One of the common things I hear in coaching and in general conversation is “I will be happy when..” “I will be able to… when…” and the ‘when’ is almost always based on external items or situations. When you out-source your own self-worth nothing will ever be enough, the shine wears off the new thing that you ‘needed to be happy’ and you are still the same you; the you that is not happy.
A common external focus for people is appearance, on what they wear, their make-up, nails, tan, lashes, and most commonly their weight. Not only do people end up punishing themselves with gruelling exercise and not nourishing their bodies they will never be happy with their appearance anyway, if they are not happy with who they are. I am by no means saying that you should not have these things, I love getting these things done, but your self-worth should not be attached to them. Your self-worth should not fluctuate with regrowth, clear nails, natural blonde lashes, or a change in the bathroom scales.
Out-sourcing self-worth to other people is another common occurrence. People take their self-worth from what other people say, which is all subjective and often just opinion. Nobody else dictates your worth, and seeking their approval often leads to doing things that don’t align to your goals and values, and consequently you end up feeling worse about yourself. You can end up running yourself ragged just to please other people, while you are not pleased about anything for yourself.
The new house, the boat, trips overseas, and all the new gear also don’t determine your self-worth. Logically, this is obvious. Objects do not say anything about our value as humans, but still we hear ‘retail therapy’ and even with a quick scroll through social media we see that people do give weight to the objects in their lives, as if these things are a reflection of them. When they are no longer new, ‘the high’ of the purchase has worn off, or the newer model is released what happens then? If your self-worth is attached to these things, then purchasing needs to continue to feel worthy.
For me, it was status, my achievements. When I was receiving external achievements and recognition I felt my self-worth increase, and this continued until my mid-20s where I changed careers and for a few weeks lost some of that (self-imposed) status. This was the best thing for me. It was the realisation I needed to happen, to really stop and reflect on where my value came from. I was still the same person with the same characteristics, personality, strengths and weaknesses, and I was still loved. I realised then, that my self-worth had been out-sourced to external achievements and the status that came with this; the salary, the title, the awards. I was embarrassed. I had never thought that these things were actually important, nor did they reflect another person’s value as a human, so why was I giving it value to myself? (If you read my previous blog on unmasking the insecurities you will see exactly where this has come from).
So, what did I do? I stopped and rediscovered my internal self-worth:
– I read, listened and watched speakers on topics around self-worth, shame, guilt, love etc.
– I journaled on what I had learned and insights I had to myself.
– I brainstormed what mattered in my life, focusing internally.
– I recorded what my strengths were, and made a list that was decent, not just a handful of things.
– I challenged negative self-talk. I recorded it, and used logic and facts to quiet it.
– I used positive affirmations daily.
When you out-source your self-worth not only does it lead to no change in your internal happiness but it lets comparison take a front seat also. When you have bought a new outfit, or are hanging on to someone’s compliment and then you see someone else with a better wardrobe, or get higher praise it can be crushing. It takes that away from you instantly, and your self-worth plummets.
This is why social media effects people differently. For those of us who really value ourselves, and have our self-worth tied up in who we are as people, our true internal self, social media is a way to connect to others, see cool pictures, watch inspiring videos, use it as a business platform etc., it does not touch our self-worth. It can be harmful however, to those who have out-sourced their self-worth, and are therefore able to directly compare that (appearances, objects, status etc.) self-worth to others.
If scrolling through your social media makes you feel shit:
– Look at the accounts you are following. If there are certain accounts that are doing this…delete/block/unfriend!
– If it is more general then I would suggest you limit your social media use as a start, while you start looking at your own self-worth. Try some of the things I mentioned above, or contact me.
See, I know that lots of people have better bodies, better houses, products, more lavish holidays, and cooler stuff than me, but you know what? No one is me! My value is me.
Mel H x