Too often people confuse net worth with self worth. It's a slippery slope to go down if you are measuring your self worth by the stuff you possess and the money you have in the bank. Simply put, net worth can be calculated on a balance sheet and entered onto a spreadsheet. Self worth however, is measured by the way you feel about yourself and your value (as you see it) to the world around you. It's important to differentiate the two because too often people think a big bank account or an expensive luxury car equates to higher self worth. Short of having a plump wallet and twenty one inch rims people with low self worth may think the way to a higher self worth is to work harder, put in more hours at the office and value possessions over relationships. That is when the cycle of chasing "things" begins. When goals are reached and materialistic stuff begins to pile up, a person with low self worth will never be happy, even if they are the richest, coolest cat in town.
"Self worth is measured by the way you feel about yourself and your value (as you see it) to the world around you."
Self worth cannot be found in a number. There is no bank account where self worth debits and credits can be transacted. It cannot be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, nor is there a numeric measure to determine your worthiness. But you can make deposits into your self worth account. Self worth is completely up to you. Its value can only be possessed, obtained and measured by your belief that you actually deserve it (and you do).
But like all things that have value, it will require effort. We all should live by the motto that we are a, "Work in progress." In order to improve your self worth, make the investment in you. Examine the list below and assess the areas you need to provide a greater investment of time, effort and energy.
1. Run your own race and set your own pace. Stop comparing your beginnings to someone else's middle. Everyone starts at the beginning and everyone advances at their own pace. Don't worry about how you compare to others. Some people are sprinters, some are long distance runners. Making a comparison to anyone else will create less than stellar results. There will be times when you will want to walk along the route. At other times, you will need to sprint in order to achieve your goals. Boost your self worth by running your own race.
2. Give to others. One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to do good things for other people. When you give, you get. The greatest gift you can give is to give of yourself. The rewards for giving are increased happiness, an improved level of self confidence, and a wonderful feeling of satisfaction.
3. Improve your self-talk. You are your own worst critic. Turn that around and be your best source of praise. Start giving yourself a pat on the back for a job well done and pump the brakes on all the negative self-talk. You are worthy of success. In order to get there, you will need encouragement and support from yourself.
4. Let your voice be heard. Put yourself out there and on stage for all of the world to see. Being heard, loud and clear, boosts self-esteem, which in turn will help you place a higher value on self worth. Yes, there will be people that will not agree with your point of view, but that's ok. This is a practice in speaking out, but not a practice of getting approval from others.
5. Accept that you are not perfect, none of us are. The best way to overcome obstacles in life is to be honest, see them before you and know that you will have missteps along the way. The road ahead will be hard and you will not be perfect. Learn from your errors, but don't stay long at the pity party. With effort, your willingness to accept and love your imperfections will allow you to soar past anything standing in your way.
6. Reward your successes. Most people spend so much time working they forget to look up and celebrate the little victories that happen everyday. When you reward yourself, you start to feel better about the things you are accomplishing.
7. Lose negative influences in your life. Say no to negativity; it will bring you down and take your self worth with it. Surround yourself with positivity and wonderful things will happen to you.
8. Small steps each day equal big rewards. I can remember the first reaction I had when faced with the daunting task of writing a 200-page book. My writing coach helped me jump that hurdle. "Look at it this way, you only have to write 10 pages a week for the next 20 weeks." As I further simplified the workload, I only needed to write one and a half pages a day. Anyone can do that. Take small steps to accomplish large goals. Each forward step taken equals a deposit into the bank of self worth.
9. Smile from the inside out. It's hard to be negative when you are smiling. But your smile needs to come from a place other than just the upturned corners of your mouth. Your smile should start from your soul and be genuine, sincere and earnest. When you have a smile that emanates from your heart, it makes you feel good all over.
10. Get out of your rut and try a new routine. Forgo the road often traveled and make a new path. When you step outside your comfort zone, change becomes more routine. When you accomplish something new, your confidence grows and life's successes and lessons start to come at you faster. Along with confidence comes an increase in self worth.
11. Trust yourself and your inner voice. Know that you have a built in GPS that wants to guide you to an improved self worth. Once you start to believe that is true, your ability to trust yourself will grow stronger. At first you will not feel as confident in your inner voice, that should be expected. With regular practice, as you continue to trust yourself and your inner voice, your self worth will increase.
12. Forgive yourself. Mistakes happen. It's what comes next that really counts. Learn to forgive yourself for mistakes that you have made in the past. When you forgive yourself you are able to let go and move on. Don't hold onto the baggage of mistakes gone by, they are weighing you and your self worth down.
13. Take action now. Get moving. The landscape will constantly change for you when you get into action. When you take action, life's hurdles will be nothing more than small blips on the radar screen. Don't get caught up in the minutia of life, learn to let go when you are able. When you take action, you are taking responsibility for yourself and you begin to grow. As you move on, feel good about your forward progress and make a deposit into your self worth account.
"Self worth cannot be found in a number. There is no bank account where self worth debits and credits can be transacted."
The benefits of an increased self worth are higher self confidence, a more positive attitude and a greater feeling of acceptance. When you boost your self worth, you increase your opportunities in life. Take time to make deposits in your self worth account and you will value your self worth more than ever before. Incorporating the list above into your life will not be easy. Some of the steps will be easier than others, some of them you are already incorporating into your life. I am confident there are many items that you could add to the list as well and I welcome your comments and additions to my list. As long as you are making progress, building confidence and learning lessons along the way, you are well on your way to creating a life with abundant self worth.
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Because no one knows better than you what helps you de-stress and tap into that place of peace inside yourself, it's important for you to create your very own GPS guide -- a personalized collection of whatever helps you course-correct. Email us at GPS@huffingtonpost.com and we'll set you up with your very own HuffPost blogger account to share your guide on the site. If you're already a blogger, we encourage you to upload your personal guide today. We can't wait to see what you have to share.