How To Know Your Worth And Tap Into Your True Values
You’d think that somebody who puts themselves out there every single day; pitching to new clients, building an excellent reputation, travelling the world and writing content on the topic of self esteem would have a pretty decent grasp on knowing their worth, wouldn’t you? Well. Newsflash, folks! It ain’t that simple.
To the world, it looks like I have it all together. I project a badass confident persona. But, inside, self-doubt eats away at me.
Knowing my worth has been an ongoing battle. But, since going self-employed, abandoning the idea of buying a house and choosing, instead, the life of a digital nomad, it’s felt more like a full-blown internal war.
Just the other month, I was triggered by a seriously intense week: back-to-back-meetings, the loss of a lucrative client and the ever-present voice that seems to whisper in my ear when feeling my most fragile:
“C’mon, girl. What are you doing with your life?”
This build-up exposed the stark fragility of my self-worth. While my brain understood the theory of valuing myself, my heart wasn’t convinced.
For many, the trap of external validation begins early on and continues throughout life in one form or another. The upshot is, many folks learn that their fundamental sense of self-esteem and self-worth comes not from within themselves but from other people. So they constantly seek approval from the people around them.
This happened to me. I started obsessing over other’s opinions and, in the process, lost touch with who I really was. My growing awareness of this led me to see just how much I linked my identity to external validation.
My partner would gently let me know when I littered my sentences with ‘shoulds’– a telltale sign. ‘To be good at my job, I should produce 100% perfect work. I should be productive. To be a successful woman, I should have the house, the high income, the yearning to be a mother.’
What I’ve slowly come to realise is, our self worth is intrinsically linked with our values.
Exploring Your Values
We think we have a grip on our values. But it’s all too easy, especially in today’s saturated world of social media, to get derailed by other people’s judgements about what makes a worthwhile life, job or dreams.
To get there, we have to reflect on our core values. I don’t just mean those typical stock answers that we all churn out in job interviews. I mean, diving deeper. Finding that ‘punk’ energy that’s trapped in a sea of negative self-talk and giving it an outlet for expression. Letting its voice be heard.
When I want to tune in to what I really value in life, I try to carve out time for the activities that keep me grounded to myself. For some, yoga or meditation work well. For me, painting is when I can really detangle what I think from what others think. In many ways, our self-worth is tied to being expressive and I’ve learned that it’s important to own that – because self-ownership is linked to self-worth.
The Future ‘You’
If you’re finding this whole topic painfully relatable, then here’s one particular exercise that you can try to instil some inner peace. It’s called ‘future-self visualisation.’
Start by conjuring up an image of your future self. Mine is a bare-foot old lady with paint-splattered dungarees and white, pixie-cropped hair. Screw it, let’s call her ‘Pixie.’
Pixie loves spending time in nature. She lives in a hobbit-house, paints every day and laughs a lot with her friends. She drives around in her converted van with her best human companion and their 18 dogs, goes for chilly dips in blue lakes and doesn’t give a HOOT about what people think about her. Or her life.
Now, when my confidence is failing, I find myself thinking: what would Pixie do? Would she really care about this?
The Path to Self-Worth
Whether it’s feeling comfortable with your life decisions or getting confident with the rates you charge clients, recognising your worth is a journey. It’s about acknowledging your skills and talents, embracing your imperfections, and above all, knowing you’re deserving of respect, love, and kindness—regardless of external factors. While this journey is personal, some steps can help illuminate your path.
Tap into your values
Start by doing some ‘future self’ visualisation to help you tap into the life you truly want. If that doesn’t work for you, try identifying role models that you gravitate to and use them for inspiration. Another great option is to do some journaling as a way of uncovering your values. Why not start by free-writing about the values of the people in your life. Then journal about your own values. Doing this exercise helps us identify and differentiate from others’ values.
Lose those toxic people on social media. Set clear boundaries with anyone in your life who doesn’t make you feel good. Say ‘no’ to people or events that don’t line-up with what you believe in. And (this is important) do it kindly, confidently and unapologetically.
Identify Your Strengths
What are you good at? What makes you unique? Is it your creativity, resilience, or perhaps your empathy? Knowing your strengths and acknowledging them is a vital step in recognising your worth.
Own Your Achievements
Celebrate your successes, big or small. Whether it’s a promotion, completing a course, or simply making someone smile, acknowledge your achievements.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
It’s natural to have self-doubt and negative thoughts, but it’s essential to question and challenge them. Re-frame your mindset, focus on your accomplishments, and be kind to yourself.
Surround Yourself with Support
Surround yourself with people who uplift you, respect your boundaries, and recognise your value.
Be kind to yourself, especially during setbacks. Embrace your imperfections and recognise that everyone has flaws. Remember that you deserve compassion and understanding, just like everyone else.
Your self-worth is not defined by your career, appearance, or the number of likes on your social media posts. It’s about acknowledging your intrinsic value as a human being. When you truly recognise your worth, you create a strong foundation for personal growth, fulfilment, and genuine success.So, even though it may look like I have it all figured out, the truth is, I’m still learning and growing every day. And that’s okay. It’s a long and difficult road, but one that’s well worth travelling.