Arriving Home :: Knowing Your Own Self-Worth
Meditation is a process of turning inwards. The more you show up to your practice, the deeper you are able to go within. What’s so illuminating and humbling is this very experience. While you do become more self-aware, the deeper you reach the more you also “rub up” against certain parts of yourself that are always there, yet normally operating just below the surface of your regular consciousness. This can be a little uncomfortable at times yet also completely informing and ultimately very good for our self-development and growth. What becomes clearer is what internally may be holding us back from being in full alignment of who we are.
One of the biggest areas we tend to rub up against can be our relationship with our own self-worth and self-esteem. Naturally, as we turn inwards and grow our self-awareness, we get glimpses of how we internally operate and treat ourselves. We begin to understand where we derive our concept of who we are. Where we get validation from. How we interact with our own minds and where our values derive from.
I was recently asked how to stop basing our sense of self-worth and self-esteem on external factors like productivity and what others think of us. This is a perfect inquiry to begin with as the more we look within, the more we realize where we are outwardly attached.
Our self-worth is comprised of several factors. Namely, there are 3 main operating categories from the mindfulness perspective that make up self-worth: Self-Respect. Self-Awareness. Self-Care.
Self-respect: You can think of self-respect as a facet of inner-confidence, dignity and worthiness. How much value you place on yourself, your feelings, thoughts and behaviors all contributes to showing yourself a basic level of respect and worthiness. Practicing dignity is a very helpful practice when it comes to working on your self-respect. You can ask yourself often “is this (action/thought/behavior) I’m about to do upholding my dignity or taking away from it?” The more dignity and respect you build, the more confidence you will also grow. Confidence is the feedback loop to dignity and worthiness. The more confident you are, the more likely it is you will act with dignity and know your worth.
Self-awareness: The capacity for self-introspection, processing (objective self-evaluation) and mind-body connection. Awareness is always the first step to any change. As it pertains to self-worth, awareness is the key to growing your worth or missing the opportunities to. Through object self-evaluation, which can be developed through meditation, you can begin to see what contributes to your self-worth and what detracts from it. You can start to see the under workings of any self-sabotaging tendencies or whether your worth is based on external validation or your own happiness.
Self-care: A form of self-regard, self-support and inner-resourcefulness. How much we are willing to go the extra mile for ourselves is often very telling about whether we truly value and respect ourselves deep down. Taking the extra time to meditate, move the body and foster our spirit and relationships all adds up to an overall offering of self-care or self-regard. Being self-supporting and resourceful also shows our subconscious and conscious minds that we do indeed care for our own wellbeing.
Practicing Self-Care Through Being
When students ask me how they can consciously practice self-care, one of my main recommendations other than meditation is to practice “being” more. Being is a state of non-doing where you allow yourself to simply just be. Being can be accessed in meditation, while reading a book, relaxing at a coffee shop, taking the evening walk in the park - you get the idea. A radical approach to being is to literally try to just do nothing for a period of time - not even meditate or read! You will immediately see where you tend to get caught up with having your worth and value tied to productivity, output or other people’s validation. It is incredible how much we rely on being in constant “doing” to feel okay about ourselves. Since our tendency during these times is to constantly be doing - giving yourself permission to let yourself just be is a very important act of self-care and a top contributor to self-worth. The moment you feel good enough doing absolutely nothing that will produce an immediate result for others or even yourself is the same moment you enter into a deeper realm of inner-freedom and self-worth.
Understand that your own self-worth is a journey that is ever unfolding. It is a practice that takes time, intention, consciousness and commitment. Self-worth is also one of the greatest gifts from being willing to take a deeper look at ourselves and grow our worth in the areas where we need to. Basing your worth on whether you feel whole and complete during moments of non-doing. Asking your heart whether your worth is based on how happy you are versus how successful you are. And gaining any validation you may need from your own inner sense of confidence and worth are all ways to be filled with the contentment and peace of knowing your own self-worth.