Every time I open up social media or go to a website like Buzzfeed, I find a new quiz about how I can define myself. I have a myriad of choices: I can figure out what's the best city for me, what the best career would be for me, what celebrity I am most like, and the list goes on and on. It's fun for the moment, but it got me thinking about how people look to external things to evaluate who they are and what they're about.
When clients come to the first session, they are often filled with all of these impressions about themselves. They'll tell me how they scored personality tests and work style assessments, and then discuss other indicators that they believe make them the way they are. Often times they'll ask me if I have any additional tests that they can take that will tell them what they are about. I stopped getting involved in these kinds of discussions because I found too many times people were attached to creating a definition for themselves. Additionally, if the test didn't give them exactly what they were looking for, they felt the need to change themselves or to become something better, most likely based on what their peers are. In essence, in the quest to find themselves, they often get caught up trying to emulate others. Which creates a whole lot of confusion, not to mention self-sabotage and way too much pressure.
The people I work with come to me because their bodies are at a point where they're screaming out that they need to de-stress and define a better lifestyle based on what they really want and less on what they think they should be doing. So I spend a lot of time looking at the issue of self-worth.
Many people define their self-worth by how much they can get done and how successful they are doing it regardless of the effect it has on them physically. They think if they can achieve this amazing goal of being perfect that they will be worthy of happiness, a good life and approval. They find if they can label themselves it gives them a definition, which they think will help them succeed. However, trying to meet goals with preset definitions equals a lot pressure. Without knowing it we spend a lot of time actually working against ourselves and not accepting ourselves. Not allowing ourselves to be worthy as who we really are, with and without our faults.
When we learn to start accepting what we deem wrong with us and let go of the shameful emotions around it, we start to defuse a lot of the pressure we have building in our systems. And that equals not only less stress, but also less pain and/or physical symptoms that come with the amount of stress we place on evaluating our self worth from an external source.
The problem is many times we don't even know were doing it. It's become second nature to figure out a way to define ourselves and put ourselves in a neat little box. So how can we start on the path to creating healthy self-worth?
Start by taking time to define what is really important to you.
What are your core values are and why these things are important to you? Then look at the things that you want to achieve: do these things help or hinder you in living a life to your core values? Is it a value to be helpful to others, but you tend to do it in overdrive? Then that's an area that you can pull back on and be gentle with yourself. Let go of the expectation that you have to help everyone all the time and learn to give to yourself as she gives to others. Even if that means not helping out as much as you normally would.
Look at the way that you define success. If you define it as a lot of money in the bank that's okay. However, it becomes a problem when it becomes a danger to your health and takes away from your larger goal, which might be spending more time with your loved ones.
The important thing is to define yourself on your own terms. Find your own worthiness based on your core values and what's important to you in life. Don't allow the neat little box to tempt you into pushing harder or being "better" in an effort to prove that you're worthy of good things in life. Allow yourself to be worthy just how you are without any additions or definitions. When you start doing this you'll notice meeting goals, getting healthier, and feeling less stressed becomes a natural way of being. There is no force, just acceptance. Which is the true definition of self-worth and self-love.
Are you looking for ways to calm your body and mind? You can find them in my e-book Listening to Your Gut: Connect With Your Body and Get IBS Relief
More advice on how to be happy from YourTango: