Have you noticed that when you feel disconnected from a primary partnership it naturally generates questions of your value? It’s common to wonder if you matter or what’s wrong with you.
As children, we don’t naturally know who we are or what we are capable of. We learn who we are through conversations with adults who tell us about ourselves. These adults, our parents, teachers, relatives, and strangers, make statements such as “Look at how smart you are!” or “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” or “How hard is it to clean your room?”
If you think honestly about how you regard yourself, it is probably an outgrowth of how the adults in your life regarded you as a child. Feelings like “others don’t appreciate me” or “it’s hard to find love so I might as well put up with what I have” come from a sense of not being valued.
At the same time, it’s easy to imagine how feeling better about ourselves would lead to reduced
You’ve also probably heard lots of business, dating, and relationship advice that tells you to “just be yourself” and at the same time, “be confident.” Just how to go about the trick of being yourself AND being confident is never (or rarely) explained. If you aren’t confident in yourself or you don’t believe you have worth, then “just being yourself” feels like walking across a minefield—there are all sorts of opportunities for shame and humiliation here.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Not having a sense of self-worth is not a permanent problem. It’s not like the color of your eyes, it doesn’t “just happen.” You can change your sense of self-worth. It’s fixable with intention and daily practice.
I’ve put together a process so you can apply what you already do well to dating or any other area of your life.
A short version is included in this article. Instructions for getting the longer version (it’s free) are at the end of the article.
BUILDING YOUR SELF-WORTH--SHORT VERSION
The short version is to assess what you do well and what that tells you about yourself. Then apply what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation to other situations you commonly find yourself in.
For example, if a friend (or date) criticizes you for asking too many questions, that might make you feel bad about yourself for being pushy or nosy. This degrades your confidence.
When you ask yourself what you do well, you might notice you are good at learning new things, which suggests you are curious and interested. Being curious and interested is a good thing for you and others.
How do you take this information and apply it to situations where your friend criticizes you for asking too many questions? Instead of assuming that friend is pointing out a character flaw in you, realize that she is feeling defensive because she is uncomfortable. Your curiosity is a good thing and your friend’s comments are not about you but rather about her being uncomfortable. That’s a much different thought than her criticism pointing out something you need to change.
This new thought bolsters your self-worth and confidence, whereas the other thought (there is something wrong with me) made you feel bad about yourself.
To start with answer these questions:
Notice that these questions shift your focus from “what’s wrong with me” to “this is what I’m good at.”
It might be helpful to ask a friend what they think about the answer to question #4. Sometimes it’s hard to think outside our own mental boxes.