Self Worth

Putting Your Self First

I said to myself at the end of last year that this would be the year where I would VALUE myself – and boy has it been tested.

I truly believe that the Universe gives you signs to direct you on your path.  So, when I made this promise to myself and sent it out into the Universe, I think it decided to find out how serious I was about standing up, believing and putting myself first.

I’ve done a lot of work on myself over the past 2 years, and I finally thought I had worked through my emotional baggage and let go of what was holding me back.  I thought my final obstacle was facing my fear of failure and stepping into my purpose.  But I forgot one crucial part of self-work that’s essential to confronting any fear. To step into your purpose and your personal power, you have to believe your good enough just as you are, which requires a strong sense of self-worth.

I always thought my self-esteem was in pretty good shape.  But that doesn’t guarantee you have self-worth.  A lot of people think self-worth and self-esteem are the same. Even when you look at definitions, they are interchangeably used.  But there is a difference.

Self-esteem is the culmination of our thoughts, beliefs and feelings about ourselves.  Whereas self-worth is our internal sense of Self derived from 2 things: self-love and self-acceptance.  Self-worth is a belief that we are of value and necessary in this world despite our imperfections and what others may think or say.  When we have a strong sense of self-worth, we are unshaken even when we are met with resistance or one of life’s many challenges. That’s a big difference and admittedly a pain point for me.

I always thought I had a strong sense of self-worth until recently.  My lack of worth has slowly been creeping into my mind courtesy of insecurity and self-doubt.  But I refused to sit with it.  But the Universe has a way of sending messages and giving us moments with the intention of moving us along our path and that’s what happen a couple of weeks ago.

I was in a yoga therapy training session working on the S I Joint (the joint that connects the hip bones to the triangular bone at the base of our spine).  I have suffered from chronic back pain for the past 7 years.  As I made room in this chronically tight area of my body, stuff got moved around and a wave of emotions and sensations flooded over me.

I knew where it came from and what it was about.  I had been avoiding it for months at this point.  I didn’t want to lean into it because I knew it would require some heavy soulful work. Instead, I wanted to stuff it down and just be a good attentive student, rather than dive deep into the murky waters of my real beliefs about myself.  And that’s what I was going to do until, my teacher said something that was impossible for me to ignore.  She said she had found that the people who suffer most from S I Joint problems the most, are often amazing women who have problems with self-worth and stepping into their purpose.

I love how the Universe works but, in this moment, I hated it.  I didn’t want to deal with my self-worth.  I just wanted to plug forward.  My fear of failure had been swirling around my head for several months and it had stirred up my broken self-worth hard.   It in turn had crept out of the recesses of my body and brain onto my shoulders taking a prominent weighted position on my back, preventing me from taking action on things I desperately wanted to do and knew were necessary if I want to really step towards fulfillment and happiness.  But the weight became unbearable to ignore.

So, what do you do when you when you get paralyzed when deep down you don’t believe you are good enough?  You do what I had been avoiding and you lean in – wholeheartedly.  And you connect with yourself and re-build your relationship with your Self.  Here’s what I did to elevate myself forward and re-build my self-worth.

Step 1: Practice Self-Awareness

Before you can grow your self-worth, you’ve got to raise your awareness on how you see and view yourself.  You have to be willing to look at the good, the bad and the imperfection.

I reflected on these questions to get some self-awareness about how I was really feeling about myself, to find some patterns of thought and feeling:

How do I see myself?  How do others see me?  Are they different?  Why?

What am I good at?  What are my talents and gifts?

What do I struggle with?

What do I need to improve on?

What holds me back?  Why?

What emotions are always coming up for me?  What can they tell me?

How do I consistently let myself down?

I also worked on quieting my mind.  This is SO IMPORTANT to self-awareness because it actually allows us to turn down the noise in our head and truly hear yourself.  And when I say hear your Self, I’m not talking about that critiquing voice that is constantly chatting to us and reminding of us of all our faults, I mean our true voice.

I’m talking about the quiet voice that speaks without judgement or expectation.  When you can quiet your mind to hear your true voice, you can connect with your Self and hear HER wisdom.  When you do, you become more aware and in touch with who you so you are more capable of following HER whispers and following your intuition, which my experience never steers you wrong.

Step 2: Practice Self-Acceptance

Once you recognize your beautiful strengths and talents, along with the parts of yourself that you know you struggle with, then comes the call for accepting all parts and aspects of yourself, unconditionally.

When you practice self-acceptance, you have to acknowledge your imperfections as gifts, filter out the non-sense and mind traps of self-criticism and doubt, and let go of what typically holds us back which is often our need for others approval and acceptance.  Once you are able to see with clarity all the good within yourself, you can start to see the reality that you are enough – just as you are.

This is the hardest step of all; believing that we are enough despite what others project onto us, or what we have been conditioned to believe.  But once we are able to do this, then we are on the path towards truly loving ourselves, which is an essential element of self-worth.

Step 3: Practice Self-Love

Once you have connected with yourself through self-awareness, and accept yourself unconditionally, then you need to reinforce this belief system.  Acts of self-care remind us that our needs, wants and desire are IMPORTANT.  When we make the time every day to make our Self a priority, and we meet our essential needs, it reminds us of our own existence.

When we see, hear and listen to our mind, body and spirit, we take care of ourselves, and in the process grow our sense of self-worth.  When we have a strong sense of worth in this world, we show up differently.  We make different decisions and choices that are more aligned with who we truly are because we VALUE ourselves, even when we face moments of personal struggle.

When we show ourselves love and compassion and take care of our mind and body, we grow our resiliency to stand up in the world and be who we are with confidence and generate the kind of self-reliance and efficacy to walk the path to purpose and towards a life of pleasure and fulfillment versus pain and regret.

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Joanne Smith (a.k.a. Joanne Freeborn) is a Transformational Wellness Leader who supports women realign their mental, physical and spiritual lives.  She educates and coaches using immersive self-healing techniques that align and transform health and wellness, while paving the path to a deeper connection with Self.

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