“The better you feel about yourself, the less you feel the need to show off.” ~Robert Hand
Do you remember the first time you were gripped by fear? Maybe it was wanting the perfect score on a test? Maybe it was vying for a promotion and thinking you were not good enough? Regardless of what the scene was, maybe you felt like if you didn’t do XYZ perfectly, then you were worthless.
For years, I strove to be the best. From wanting to be in the popular crowd in school to wanting to achieve the top spot in my chosen field. Each time I added something to my list of achievements, I felt a surge of worthiness. I felt good about myself…. the cycle of tying my worth to my achievements had started.
As I look back on my high school years, from my teen pregnancy on, I felt unworthy. Unworthy of love. Unworthy of the promotion. Never measuring up despite the positive accomplishments in my life. Then the years in my addiction caused more feelings of unworthiness.
When I got clean, I was forced to redefine my idea of self-worth. I realized chasing my worth based on one accomplishment after another was making me miserable. The truth was I was caught in the comparison game. I had to learn I am worthy simply because I exist, and nothing more.
Do you want to overcome the need to base your worth on accomplishments? Here are so tips to help you:
1. Make a list of all the things you love about yourself be sure they have nothing to do with an achievement.
Silly? Hard? Absolutely! The first time I did this, nothing came to mind except my accomplishments.
Slowly, I embraced the fact I love how giving I am. I’m compassionate and sensitive, which I love about myself. I’m a good listener. The list keeps flowing as I sit and reflect.
Having a hard time? Ask your loved ones or a few close friends to tell you what they love about you. It is a wonderful way to remind you; you are more than what you do.
2. Redefine your idea of success.
How did you feel the last time you perused social media and saw your friends accomplishing seemingly great things in their life. They looked successful, and I felt unsuccessful as a retired social worker with my own business.
So what does a successful life look like to me? For me, a successful life is spending the day doing things I love. Having loving relationships. It would be making a positive impact, however small, in the life of others. It isn’t all about the money.
Guess what I realized? My life is already a success. I spend my days working for myself and making a difference in the lives of others. I have wonderful loving relationships.
When you are gripped with unworthiness, ask yourself what success would look like to you, and you alone. Are there ways you’re already living a successful life, based on your own definition? The answer might surprise you.
3. Practice unconditional self-love.
Do you know what dogs (or cats) and babies have in common? They don’t have to do a single thing to deserve our love or be worthy of our love. They don’t try to prove themselves to us. We love them unconditionally simply because they exist. So what if we applied the same principal to ourselves? What if we didn’t have to do anything or prove anything to be worthy of self- love? What if we deserved unconditional love, just like our pets or our children?
Practice extending unconditional love to yourself by forgiving yourself when you’re not perfect, and recognizing you deserve love no matter what you achieve.
Letting go of perfectionism isn’t easy. We are a work in progress. Stifling the need to base our worth on external validation is a continual process. But, with time, we can begin to shed our layers of conditioning that taught us we are not worthy, and see ourselves for the beautifully deserving beings we are.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!