Category Archives: Personal Development

Self-Worth

Read time: <7 minutes

Self-worth is the first topic that jumped out in my head after thinking about what to post on here next. I hope to explore questions such as:

  • What is self worth?
  • Where does self-worth come from?
  • How to increase self-worth to OVER 9000 and maintain a true, unshakable sense of self-worth (it’s easier than you think!)

First, let’s tackle what self-worth is. Just googling “self-worth” and the first thing that comes up is: “In sociology and psychology, selfesteem reflects a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self.” I agree with the second part but I see the first part as being way off. I do not see self-esteem as being a reflection of self-worth. I see them as two very different things and just because you have high self-esteem does not necessarily mean you have high self-worth. I want to differentiate between self-esteem and self-worth as I see a lot of people thinking the two terms are one and the same and I see them as quite different.  I see self-worth as a person’s inherent view of themselves, basically how much they value their worth as a person whereas self-esteem is confidence in your abilities which is more extrinsic in nature. Society places a high value on achievements and this extrinsic factor while I believe having a high intrinsic self-worth is better.

In order to talk about where I believe self-worth comes from, it may be easier to first question some common places which people attribute to adding to self-worth.

Does true self-worth come from looks? Oh hell no! And for several reasons. First of all you can’t control your looks besides expensive plastic surgery, and even then your looks WILL eventually fade. If you base your self-worth on how attractive you are, what happens when you are 60+ years old and you lose your attractiveness? Also by basing your self-worth on something you are born with and that is an extrinsic factor, you are basically always comparing yourself to others to maintain your self-worth. What happens when someone comes along that is more attractive than you, which will happen! Even if you are labeled the most attractive person on the planet, that is only a temporary title, you cannot hold onto it forever. By basing your self-worth on something that is outside of your control, extrinsic in nature, and will eventually fade; you are setting yourself up for eventual misery down the road and at the very least, ultimately questioning your self-worth.

Does true self-worth come from your physique? Again, no and I will explain how this differs from looks. Your physique is similar to looks except you have more control over this through proper exercise and nutrition. Looks is your physical level of attraction and physique contributes to this because you can have an amazing body but still be “ugly” according to society’s standards. Again, while it may be a boost to your self-esteem to be disciplined enough to maintain an amazing body, what happens if you “let yourself go”? For any number of reasons; physical injury, sickness, thyroid issues, laziness, depression, age, etc you can lose your figure to any number of reasons. Again, if your self-worth is partly or mostly made up of something extrinsic such as physique, it can all be taken away at any moment.

Does true self-worth come from your talents and abilities? Again no and no! Let’s say you are an amazing piano player naturally. You practice and practice and become one of the best players in the world. By basing your self-worth on extrinsic factors like your piano playing ability, you could lose it all at any moment. This even happened to someone I know. She was an incredible organist but then got a hand issue at a young age which caused her to pretty much lose her ability to play; at the very least severely hamper/limit her current and future ability. This has happened to others as well like sports players who get injured. If they based their self-worth on their abilities, what do you think happened to it once they lost that ability in an instant? Also you are again comparing yourself to others. Even Michael Phelps loses and someone will eventually break his records in everything given enough time.

I feel as if I’m beating a dead horse some, but basically I can name any external factor that people base their self-worth upon and eliminate it because of its extrinsic nature. Money/possessions, relationships, even beliefs and accomplishments can all be taken away at any time and should not be the basis of our self-worth.

If self-worth should not be made up of any of these things, then what CAN self-worth be attributed to? How can we maintain an unshakable level of self-worth despite what happens to us?

The answer comes from within. There is one thing that every single person is best at being in the entire world. The answer is being ourselves. Being our true selves. No one is better at being ourselves than we are. Finding what interests us and makes us happy and being true to ourselves cannot be taken away. Even if someone thinks another person’s interests or quirks makes them weird or uncool or is bad, that is merely an opinion and criticism. It doesn’t change who they are. Discovering and living as our authentic selves and being the best version of ourselves make up our self-worth. It doesn’t compare to anyone else because there will ALWAYS be someone “better” in some way. This is why our self-worth must come from within and from being our true selves, because nothing can take that away from us.

