What would I do if I valued myself? This question is a favorite of mine that I ask myself often. This one along with “is this life-giving?” Usually when I’m stuck and am uncertain of what to do in a situation I ask myself one or even both of these questions, and usually I get an answer or at least some clarity on the situation.
What would I do if I valued myself? Asking this question I imagine someone who has self-worth even in a society where we are constantly told, we aren’t enough. I imagine someone who treats her mind, body, and spirit with respect, love, and compassion moving her body joyfully (not to just burn calories), eating nourishing and simple whole foods, getting enough sleep, building pockets of rest and time in nature, and prioritizing her well-being.
I imagine a person who has strong boundaries and knows when to walk away when needed. Someone who doesn’t settle for crumbs, because she’s looking for the whole cake. I imagine someone who shares openly and vulnerably her truth and what’s in her heart, knowing that it deserves to be shared and heard. I imagine someone choosing her partner who also chooses her, knowing that she deserves what she is also willing to give.
I imagine her to have a supportive community or circle of friends that accept and love her for who she is. I imagine she has a healthy relationship with money and knows how to save, but also intentionally spends money on the things and experiences that are aligned with her values (not simply to keep up with The Joneses).
It’s safe to say that many of us (if not, most of us) struggle with this concept of self-worth. It’s definitely a practice and a journey–something that takes time and lots of practice and trial and error to cultivate. It’s not something you just understand one day and start living it (if only it were that easy). But when we make small choices over and over again that show we value ourself then we start to believe we are worthy. It’s not the other way around. First we need to take action, and THEN the belief will come. Our choices matter.
I have struggled with this concept just like the rest of you. I have chosen people that didn’t choose me in return. I have accepted low salaries even when I knew I had the experience and skills for a higher one. I have treated my body in an unkind way. I have had porous boundaries and didn’t know how to say no. I have spent large amounts of money on clothes and material possessions to show that I fit in and to feel worthy, even when I didn’t have the extra money to spend. I did all of these things more than I’d like to admit.
But I learned that self-worth is a verb and I started taking baby steps in the direction of learning how to value myself more. I’ve asked myself over and over again, “what would I do in this situation if I truly valued myself?” I learned how to have a healthy relationship with my body, choosing foods that are full of nutrients and vitamins, limiting my alcohol consumption, and taking a more gentle approach to exercise. I’ve learned how to create boundaries when needed and say ‘no’. I’ve learned how to walk away from situations that are not good for me. I’ve learned that my participation in the world matters.
Have I mastered any of this? No way. But I have seen progress and this is what I’m aiming for. I have found it’s kind of like a ripple effect too. The more I keep choosing what is good for me (on all levels) knowing that I am worthy of these things, the easier it gets and the more natural it feels. And I can also feel immediately when I am choosing something from a place of lack–it feels icky and like there’s this void and what I am choosing will never fill it.
I believe we can learn how to value ourselves. Here are some questions you can start to ask yourself to gain some more clarity around the subject:
- If I valued myself (in situation that is causing you discomfort or distress), what would I do? What would it look and feel like if I valued myself? How would I show up differently?
- What’s one small step I can take today to show that I value myself?
- Which areas in my life am I sending the message that I don’t value myself? Maybe it’s with work, relationships, health, dating, etc….
- How can I start to advocate for myself and my needs?
Feel free to share your response to any of these questions. I would love to hear from you!