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Lesson 3d: Increasing Self-Worth

Objective: Find ways to increase your self-worth

So how do we start building self-worth that is not based on net worth?

  • Note the word SELF-worth.

    Stop basing your self-worth on the opinions and approval of others.  When we try to build ourselves from the opinions of others, we are only building up our ego, not our self-worth.  Build your self-worth by looking at the qualities that you appreciate about yourself. 

    One area where many men get in trouble is trying to provide for their families (myself included).  We tend to think that if we have more money, we will be better providers.  Yet, sometimes all our families want from us is more of our time, not a bigger house or an exotic vacation.  See yourself from what you can provide for your family from a non-material point of view.

  • Take control of your life.
  • Stop making excuses for what you believe do not have.  Lack of self-worth derives from feeling that we can not control our lives.  The first step to taking control of your self-worth is knowing that you have a choice on how to react to the events in your life.  Do the events define who you are or who you are not?  Sometime you believe that the events define you.  In these cases, life appears out of control and at the whim of the universe.  However, it is what you do with the event that defines you.  Where would we be if President Roosevelt let polio become an excuse to sit back and be disabled?

  • Change your inner dialog.

    Others (e.g., parents, teachers, employers) may have criticized you in the past, told you that you weren't "good enough," yet it is your internal voice that is continuing this dialog today.  Do you have self-doubt or beat yourself up when you make a mistake?  It is these negative inner thoughts that continue to drive your poor self-worth.  Some self-doubt may be good.  It can drive self-improvement and growth.  Yet, it can become an obstacle when it is excessive and causes you to feel that you are not "good enough." 

    "You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens."
    - Louise L. Hay

    To increase your self-worth, stop yourself when you are being critical towards yourself.  Replace the critical voice with a voice of positive affirmations about yourself.  What is it that you do really well?  What do you like/love about yourself?  A good exercise is to look in the mirror and tell yourself these things every day.  Note, if you do not like the way you look in the mirror, then you may really need to do this exercise.

  • Look for the good in others.
  • When we are criticizing and finding fault in others, we are actually criticizing ourselves.  At times, we find fault in others because we feel inadequate about ourselves as well.  So we beat them down in order to make ourselves feel better.  Note, when we point a finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at us.

    If you are a manager, this does not mean you only need to be positive and not say anything negative to an unproductive employee.  It means that you see the whole person and give praise and objectively provide areas for learning (not criticizing).  Criticism is tearing down; providing learning opportunities is building them up.

  • Be of service to others.
  • Being a service to others (e.g., by volunteering) does two things.  First, you will feel better about yourself because it takes the attention off yourself and places it on helping others.  Second, to be a service to others, you must have something that they want (something of value).  Seeing that you have something of value, even if it is just greeting someone with a smile, will go towards helping build your self-worth.

  • Say thank you.

    Notice over the course of a day how many times you rebuff praise from others by saying, "No, it was nothing."  In effect, you are saying that you do not deserve their praise.  Instead, try to simply say, "Thank you," in response to their praise.  This will open you up to receiving the positive feedback and feeling worthy, increasing self-worth.

    Also say, "thank you," to your Creator.  Saying thank you means that you are complete just the way you are.

    Exercise: Pick one or two examples from above to use to increase your self-worth.  Write them down and practice them daily for the next 7 weeks.
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