5 ways to value yourself

A man looks pensivly across the water“If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.”

This quote should serve as a warning to us all about the dangers of not valuing ourselves and of looking to others for our value. Are we a good mother because others notice we are a good mother, or because we know internally that to be true?

Valuing yourself is not conceit and it is not vanity - it is recognising that you have inherent skills, traits and personality that make you of value. It is not about being perfect either; it is about accepting that you have as many faults as you have traits to be admired.

It is only when you recognise that you have a quick temper that you can choose to do something about it; if you deny it, there can be no control. So what are their skills that can help you to value yourself and build your self-esteem?

How to start valuing yourself 

1. Stop the comparisons - we seem to be driven to compare ourselves on destructive comparisons. When on a diet, we compare ourselves to slim models. We compare ourselves to successful people and wonder why we cannot have it all. Recognise that when you accept yourself as you are it is easier to take the next step because you are not beating yourself up for what you are not, but rather encouraging yourself for what you might become.

2. Forgive yourself - we all make mistakes. Sometimes it’s a big one when we forget a birthday or something at work, and sometimes it’s a small thing and we put sugar in someone’s tea. Mistakes are part of life (indeed it might be argued that we only progress through mistakes). Yet often we will hold our mistakes against ourselves for days, months or even years afterwards. Recognise that it may have been wrong and that you may have learned something, but that continually punishing yourself is, in fact, compounding the mistake by holding you back further.

3. Look after yourself - it seems all too easy to put ourselves last when the children need something, or that report has to be finished because the boss will be mad, or the chores need doing. Yet sometimes you have to say: "Actually, I am more of a priority - I am a higher value than those things because if I am not well/rested/feeling okay then those other things that rely on me won’t get done, so I value myself enough to take time for me".

4. Connect with others - as you connect with friends and family, notice what it is they value about you and allow yourself to accept compliments. If you find that difficult, start with a simple “thank you” and feel how positive it is to have someone notice something about you. Occasionally, of course, there may be a critic, and while it is worth listening to criticism remember that it is okay to reject it if you don’t feel that it fits with the facts. It’s your choice - you are the expert on you, not them.

5. Celebrate your successes - while we are very good at celebrating our mistakes, we are less good at celebrating our successes. Yet they represent when our plans our values and our abilities have come together to create something. It is great to just remind yourself of what you have achieved.

Getting into the habit of valuing yourself helps to build self-esteem and self-worth, and both are going to help to insulate you against the emotional challenges that fall into most lives from time to time. Of course, you may feel that you need some professional help to get started, but many people will be able by taking small steps to make a big difference quite quickly because we all have it in us.

A man leans back in his chair, looking pleased with his success

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred) Counsellor

Graeme is a counsellor and author, living and working on the south side of Glasgow. In his practice, he sees a number of clients with emotional, anxiety and self-esteem that have relevance to us all. His articles are based on that experience and are offered as an opportunity to identify with, or to challenge you to make changes in your life.… Read more

Written by Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred) Counsellor

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