After taking off the month of July from Minimalist Beauty, the topic of self worth just kept popping up over and over for me. How we see ourselves is much more valuable than how others view us. I honestly can’t imagine anyone on this planet not having experienced trauma in life in some form or another. The experience of living has the duality of both good and bad. When you take the time to heal past traumas, and begin to redefine yourself from a loving and empowered perspective, the world opens up to you in unimaginable ways!
So often we define our self worth based upon our romantic or other relationships, education, job status, income, and appearance.
For the first time in my life I actually understand what true self worth is on a much deeper level. I am sure that I still have an infinite amount more to understand, yet I can feel a dramatic shift in how I see myself and others. Self worth actually has nothing to do with relationships, education, income, or appearance. Yet all of those can have a serious positive or negative effect upon our self worth.
Growing up in a family where education and achievement was of supreme importance, I learned to define myself and my value based on academic achievements and recognition. As young professional, I based my self worth upon what prestigious jobs I was booking as a dancer. Being rewarded and acknowledged translated to being valuable, which was not my true self worth although I believed it to be.
I didn’t understand that I was truly valuable just for being.
Being a kind and loving soul to myself and others was more than enough in life. Also having experienced my own traumas in the past, I had a very low self esteem which was only empowered through achievement. I honestly believed my value was based on my talent, achievement, and intelligence. I wanted to share with you four paradigms that truly helped me to cultivate more and more self worth over time.
1. Setting Boundaries Creates Respect
If you are truly honest with yourself, you know when something feels good or feels bad. There is nothing more empowering than saying “no” to others’ demands upon your time and your energy. If you are a compassionate person, you will naturally want to help others and give positive and loving energy to those around you. At the same time, giving loving energy is not possible if you are completely worn out and self neglected. Finding the balance of how much to give to others and when to refuel yourself is vastly different for everyone.
What has been surprisingly fascinating for me is how much others will respect you for being honest and setting boundaries.
If you need to rejuvenate, and would be doing something for someone else with resentment, you are automatically out of alignment with your own best interest. There is nothing wrong with a loving “no”! We naturally have more respect for others and ourselves when we make choices for the best of everyone involved including ourselves. This also builds more confidence.
2. Obligation Is Unnecessary
Obligation is defined as “an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment. A debt of gratitude for a service or favor.” Everything about this word feels kind of yucky to me simply because it withholds the power of joyfully choosing to do something or not.
Obligation seems to have an emotional tie with guilt which I consider unhealthy.
With everything in life there are consequences even on the smallest level just like pushing snooze on the alarm clock in the morning. I am not suggesting illegal behavior of any kind. When I speak of obligation here, it has more to do with commitments that are no longer feeling good, and not giving up your own best interest to serve someone or something else.
While decluttering my home, I learned that it is just as important to let go of unnessesary possessions as it is negative relationships, time and energy draining organizations, and any unnessesary items listed on the to-do list which are really not that important. Discernment with how and whom we spend our time and energy definitely enhances self worth.
3. Releasing Vices Is Intensely Empowering
If you push down your negative feelings obsessively in excess with foods, shopping, alcohol, drugs, sex, television watching, and other vices, your body will store these negative emotions, and your self image will be grotesquely distorted. Now this topic is most likely a book in itself, but is still one worth addressing. Life isn’t always kind.
I completely understand using substances and behaviors to “deal” with life, yet I no longer see vices as very helpful and definitely not empowering.
My two vices used to be sugar and shopping. My first dance job was such a disappointment that at that time I would eat a box of shortbread cookies a day to “lift” my spirits. I would also call them crackers since I was in denial about my coping behavior. I gained a bit more self worth when I left that job, and much later released my addition to sugar. For years and years later I was a compulsive shopaholic. I’d achieve a false and very temporary “high” in life by spending any free moment at the mall. I wracked up a hearty amount of consumer debt in the process which I later paid off and shared how.
It wasn’t until I started taking full responsibility for myself and my life that I started embarking upon the minimalist lifestyle in 2010. What started as a minimal lifestyle journey evolved into truly conscious living. I began looking at everything in my life and clearing out the mess which wasn’t serving me.
I also really began doing healing work on my emotional body and facing past traumas. It wasn’t a pretty sight, and it was an extremely personal process. I intensely felt and released so much stored pain of the past that I literally thought I would die. It isn’t fun facing our “demons”, yet the amount of Angels that come to your side during the process is immensely healing. There is nothing more empowering than facing negative emotions and experiences of the past while releasing the vices that keep your self image poor.
4. Healing Through The Arts
I have been extremely blessed to have dance as a creative expression and healing tool. I can’t tell you how many “therapy sessions” I have had on the dance floor. I am not just speaking of dancing solely in actual classes or performances, but when I danced myself to tears in the privacy of my apartment until I literally fell lifeless on the floor. Those moments weren’t about creating choreography or making up new freestyle moves, but for pure healing. Since we can unconsciously store pain in our bodies, dancing can help shake up this pain and release it.
Art and expression are vital in life for survival and healing. The world news and energy has been very upsetting lately, and seeing my favorite musical artist Amel Larrieux live in concert this past July was absolutely amazing. Saturating your life with as much art as possible naturally raises your vibration. Art, not technology alone, has been the foundation of every civilization that has ever existed.
It is not about being the best, or even sharing and displaying your art. Expression is a gift that you give to yourself.
It is something that making the time for will reward you in every area of your life. For some we do make it a career, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it too. Write, draw, paint, knit, sew, design, sing, play music, dance, anything to express the beauty that is within you, and to release any pain that is a life lesson of the past. Healing through the arts assists us to move on to the life we truly desire.
Cultivate, Cultivate, Cultivate
Looking presentable will make you feel good when you start your day. Having a good job with a secure income will make you feel safe in that you will have your necessary needs met. Feeling truly loved by another eliminates loneliness and is emotionally supportive. Educating yourself on topics that interest and inspire you feels incredible. These things are all very important in life.
What I’ve discovered is that developing a true sense of self worth allows living to be an empowering and much more enjoyable experience. I stopped worrying as much about what others think of me, and have focused primarily on what I think and feel about myself. Self worth is cultivated and nurtured. Having a truly honest sense of self worth also attracts more beauty, love, and abundance into your life. These four paradigms that I’ve shared today along with prayer and meditation have helped me tremendously to create more and more self worth every day.
How do you cultivate true self worth?
(Image by Dawn Michelle)