Your self-worth is the value you assign to yourself. You can't estimate your self-worth by comparing yourself with others. It has little to do with your accomplishments or the value that society places on you or your work. Your precise self-worth can't be measured, because it's priceless. You can get the best estimate of your self-worth by asking someone who loves you unconditionally how much he or she values you. The answer would likely be trillions of dollars, if not more.
Don't use this realization to become arrogant. Instead, use this understanding as a reminder that you don't have to prove yourself to anybody; that you are intrinsically priceless, and that it's just fine to be humble and live a life serving others, in whatever way is most meaningful to you.
But we don't typically live with these thoughts. Instead, we let inappropriate evaluations of ourselves — whether they come from others or ourselves — define our self-worth. We also often value ourselves based on the outcomes of our actions, not our intentions or efforts. This is a mistake, because outcomes are unpredictable and dependent on many other factors that are out of our control.
Value gets even more complicated when we think about what others think of us. Others generally place value on us based on their ideals, the part of us they see, and how much they think we value them. The internet further complicates the issue of value when we get five stars and one star for our work in a span of five minutes.
Do you see how your self-worth can be constantly shifting, affecting your mood, the way you treat others, and your productivity?
Try applying these lessons. Remind yourself of the following.
- I am priceless, just like everyone else is.
- If I have to judge myself, it's best to look at my intentions and efforts, not at the outcome of my actions.
- I can use every bit of well-meaning feedback, positive or negative, to become a better person.
- I help my own self-worth when I give well-deserved, positive feedback to others.
This approach may help give you a more secure sense of self, which might prompt you to help others feel the same way about themselves. Maybe someday, all of us will wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and say, "You are a good human being; you are priceless." Live your day remembering this fact and help others feel the same.