just plain difficult especially if you’re struggling with mental health or other things that make it difficult for you to deal with. So don’t forget about yourself and your happiness, no matter how many times society tries to tell you otherwise.
11. What your voice sounds like
Just because you hate the way your voice sounds doesn’t mean others will too! Everyone has something about their voices that make it unique and special so try not to let other people get you down with their words – instead let them empower you for being an individual through your voice.
12. Your flaws
You have things about yourself that you don’t like even if you did your very best to be perfect. These imperfections are what make you who you are, so instead of trying to get rid of them, try embracing them and accepting them as a part of you. Because of these imperfections, you’re constantly learning and growing to be the best version of you. So don’t be afraid to embrace your flaws and remember that everyone has their own too!
13. Others’ opinions on you
Your thoughts and ideas matter just as much as anyone else’s does, so even if other people might not think the same way you do, respect their point of view anyway – it’s important for us to understand how others think even if we disagree with them. Don’t let someone else shatter your confidence or make you feel like what you have to say isn’t valuable because it is! You could listen to what others have to say but never forget to voice your own opinions as well.
14. Your backstory
Being the protagonist of your own leaves you with imprints of life experiences that happen with meaning and purpose even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. The experiences you go through shape who you are as a person and embrace them is what makes you unique!
15. Your insecurities
It’s really difficult to not compare yourself to other people especially when it comes to your looks or accomplishments! Every person has their own set of insecurities so instead of trying to pretend like yours don’t exist, let’s learn how to love them by using them as motivators and a fuel for passion instead. That way they’ll serve as something positive in your life rather than a self-destructive one.
16. How many social media ‘likes’ you get
This one is probably the hardest to avoid – social media can be so pervasive these days. There’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – all these different platforms where people can see your face and interact with you without ever having to actually be near you. And because of this, many people feel their self-worth is determined by the number of likes they receive. But this isn’t healthy because it forces you to be like everyone else and do things that will get more ‘likes’ instead of allowing you to be authentic and do what makes you happy.
17. What society thinks is ‘normal’
One example that can define what society thinks is ‘normal’ is the outrageous rules that deem women’s femininity, such as “women can’t be hairy.” If you look from a different and wider perspective, there are many types of normal. Some people have an idea that you’re perfect just the way you are while others may think differently and have their own opinion on what should be done with yourself and your life. Instead of engulfing all the unfavorable remarks from others, try not to be too harsh on yourself and understand that you don’t have to fit into society’s standards.
No matter what other people might say, you are beautiful. You are intelligent. You are worthy. You are important. You are loved. And above all else, you are enough just the way that you are now – so today and every day after that, remember to be yourself because being yourself is more than enough!
Have you ever experienced any of these attractions that measure your self-worth? Let us know in the comments below. Also, remember to share this article with those who might benefit from it. Thanks for reading! Stay fabulous everyone!
- Troncale, J. (2014, April 22). Your Lizard Brain. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/where-addiction-meets-your-brain/201404/your-lizard-brain