Too often people confuse net worth with self-worth.
Have you ever thought, "If I had this amount of money in the bank, I would feel as if I made it?"
Have you ever thought, "If I had this many friends and people who adored me, then I would feel as if I made it?
What does that number represent to you?
"The problem with love is that it's not for sale," famed business tycoon Warren Buffett once said. "It's very irritating if you have a lot of money. You'd like to think you could write a check: I'll buy a million dollars' worth of love. But it doesn't work that way. The more you give love away, the more you get."
The luxury car, the European vacation, a second home, or even 1 million followers on Instagram – I see it all the time. People who use the stuff that they possess as a yardstick to how they feel about themselves and what their inner value is.
Do you spend time trying to impress people you don't even know, and probably don't really care about?
Your net worth or your number of "followers" does not equal your self-worth, and it is so very important to make that differentiation. Your net worth is a simple number that can be calculated on a balance sheet. As a LPL financial advisor located in Spokane, I strive to advance those numbers for my clients' financial goals.
When it comes to self-worth, it is a different challenge to tackle. Those with low self-worth may think the way to a higher self-worth is to work harder, put in more hours at the office and accumulate assets and relationships.
Money cannot buy you love and happiness, and if you value things over people, it will bankrupt you emotionally. When goals are reached and materialistic stuff begins to pile up, a person with low self-worth will never be happy, even if they are the richest person in the world. They will get that brief rush of oxytocin, and like an addict, begin to search for the next thing that will give them that high. But self-worth (and learning to love yourself) cannot be found in a number – you must cultivate it yourself.
Like Buffett says, there is no bank account where self-worth debits and credits can be transacted. It cannot be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, nor is there a numeric measure to determine your worthiness. But you can make deposits yourself into your self-worth account because self-worth is completely up to you! Its value can only be possessed, obtained and measured by your belief that you deserve it (and you do).
Repeat after me: you are worth loving and being loved.
But like all things that have merit, it will require effort. We are all works in progress, and to improve your self-worth, you must make the decision to invest in you. Read on for some tips on how to start making big deposits in your self-worth account and learn to love yourself unconditionally.
1. Get Clear on Your Values
What are the principles that you live your life by? Is it honesty? Integrity? Love? If you don't know what your core values are, you might feel like a ship with no sails. Determine what your most important values are and examine where in your life you might not be living in alignment with them. The more you know what you stand for, the more confident you will be. I guarantee that the values most important to you will not be things that can be purchased.
2. Accept that You are Not Perfect
Albert Einstein once said, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." The road to self-love is long, but when you fall, learn from your errors and don't stay too long at the pity party. Learn to accept and love your imperfections. Be honest with yourself. You are more than the sum of your mistakes.
3. Confidence is a Frame of Mind
Confidence is what we project and what we want others to see, not necessarily how we feel. But if you rely on having things to make yourself feel on-top-of-the-world … that is a problem. Instead, start getting to know yourself better, outside of the balance of your bank account or what car is in your driveway. Journaling is a wonderful way to analyze your inner critic. Are your limitations real, or just ones you've allowed to be placed there? Artificially dig deep within yourself, and you'll come out (eventually) with even greater self-confidence.
4. Small Steps Each Day Equal Big Rewards
People often make the mistake of shooting for the moon, and then get discouraged when they fail. Set a goal you know you can achieve, and then achieve it. Write it down in a place you can see it every day, such as on your bathroom mirror or on your nightstand. The more you achieve small goals, the better you'll be at it, and the better you will feel. Soon you will be setting bigger (but still achievable!) goals like a boss.
5. Increase Your Skill Set
If you are looking to improve a part of your life, it takes studying and consistent practice. If you want to become a better runner, for example, you wouldn't try to go out and run a marathon on your first day. Just begin to run more. The more you run, the better at running you will become (this is just an example; perhaps you want to be a better writer or better at your career). Set aside 30 minutes each day to practice this skill and see your self-worth and confidence blossom before your eyes.
Know yourself and you will win all battles. – Sun Tzu
No matter what our bank account says...no matter what possessions we own...we are all born with infinite potential and equal worth. If you believe anything less, you have learned this false belief over your lifetime. But luckily, self-destructive thoughts and beliefs can be unlearned with deliberate self-kindness and compassion.
I encourage you today to take time to make deposits in your self-worth account. When you mindfully grow your self-worth, you will value it more than ever before. Incorporating the list above into your life will not be easy. Some of the steps will be easier than others; perhaps some of them you are already incorporating into your life. I am confident there are many items that you could add to the list as well and I welcome your comments and additions to my list. Creating a life with abundant self-worth takes progress and learning lessons along the way. But having strong self-worth is truly one of life's greatest pleasures.
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Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.