Vibrantly healthy and successful people have a sense of self worth. This self love or self-esteem is the notion that we are valuable and deserving of success, love, and respect. It’s a soft feeling of easy nurturance and caring for oneself.
Our childhood experiences play a part in what we think we are worth. If our parents had low self image, they modeled this, and soon we too felt we weren’t good enough. If we were bullied or mistreated, if our boundaries weren’t respected, if expectations were too high for our developmental level, if we were in a stressed environment, (and the list goes on) we began to believe something was wrong with us. When this happens, we can come to believe that we deserve the mistreatment and then perpetuate the belief by unconsciously choosing people and situations that continue to mistreat us.
So I am here to tell you, if you are stuck in a cycle where deep down inside you secretly know you are not good enough or worthy of good things, that deep down you aren’t like other people because you are flawed, I am here to tell you you are mistaken. It just doesn’t work that way. Life is a dance between what we are and what we can be. It’s time for you to take matters into your own hands. I challenge you to increase your self worth.
The reason it’s called self worth is because you determine it. At the end of the day, you are the one that gets to decide if you deserve respect and love…and then give it to yourself. Still, if it’s helpful in any way, let me affirm for you, just by being here on this blue turning ball in the stars: You deserve friends who are good listeners and want you to be the best you can be. You deserve to eat healthy, vibrant food that makes your body feel good. You deserve love. You deserve to have your needs met. You deserve to feel safe. You deserve to feel nourished and healthy and alive. You deserve to feel good about your body and your sexuality and the way you look.
How we value and feel about ourselves affects every area of our lives: relationships, careers, parenting, and our own self-care and health. It’s powerful because it’s often unconscious and unexamined. In other words, it has an influence even when you’re not aware that your self worth is playing a part.
Self worth comes across in our body language, the way we communicate and the way we carry ourselves. It plays a part in all the choices we make, who we date or choose as a partner, the goals we set or the dreams we let go.
If we suspect our self worth could use a little work, what next? Increasing self worth begins when you take an interest in yourself when you bring awareness to the story you tell yourself about yourself. Become curious about what it really means to love yourself.
Suzanne E. Harrill is a writer and licensed counselor who has created a self esteem quiz. It’s not meant to be a precise test, think of it as a great starting point to identify areas you can strengthen. You can even use the questions as affirmations to build the muscle of self worth. See the quiz below.
Whether you take the time to check it out or not…either way your self worth has a huge effect on your life. For some it may take a leap of faith, awkwardly saying affirmations, that at first, aren’t even believed. If you fall into this category, push through, go through the motions until you do believe in yourself. Please have the courage to be imperfect and love yourself anyway. You deserve it.
To use the Harrill Self-Esteem Inventory, simply rate yourself on each of the 25 questions with a scale of 0 to 4 based on your current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors:
0 = I never think, feel or behave this way,
1 = I do this less than half the time,
2 = I do this 50% of the time,
3 = I do this more than half the time, and
4 = I always think, feel, or behave this way.
Once you’ve completed the quiz, total your score, reflect on your results, and consider actions you could take to improve your self-esteem. Keep your results safe and complete the activity again in the future, looking to see where you’ve improved. Repeat the process as you continue to develop.
The Harrill Self-Esteem Quiz
- I like and accept myself as I am right now, today, even as I grow and evolve.
- I am worthy simply for who I am, not what I do. I do not have to earn my worthiness.
- I get my needs met before meeting the wants of others. I balance my needs with those of my partner and family.
- I easily release negative feelings from others’ judgments and focus instead on living my life with integrity and to the best of my abilities.
- I always tell myself the truth about what I am feeling.
- I am incomparable and stop comparing myself with other people.
- I feel of equal value to other people, regardless of my performance, looks, IQ, achievements, or possessions.
- I am my own authority. I make decisions with the intention of furthering my own and others’ best interests.
- I learn and grow from my mistakes rather than deny them or use them to confirm my unworthiness.
- I stop my critical self-talk and replace it with a nurturing, kind, encouraging voice.
- I love, respect, and honor myself.
- I am not responsible for anyone else’s actions, needs, choices, thoughts, moods, or feelings, only for my own.
- I do not dominate others or allow others to dominate me.
- I have good physical and emotional boundaries with others.
- I feel my own feelings and think my own thoughts, even when those around me think or feel differently.
- I stop using “shoulds” and “oughts,” which are value judgments that put me or another down. (It is irrelevant what I should have done or should do. It is more important to know what I am willing to do and not do.)
- I am responsible for changing what I do not like in my life. I face my problems, fears, and insecurities and take appropriate steps to heal and grow.
- I am a person of my word and follow through on the things I commit to do.
- I forgive myself and others for making mistakes and being unaware.
- I believe my life counts. I find meaning and have a purpose in my life.
- I deserve love and happiness even when others blame or criticize me, for I cannot control what others think about me.
- I take care of myself on all levels: physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
- I spend quality time with myself on a regular basis.
- I release unreal expectations for myself and others.
- I choose to love and respect all human beings regardless of their beliefs and actions; some I have a personal relationship with and most I do not.