When we stop comparing ourselves to others, we can live as who we truly are and can become the best we can be. No one is better at being themselves. The hardest part in this process is discovering what it means to be true to ourselves and living a life that reflects our most authentic self without reservation. This is no easy task and the vast majority will never experience living with 100% authenticity. We let what others say affect us and influence our decisions.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think having a high self-esteem is a bad thing. It is perfectly fine to be confident with ones’ abilities and achievements and to regard of themselves highly. It’s when we place this false sense of confidence (which can be taken away at any time) as being more important than being true to ourselves is when we have a problem. When we care more about what others’ think, when we change who we are due to someone else’s opinions, when we don’t take our own selves into consideration first, we experience a low sense of self-worth and all the issues that comes with it.

Only you know what makes you truly happy. As long as this happiness doesn’t involve hurting others or taking from them, you should be happy to pursue your interests to the fullest. Once your own needs are met, you are in a much better position to help other people get their needs fulfilled. There is nothing we want more than to get our needs fulfilled and to help others get their needs fulfilled.

So to wrap up, how do we obtain a high sense of unshakable self-worth? Live as your most authentic self. Only you know who that person is. Stop comparing yourself to other people and don’t allow their opinions and criticisms to affect you. Be the best version of yourself you can be. True self-worth comes from within and is not based on anything you can DO. It is based upon BEING. Living every day in the present moment and simply being the person you want to be. That is all any of us can ask. Just because we aren’t a world record holder or gold medalist doesn’t make us any less of a human. Simply being and having a positive impact on the tiny slice of the world that we experience each and every day is enough.

Nonviolent Communication

I want to give a shout out to Michael Collins for sharing this content with me. It has already impacted my life in a hugely positive way in less than 2 weeks time!

I recently watched this 3 hour workshop on nonviolent communication and, wow, what insights have been had through this way of communicating with people. It basically boils things down to all humans have feelings and needs and are simply trying to get them fulfilled. All human beings are ever saying is “please” and “thank you”. Our language and way of thinking has distorted this simple concept in a twisted way. Everyday we could be playing a game called “make life wonderful”, but instead we are taught to play “who is right”. We value being right over being happy and that can be seen in the way we judge others and in our system of rewards and punishments. We reward those who are “right” and punish those who are “wrong”. This is the most ridiculous way of expressing and fulfilling our needs, yet we play this game every single day.

NVC is based on the assumption that people naturally like to give because it makes them feel good. I tend to believe this is true, although in extreme cases like with a psychopath it may not be so. When our needs are fulfilled, there is nothing more that we enjoy than giving freely. The reality is that most people are not getting all or even most of their needs fulfilled and it goes back to playing the game of “who is right” instead of “make life wonderful”.

If I’m being honest, pretty much all of my needs are being fulfilled at the moment. All I can think about is how I want to help others in some way. Whenever I see people lash out or act “negatively” in some manner, all I can see is that their needs aren’t being fulfilled in some way. Anytime you have a conflict or argument with someone, ask yourself if you are playing the game “who is right” instead of “make life wonderful”. More often than not, we evaluate and judge every situation we are in instead of simply observing. We place our moralistic judgments above our needs and the needs of those around us. Every single interaction you have with any person each and every day is a chance to “make life wonderful” for both parties. Every single small interaction you have with strangers or loved ones is a chance to make a difference in their lives. Every interaction is a huge opportunity to be able to get both needs fulfilled in some way. It’s not guaranteed, and in fact, the way we are taught it’s usually win-lose or even lose-lose; but every single interaction with another human is a chance for it to be win-win in some way, even if you are unable to fulfill that person’s need, even helping them see what their need is and that you can empathize with them is a huge win.

