Self Worth

Half Again When something stinky happens, it’s hard not to feel almost immediately that it’s because you’re somehow bad or not worthy or something like that. Maybe I should speak for myself. When something bad happens to me, I tend to think it’s because I’m not worth it. But I was thinking about something and then it dawned on me. The solution is built into the phrase.

It’s called SELF worth for a reason

When someone acts in a certain way, and we react in a way as if we feel devalued, for unknown reasons, I think we somehow make it about our self-worth. We’re not good enough. I’m not good enough. Clearly. Or else, it would’ve gone a different way.

But my value hasn’t changed because of how someone treated me. My value has stayed the same. They made a different choice. Not me.

Self worth is about the self. We mess this up all the time. We seek appreciation and validation from others. We seek the warmth and love of others and sometimes, we do that because we feel that that love will equal our worth in some way.

Businesses do this at times, too. They don’t act in a way that seems connected to the worth of their customer. But that doesn’t make the customer any less valuable. Coworkers can do this, sometimes even by mistake. Bosses can do it, sometimes without even thinking about it.

But it’s how WE react, and how we choose to respond and what we do that matters. Because it’s SELF worth. And no one else can put a price on that.

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  • Rick Manelius

    I know that I sometimes get caught in the trap of seeking others approval because it gives me that warm fuzzy feeling of someone liking me, my ideas, etc. The issue is that this means my feelings are tied to the actions of others, which means I have less control over my emotional reactions to things. Thankfully, with a little bit of awareness, both praise and criticism can be neutralized so I don’t have to worry about either (easier said than done at times!)

    • Chris Brogan

      It’s what I was studying so hard in my buddhism. But I really fell off the wagon. Back on today. Or tomorrow, however you measure time when you don’t sleep.

      • Kristin Drysdale

        I would be feigning if I called myself a night owl. I think I’m perhaps more like a griffin. -And, according to my self-worth check-in, it’s okay to be a never-sleeping bird-like magical creature.

  • Vincent Nguyen

    I still struggle with worrying about how others perceive me sometimes. I would occasionally replay the event in my head long after it’s over. What helps me stop is asking myself will I be worried about this next week? Will this affect my life in anyway? Usually the answer is no and I can start to move on.

    • Chris Brogan

      That’s a great mechanism to have. :)

    • Lucy Chen

      I can relate to that, Vincent.

  • Daniel Decker

    Worth is kind of a subjective thing isn’t it? I can have a widget that I think is worth $10 but run into someone who laughs and says I’m crazy and that it’s only worth $2. Then I run into someone else who thinks I’ve undervalued it thinking it should be $12. I set the price. I can choose to let the guy who doesn’t appreciate it drive me down or I can hold true to the value I set, knowing that there are plenty of others who will see it too. On the SELF side, to me, it has a lot to do with confidence. Knowing that my value comes from who I am and that I am loved by God no matter what. If I am always trying to justify my worth through the opinions of others, I’ll never live up because… like the first illustration… worth can be subjective to them.

    • Chris Brogan

      No question. It’s all in our noggins. Love your thoughts here. : )

  • Steve Woodruff

    Our value as a provider of (something professional) is going to be all over the scale, depending on how much others need what we DO. But our worth as persons – our worth for who we ARE? Not at all the same. Not measurable by some monetary rate. Somehow, we have to try to keep the two separate…

    • Chris Brogan

      Very clear, Clarity expert. : )

      • Steve Woodruff

        Our parents thought we were worth a whole lot, before we could ever “produce” anything (except smiles and poop). And I know your parents still think a whole lot of you!!

  • FawneFellows

    Self worth should ask, “Can I accept what I said or did about ‘this’ or ‘that’?” It should not be based on ‘they’ or ‘them’. They haven’t much to do with me.

    • Chris Brogan

      No doubt. Even though we forget that one sometimes. : )

  • Nik Pasic

    Thanks for sharing your interesting thoughts Chris. I’ve hit a similar wall not too long ago due to a chain of events that just did not go well for a period which seemed just a little too long at the time.

