• NICOLE GREENFIELD-SMITH

The Strength of Self-Worth

If there’s one truth-bomb that explodes in the lap of my clients time and time again, it’s this..


If you don’t appreciate your own worth, it’s near impossible for others to appreciate it too.


Take an example I’ve witnessed twice in the last week.


- Person A does a job for person B.

- Person B messes them around for the umpteenth time, which costs person A time and

money.

- Person A gets annoyed at person B, but doesn’t communicate it effectively for fear of

displeasing them.


Who’s really at fault here?


Person B for their behaviour?

Person A for ineffectively communicating their boundaries?


The fault isn’t a ‘who’ but a ‘what’ – and that ‘what’ is human nature, self-worth and confidence.


If you question your worth on a fundamental level, it becomes near impossible to communicate it to others.

The lack of value that you place on yourself will spill out in your words and behaviour time and time again. And it will do so without you even realising.


Whether it’s apologetic phrases such as, ‘I’m sorry but..’, ‘I just..’, ‘it’s nothing..’ to a shaky tone of voice when trying to stand your ground, the signals are there for all to see.


Humans are clever creatures. Our brains are adept at subconsciously deciphering the slightest signs – an eye movement here, a gesture there, a turn of phrase or a slight hesitation. It’s the reason we can spot when someone’s lying, nervous or feels uncomfortable – even when their words paint a different picture.


Self-worth is complex beast. It literally underpins everything: how you feel about yourself, your boundaries, your words, your actions.


It’s even more complicated by the fact that how you were raised has a significant effect on your sense of inner worth – your parents’ opinion of you becomes deeply embodied in your own view of yourself.


If they valued certain traits and behaviours (either consciously or sub-consciously), it’s likely that you’ll judge yourself against those measures. There are the obvious ones: academic achievement, sporting prowess, 'good behaviour' etc. There are the less obvious ones: conformity, gender ideals, work ethic and so forth. (And understanding these patterns is a crucial part of breaking the link.)


Importantly, all of this will impact your relationships with others. How you interact with people will be heavily influenced by how you interact with yourself. (Known as intrapersonal communication.)


The more you see yourself as lacking, the more difficult it becomes to believe that anyone else would value you either. It’s disturbingly cyclical and can eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Take for example, my own experience. Many moons ago, I had a witty, kind and intelligent boyfriend who struggled terribly with self-worth. After several years of constant reassurance, the dynamic in our relationship irreparably shifted. I felt untrusted - like every move I made was scrutinised for evidence that I didn’t really love him. My own behaviour changed as the relationship became increasingly one-sided. In short, I stopped trying and eventually ended the relationship, confirming to him that he was right all along.


Low self-worth can – and does - impact how other people see you, which can lead to that feeling of being ‘walked all over’. The sad fact is that sometimes, even those closest to you will do it, often unintentionally. People will inevitably stumble across boundaries that they just can’t see.


It’s also reflected in how you spend your time. If you don’t feel worthy, you’ll give your time away willy-nilly and hold little back for yourself.

You’ll find yourself becoming increasingly exhausted, both mentally and physically. You’ll say yes when you want to say no. You’ll put everyone’s needs above your own and you’ll find yourself lingering at the bottom of your own list.


This realisation can hit you hard.


We’re often taught that people-pleasing is born out of generosity and helpfulness – and let’s be honest, if you fit the description, it’s a comforting way to view yourself. ‘I’m just too nice’, you might think.


I politely beg to differ.


‘Too nice’ is a get out clause. You can be the nicest person on the planet and still have healthy boundaries. You can dedicate your life to others and still create space in your life for you.

As women, we’re conditioned to be many things: humble, gracious, giving, caring, compassionate, kind, bubbly, beautiful. Women who don’t live up to this idea are often labelled with a host of pejorative words..


They’re not assertive, they’re bossy. They’re not goal-orientated, they’re nagging. They don’t have high expectations, they’re ‘high maintenance’. (Now let’s be honest, do you regularly hear men described in this way?).


We’re taught that in order to be worthy we have to constantly prove it by living up to those ideals through our words and actions.


Essentially, we do things not because they genuinely please us, but because they show how well we fit into the mould of others’ expectations.


We bask in the approval of others and fear their rejection, because that rejection will reaffirm what we fundamentally think – that we’re just not good enough.


So, failure to protect your boundaries and assert your worth isn’t born out of generosity, it’s born out of deep-rooted fear. A fear being unworthy. A fear of judgement. A fear of confrontation. And ultimately, a fear of rejection.

And there lies that start of that cycle you desperately want to avoid: you believe you’re unworthy, so you project it, other people see it, they treat you in ways which demean your worth, which reinforces the negative view that you have of yourself.


Building self-worth isn't easy - but it is totally possible.


It involves undoing patterns of thought and behaviour that have become so ingrained you don't even see them. It thrives off you understanding, acknowledging and accepting your needs. And it always begins with self-kindness.


Now, let’s pause..


Let’s imagine you break this cycle. Let’s imagine you do feel worthy and have all the confidence you could ever need. And let’s go back to the previous example..


- Person A does a job for person B.

- But person A has already felt confident enough to communicate their values and

boundaries.

- Person B understands that and treats person A with the respect they deserve.

- Person A feels happy with the job they’ve done which reinforces their confidence.


In this example, self-worth and confidence haven’t just enabled person A to deal with an uncomfortable situation, they have totally deflected it in the first place.


And here lies one of the main benefits.. The situations that cause that fear in the first place, are significantly less likely to happen when you know your worth.

It’s the mental equivalent of exercise and healthy eating. Not only do they prevent disease, but they ensure that when you do get ill or injured, you bounce back more quickly afterwards.


So let’s try a slightly more challenging scenario..


- Person A does a job for person B.

- Person B messes them around, which costs time and money.

- Person A confidently expresses why this is unacceptable.

- Person B stops, thinks and changes their behaviour.

- Person A feels relief and continues to do a good job which reinforces their confidence.


Or how about this one?


- Person A does a job for person B.

- Person B messes them around, which costs time and money.

- Person A expresses why this is unacceptable.

- Person B carries on regardless.

- Person A eventually terminates their contact and frees up space for a more respectful

client.


Whichever way you look it, when you know your self-worth, the outcome is more favourable.


The impact of low self-worth isn’t always obvious until you start to dig deeper. There are many people who on the face of it, have everything, but struggle with a manner of things from anxiety to relationships to impostor syndrome.


But know this..


Improving your self-worth will invariably have a multitude of benefits. And when it comes to building confidence, you’re not fixed, you’re not stuck and you are totally capable of surprising yourself - when you have the right support!


If you’d like to explore what that support could look like for you, drop me a line or check out

https://courses.theconfidencecraft.com/ to see how I work.


Much love,


Nicole


P.S. If you haven't yet joined my free Facebook community of amazing women, hop on over. I'd love to see you there!

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