What Defines Your Self-Worth?

by Yen Uy


[photo credits] Photo by Andre Furtado on Pexels

I’m a big fan of personality tests. Are you? Recently, I discovered The Enneagram and got very excited to find out what profile it would yield for me. I turned out to be a type three: The Achiever--success-oriented, committed to excellence, and driven. I thought: Yup, that’s me!

I read on and found out more details. When it came to discussing my basic fears and how I cope with those fears, one particular point caught my attention: I tend to rely on my achievements to define my self-worth. Now that got really spicy for me!

As much as I would like to deny it, sadly, it’s true. Ever since I was young, I was always determined to achieve and to excel. Once I complete something, I move on to the next task. So what’s wrong with that? Achievement was a hidden driver that fed my self-esteem and added value to how I was perceived by others. I attached my worth to something outside of myself.

What makes us feel worthy–of ourselves and others–is a hidden driver for us. It influences our decision-making process. And if something influences the way we make our decisions in a significant way, then it has power over our lives. Yes, self-worth is that important.

What defines your self-worth? Do you define it based on your finances, job, educational attainment, or how well you’re liked by others? If it’s similar to these things, think about how it influences the decisions you make.

So how do we define our self-worth? I think the more accurate question is: how do you acknowledge your self-worth? After all, it lies within you and always will. It’s just waiting to be recognized.

How do you bring it to the surface? Here are some of the things I do to acknowledge my self-worth.

    • Get to know yourself.  Find out all the things that make you unique– both the great and not-so-great parts of you. Invest in your own personal development and you will develop self-acceptance and self-love. Also, get to know your inner critic and its voice. Then, learn to challenge it.
    • Always celebrate how far you’ve come. You really should give yourself a pat on the back because life is not easy. You’re growing. You’re doing the work. Celebrate that. Nothing is too small to be appreciated. As you see yourself evolve and grow in tackling life’s challenges, appreciate yourself.
    • Find happiness in stillness. Spend time with yourself, digging deep into your soul. Take 10-20 minutes a day to sit in silence and stillness to connect with yourself. If you practice this consistently, you’ll discover the deeper parts of yourself that you will fall in love with. Guaranteed!

You are enough. You are worthy of your own dreams. You are worthy of love. We hear these words so often, but the only way it will make a difference is if we really believe them and take them to heart. When we come from a place of healthy self-worth, we get to show up as our authentic selves. As we discover ourselves in our authenticity, we will be able to take concrete steps to build our lives towards what’s truly meant for us.