    One thing that helped me turn things around amazingly enough is simply smiling more. People suddenly started looking at me as if I knew some secret they weren’t aware of and some even started physically readjusting and looking at mirrored objects thinking it was something about them. It was at that point that I understood again that we all view the world from our own individual perspectives and the only way someone else could see how badly things are going is if we allow them to see.

    Since then things have been quite literally been going better than ever for me across the board. I am simply better because I try to be better and it not only shows but it beams out of me.

    I still have annoying moments but I do not allow them to become bad days. A smile will quickly overcome… and if all else fails there’s always uplifting music or a motivational video YouTube playlist. :D

    • Chris Brogan

      Love that. Smiling it is!

  • Lucy Chen

    This bit about “seek the warmth and love of others” reminds me of something that is probably a little off-the-topic. It reminds me of me pretending to be blind when playing with Alan when he was 2. He asked me to do this and that, and I pretended that my eye hurt and I could not see. He would then hug and kiss me, and just sit with me.

    This really really moved me and enlightened me about what is unconditional love! Children are so pure! Their love is so pure!

    • Chris Brogan

      Very interesting! I love that this was a game he wanted to play. There’s something really interesting to it, but I love its simple beauty, too. : )

      • Lucy Chen

        I didn’t write properly – he wanted to play something else, and I was tired so I pretended my eyes hurt and I couldn’t see. :) He wasn’t even 2 yet – so sweet!

  • Sally Neal

    Wonderfully — and un-cloyingly — said.

    Thank so much and Happy U.S. Thanksgiving to you!

    • Chris Brogan

      I endeavor to not cloy. : )

  • Skip Prichard

    That paragraph about self worth was powerful. When we seek validation in the wrong places for the wrong reasons, it causes all kinds of problems.


    • Chris Brogan

      Thank you, sir. :)

  • Bradley

    I agree with you however it’s really hard not to feel bad and at the end, blaming ourselves. It’s like when you go dating and the next day the girl/guy doesn’t want to meet you anymore. It’s most likely not on you but on the choice he/she made according to his/her feelings, priorities, current attitude, whatever. Still, it feels bad and it can suck the life out of you for a while…

    • Chris Brogan

      Everything worth doing is hard.

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  • geofflivingston

    I have to remind myself that many times others acts find there basis in decades of perosnal history that have nothing to do with me. It’s good to try undertand my part, but to also disavow theirs, so to speak, and not personalize it. Good post.

    • Chris Brogan

      Precisely. And thank you for sharing your take as well. You’re absolutely right. We can wreck ourselves against the thoughts of others, or our perception of their thoughts, or their autobiography-laden issues, etc.

  • disqus_jduXvwwhub

    I know my self worth, though I might underestimate without debasing it. But I also know that no one else knows how to evaluate, because they so often try. “How old are you?” For example. It’s the measure of where your potential vs your proven-ness is, whether you’ve kept up with the lock step of development of someone who’s theoretically on your trajectory. Where you’ve failed your potential, or gotten sidetracked, or made a really bad gamble or just had something out of your control happen to you. Or if you just think differently, even think at all, about things most people think they know. If you aren’t where or who you’re supposed to be, or don’t tell the right story, your value is nil, because in the short run, whether you have value depends on if you fit in or fill a need, and this is binary: you do or you don’t.
    Though its lonely, and perhaps perverse, I have learned to see such evaluations as bullets to dodge.

    • John Cory

      your post is hard to follow – but I think this is the point. You’re right, it’s a hard concept to nail down. Sometimes I think “f&ck it, why bother even thinking about it? Just go out and do your best every day”

  • Anthony J. Alfidi

    Good point. It’s hard to have enough self-confidence to ignore other people’s judgments but it’s possible with enough practice.

  • John Cory

    I love that you are taking a look at this issue. But my experience is this: self-worth is something that you get at a young age and as such is seriously deep-rooted. You will have such a hard time changing it that you may be better off just working hard and ignoring any cues your body gives that say “you’re not good enough”. Basically I’m saying “fake it”, ause I have a suspicion that’s what everyone else is doing. If you’re lucky, your environemnt will cnge for the better as a result of your bullshitting and your brain wll adapt to the new circumstances. As long as you’re out to be a good person and do good thing, this should be an acceptable ruse.

  • Marry John

    Thanks so much for the kind words, really glad you liked the post!

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