I’m going to go off on a tangent, but NVC has helped me see some of these issues more clearly when focusing on feelings and needs. I used to have really bad anger issues. I can now see a huge part of this was having an inflated ego, but also placing being right above all else. I wanted to be right more than I wanted to be happy and only now can I see how miserable I really was. When people would cut me off in traffic I would get hugely offended and pissed off and take it personally. The thing is, humans are imperfect. We all make mistakes, small and big. When you can see each situation for what it really is, it takes out the anger and negative emotion and being personally hurt. The person cut me off for whatever reason, whether they misjudged, are in a hurry, are a bad driver, or countless other reasons – it doesn’t really matter. The situation happened and passed and there is nothing I can do to change what happened. That is fact. All that’s left is how I react. And now, instead of reacting with anger or getting hurt, I say to myself, “that happened (for whatever reason), but it’s ok”. This doesn’t necessarily relate to the nonviolent communication, but it has helped me to see situations for what they truly are and to boil everything down to feelings and needs.

Another thing it has helped me to see clearly is how every single human interaction we have with others is really a reflection on us. Our actions show us what kind of person we truly are. I used to be “a person who gets angry when getting cut off in traffic”. I have made a conscious decision to no longer identify as that person. How often do people get upset or feel the need to be right or place their ego above all else? How many times have you seen a person get mad at a fast food worker when their order is wrong or at a customer service rep on the phone? You are essentially saying “I am a person who gets mad at low level employees and things out of my control”. I can think of countless situations where people make a choice to act a certain way, but it really is a reflection of themselves.

This used to be who I identified as:

  • I am a person who gets mad or upset when others are wrong and I am right
  • I am a person who gets mad or upset when others don’t agree with me
  • I am a person who gets mad or upset when things don’t go MY way
  • I am a person who places being right over being happy

Notice all of these identities are through my own thoughts and actions. My choices make up who I am as a person. Every single day I have a choice to identify as the above person but instead I have chosen to shift my identity to:

  • I am a person who places the happiness and needs of myself and others above all else
  • I am a person who doesn’t judge others, even if I don’t agree with them
  • I am a person who doesn’t react to “bad” situations or when things don’t go my way because I will eventually find a way to get my needs fulfilled
  • I am a person who is not dependent on a single outcome and can see the bigger picture

Keep in mind again, WE decide and identify with the kind of person we truly are. Not other people. I don’t care if someone spits in your face (Atticus Finch is a fucking bad ass!) or wrongs you in some way, how you react to the situation is still up to you and you are choosing to identify with the person you are. Here are some examples maybe some people can relate to:

  • I am a person who yells at their kids or gets upset when they don’t do what I want.
  • I am a person who argues with other people (or even partner!) because I think will be able to change them
  • I am a person who takes things personally when someone else judges or criticizes me
  • I am a person who judges and criticizes others

We choose to be the people we identify as through our thoughts and actions. Things will happen to us both good and bad, and there will be nothing we can do to change what happened. All we can control is how we will react to what happened and that will determine the kind of person we are.

Went off on a bit of a tangent, but NVC has helped me to see the world and people for what they truly are. We all have feelings and needs and are just trying to get them fulfilled. When you simplify things in such a manner, it makes getting everyone’s needs fulfilled so much easier. Everyday we have the power to “make life wonderful” and I hope we all will choose to do so.

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times

I want to talk about how I recently flip-flopped on an issue that I had held strongly for many years.  I used to get upset with people who complain about their lives or their problems in general.  I would declare that we live in the best time in all of human history, and have it amazing compared to generations past. Running water, anesthetics, literally all of human knowledge in our pockets – we indeed live in an amazing time.  I used to compare how humans used to have to plow the field all day and pray the crops would survive so they could feed themselves.  People toiled all day to barely survive.  Before that, in the medieval days, people couldn’t even own land/real estate.  It all belonged to the king. There was no way you would ever get rich unless you were born into it.

