One of the most important realizations we can ever have in life is understanding our own self-worth.
It’s built right into the phrase - self-worth. But too many of us still look to others to create it. This is a problem for two reasons:
- That other person is viewing you through their own perception, which is built from their personal life story. They aren’t seeing you, they’re projecting what they’ve learned to like and dislike onto you.
- If you constantly define your value as a person based on what other people tell you, you are destined to live a life of unhappiness, constantly feeling stuck, or lost, or as if something is "missing."
Seeking your value from someone else is a dead end.
Still, it isn’t easy to completely ignore what people around you are saying. But that can be a good thing! We can pick up clues about how we are — what’s going well, what could use some work — based on how we respond to the people around us.
Yogi Bhajan explains this in reverse:
“If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.”
Someone’s comment about you - a compliment or an insult - isn’t actually about you. It’s about them. And your reaction to their comment isn’t about them, it’s about you.
The fact is, you cannot control other people’s actions. People are going to say what they’re going to say due to what they are feeling or processing, or what they have learned they’re supposed to say.
What you can control is how you use that information for your own growth.
If someone walked up to you today and told you that you’re horrible, you’re ugly, you’re fat, you’re stupid...does this automatically make you less worthy than you were before they opened their mouth? And when someone tells you that you are beautiful, amazing, intelligent...does this make you a better person than you were before they laid on the compliments?
Of course not.
If someone gave you a compliment and you emphatically denied it, what does that tell you about the amount of love you’ve been keeping from yourself? If someone tried to tear you down with insults and you broke into a yelling rage, what does that tell you about the amount of fearful ego that you’re allowing to control your life?
Use the words of others to help you check in with your own status of love. Take it as an opportunity to practice more loving kindness toward yourself, like you would to a child.
For those still doubting, I repeat: If you value yourself based on how people praise or judge you, if your self-worth is dependent on other people constantly confirming your existence in the world, you are going to be absolutely miserable!
You will spend all of your time and energy trying to fit into a mold that society has deemed acceptable – but one that is far too narrow, too shallow, and too limited for you to ever adapt to.
Society is just a conglomerate of the loudest and most persistent opinions, anyway. And opinion isn’t law.
What’s worse, placing your value in the hands of people that don’t know their own is a dangerous game.
Take it from me. I have over 2 million of you following me on Instagram and the opinions about me change with the direction of the wind. Sometimes you raise me to the heavens; I am the most amazing person in the entire world! And sometimes you bring me down; I am fat, ugly, stupid. Do you think I let either of these opinions dictate how I feel about myself?
I am who I am.
It is MY responsibility to believe in myself, to know my worth, to trust that I am strong and capable and beautiful and intelligent and everything that makes me me.
This is my life, my body, my experience. And guess what? I’m rocking it. I don’t need anyone to tell me I’m great just as much as I don’t need anyone to tell me I’m not. I know my worth.
I am a divine being of human light doing the best I can in this world.
Just like you.
Work on loving yourself — unconditionally. However you show up today, tomorrow and the next day, commit to loving that version of yourself just as much.
No one else is going to do it for you. Because they are all busy working on loving themselves.
So if someone behaves harshly, know that they could be moving through a shitty situation and that their words are mirroring their confusion or pain. Send them love and peace, check in to see if you have your own pain that needs some love, and then let go. And if someone is kind, thank them for choosing to exist in their own state of self-love and reminding you to do the same, and then let go.
Move from being a projector to being a reflector. We are all looking into a mirror with everyone we meet, and we all can choose what we see.
Choose to see love.
PS: This week, I challenge you to look at yourself in the mirror every morning for 2 minutes and tell yourself words of love! Tell me in the comments below how it goes!