“Not one drop of my self-worth depends on your acceptance of me.”
– Quincy Jones-
Before I start this article, I would like you to know that you are worthy, precious, and you are and always will be enough. I hope that through these positive self-talk, you are able to incorporate them to increase your self-worth. How do we know where our self-worth comes from? Our self-worth usually comes from our identity. Identity is defined as the distinguishing character/personality of an individual. Identities are formed by many factors, both genetic and environmental. Since we were born, we acquire our identity from the groups (familial, ethnic) that we genetically belong to. Environmentally, we acquire our identity from our education, jobs, friendship groups, work groups, and so on. Your identity is also dynamic as it constantly changes. This depends on where you are or where you will be, the people you are around, your job, your values could shift, your relationship could change and they all contribute in making the person you are becoming or will grow to be. Most importantly, as your identity is also formed by what other people say about you, what they say could affect how you see the world and yourself.
If a person has a positive identity about him/herself, he or she is more likely to be adaptive, resilient, has a high level of self-efficacy (one’s belief in one’s ability to be able to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task), and is confident in facing challenges in their daily lives. They are more likely to gain more positive experiences, are more open to new challenges, and are generally happier. That sounds like the live we want to live isn’t it? However, some of us may have a negative identity. A person with a negative identity will have a low self-esteem, low self-efficacy, low resilience, low well-being, and troublesome relationship with a lot of people. What do we do when we have a negative self-identity? If we answer that we need to start appreciating ourselves more, you are on the right track. However, if our answer is, “I need to find people who can love me and respect me.” I think it is better for to start re-evaluating the answer and how it may affect you.
It is normal for a person to seek for validation from other people regarding who they are, because we are social creatures who need other people to survive. However, co-dependency is dangerous as we rely way too much on other people. We need constant validation, reassurance, and agreement from many people that we are doing the right thing, that we are beautiful/handsome, that we are good enough and on other things. If that person we seek the validation from is genuine and care for us, there should be no problem. The dangerous part is that what if the person that we seek validation from is a toxic/manipulative or even an abuser?
Consequences of low self-worth
The types of people that I mentioned above may be lurking near you. They are good at sensing people who have low self-esteem to use it to their own advantage. You could have been in a relationship with this person without realizing how dangerous he or she could be to you. As a lot of us are in pursue of a romantic relationship, are currently dating, or are even maried, I think it is important to realise how our constant need of validation from other people could attract those who want to take advantage of us by physically, sexually or emotionally abusing us. In US, 43% of dating college women reported experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviour. 94% of women in the age of 16-19 and also 70% of females in the age of 20-24 are victimised by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend. Not only that, being abused also leads to attempted suicide, putting the victims of higher risk to use substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behaviours and even further domestic violence.
These types of abuse are sometimes difficult to be recognised. One way to recognise it is that if feel that your partner, family member, or anyone around you act in a way that made you feel like you owe them which made them feel entitled to control and abuse you so you give them what you want, please avoid or limit your contact with them at all cost. Some of them may even suffer from personality disorder such as antisocial personality. Some people could not leave this toxic relationship because they feel that it is their responsibility to help their loved ones. It is an honourable intention but it is never your duty to fix them because everyone has their own responsibility to live their own life.
You’re your longest commitment
Have the courage to walk away from anyone who does not respect you. You are entitled to state your intentions that you want to change your life by starting to put boundaries with other people in financial terms, physically, emotionally and even sexually. By putting clear and distinctive boundaries such as not going to continue a relationship with anyone who does not respect you, you are allowing your inner self to recognise your own needs and to clear out all the needs of being validated by other people. You will be aware that you are able to be independent and to regain the control that you once lost. Once you are able to set out clear and distinctive boundaries, you are ready to enter a new relationship with other people. Remember to be authentic and honest with yourself, if the other person does not agree with your terms then do not give in to their demands. No one can make you feel inferior without your own consent and let us start to not give any power to anyone to determine our self-worth!
Let us know in the comment below on how do you maintain or increase your self-worth or what steps should you take to maintain or increase your self-worth.
Please share this article with your friends or families if you feel that this could help them, especially if they could be suffering from abuse.