I would compare our modern day “paradise” to those difficult days and get pissed about how anyone could complain about their lives.  Even poor people in the US can get food stamps to survive, section 8 housing assistance, and still have modern day comforts.  Why are these people unhappy and complaining?  Why why why?? I would ask myself and get upset over this and feel right on this issue.

I recently “flip-flopped” on this issue and feel that we actually live in a very difficult era, just difficult in a different way. Instead of struggling to survive, people are struggling to find purpose in their lives. Surviving is quite basic, similar to animals. Finding meaning and purpose and achieving self-actualization; these are more advanced tasks that require significantly more effort and brain power.

The problem is most people are average.  Think back to stats in college at the standard bell curve. The vast majority are quite ordinary people, yet we now have the ability to see the absolute best humanity has to offer.  Just browse around on Youtube and you can find incredible musicians, people who engage in extreme sports, and the pinnacle of human achievement. You can find amazing artists and people making a huge impact on the world. Then you do what everyone does, you compare. You say I’ll never be able to accomplish even a fraction of what these amazing people have done, and you shut down.

It’s not just the best of the best, it’s also your peers and people you grew up with. Facebook is a true double edged sword in that it is can be an awesome tool for staying connected and a platform to lead by example. It can also be a very depressing place because everyone is putting their best versions of themselves on there, and again we compare. We tend to measure ourselves against those around us, and if we are falling behind or not achieving as much, it will bring us down.

There is so much distraction in the modern world; endless entertainment – access to every TV show, movie, music, ever created.  Video games, junk food, modern day comforts and a society that demands everything at a moments notice.  What people have forgotten is the process.  It takes a lot of time and effort to become good at something. People tend to forget this in our instant everything world and will give up when they don’t see immediate results. We all want everything right now, whether that is the miracle diet pill, get rich quick scheme, or perfect relationship.

This deux ex machina event is very unlikely to happen, and even when it does, we throw it away. Look at past lottery winners and most of them have pissed away millions of dollars in an extremely short time. Find that perfect partner without accepting yourself, and you will quickly alienate them as you will feel there must be something wrong with them for being attracted to you, when you don’t accept yourself completely or put in the work to be a person of value.

So with all this going on around us, most people are just stuck. Whether that is analysis paralysis in trying to find their “passion” (when many studies have shown that passion only comes AFTER proficiency at something – check out Cal Newport’s writings) fear of failure, or just plain laziness and being too comfortable living in mom’s basement, I have indeed changed my mindset on this issue.  Nowadays people have it way harder than in the past.  Those were “simple” times. Keep your nose down, get the work done and don’t question authority. Nowadays people have endless options for what to do with their lives and access to all of human knowledge to achieve it. So if people have all the information and generally want to make something of themselves, why do most people fail to achieve their hopes and dreams?

A big part is, like I mentioned earlier, fear. Albeit irrational fear, but we are conditioned at a young age that failure is a bad thing, when we should be seeing it as a learning experience. Another big part of it is people don’t realize that it takes time to learn a skill, improve yourself, or change your mindset. It’s the little actions everyday that add up to the final product years later. If people were to read just 10 pages a day of a life-changing book, after 1 year that would be 3650 pages. That would likely be over 10 books of life-changing, reality-shattering, mind-blowing information. 10 pages a day. That is NOTHING. Yet most won’t do it. It’s the little things daily and creating good habits that will help people get on the path of achieving their goals.  There is no instant result for this in our current society who worships getting everything now now now.

Worthiness

I have made a goal to write way more often and just want to improve my writing in general as well as get into the habit of writing.  I’m shooting for 25 min per day minimum and also plan on incorporating the Pomodoro method into my life to increase my productivity.  I’m not sure how I will have enough topics to write about, but I am planning to pump them out, whatever topic they may be.  I understand the articles may be a bit unorganized and scatterbrained, but since I am just writing on the fly, I hope I can maintain some sort of structure.

Today I wanted to talk about worthiness.  I honestly feel that a lot of people do not meet various goals in their lives because they feel unworthy of achieving them.  Let’s start with one of the biggest desires and wants people have – the desire for more money.  Ask literally anyone on the street if they’d accept 100k right there on the spot with no strings attached, and I’d say everyone would say yes.

The problem is that while pretty much everyone wants more money, they couldn’t handle a large sum like that and would most likely spend it.  Deep down they would feel unworthy and undeserving of the money, and would spend it all to return to homeostasis.  Generally speaking, the more money you have, the more VALUE you have provided to the world.  Simply looking at jobs, there’s a reason why doctors and engineers make more money than cashiers and floor sweepers – they are providing a more valuable skill to the world and are thus worthy of greater compensation.  The same can be said about the richest people in the world.  They have provided a valuable product or service that has helped millions of people in some way.  Whether that’s writing books about a teenage wizard, developing a software company, or creating a social platform online; these billionaires are worthy of their riches.  They have given an insane amount of value to millions upon millions of people the world over.

Do you think the cashier who lives in mom’s basement and plays games all day feels truly worthy and deserving of a large sum of money?  Even if he were to win the lottery, do you think he would be able to hold on to, or even increase his winnings?  Highly doubtful as he would not feel worthy of the money and would do whatever means necessary (spend it) to revert back to the status quo.

The same can be said about relationships.  Let’s say you are someone who is very socially anxious, and has never had a girlfriend.  Again, you stay in your parents basement playing games day and night, are extremely overweight and are mildly depressed. Let’s say an amazing person somehow drops into your lap, is drop-dead gorgeous, fun to be around, amazing personality, the total package, and this person falls madly in love with you.  Even if you go along with it at first, eventually you would think to yourself, “why does this person love me?” You would begin to question their love because you would feel unworthy of it.  You have nothing to offer them.  Nothing of value.  You would eventually either directly or sub-consciously sabotage the relationship because you would feel unworthy of this person.

Most people want to blame someone or something else for their problems.  They blame their parents, society, the government, the media, being bullied or abused at a young age, growing up poor, and on and on.  While most people do have some skeletons in the closet, the key is total acceptance

When it comes to feeling worthy of any of our wants and desires, we must first and foremost be completely accepting of ourselves.  If we do not love ourselves fully and without reservation, how can we expect anyone else to do likewise? Even if you are not your ideal self now, you must be fully accepting of who you are, where you are in life, and have a positive vision of your life for the future. You must let go of the past and accept where you are in this present moment.  Just by making the decision to take full responsibility of your life situation, you will be in the position to better your life.

I know it’s way easier said than done. It’s incredibly difficult to get over your personal issues and most people never fully will. The thing you need to understand is that you are worthy of love, if you can come to love yourself. Striving to be the best version of yourself will put you in a better mindset to feel worthy of accepting all the things you want in life.  For people to achieve the goals in their lives, a huge part of that is having the proper mindset in order to do so.  Mindset is key.  Having the right mindset can pull you from your bootstraps out of a life of misery, but that is a deeper topic for another day.

TAN: For now, just get in the habit of practicing daily affirmations.  Look into the mirror and tell yourself, “I am worthy of love, and I accept myself where I am at completely.”  I know it sounds a bit silly, but by doing this you will start to change the negative thought patterns that go through your head.  What we tell ourselves whether out loud or in our heads is incredibly important.  The universe is completely unbiased; whether you fill your subconscious with positive or negative thoughts, they will literally create the reality you live in and I have seen it in my own life and others directly. This is not some new age frou frou crap. This is a fact and I can point to countless real-life examples. Your thoughts are incredibly powerful.  Once you begin to shift your mindset, you will get to the point will you will feel worthy of receiving your greatest desires.  And you will attract them into your life.

Simple not Easy

Read time: <2 min

Life is simple but far from easy.  Pretty much any and every issue you can think about is actually very very simple.

Take health for example.  If you were to go up to any person on the street with two plates, one with a big mac and the other with broccoli and ask which is healthier – if people were being honest, every single person would say broccoli.  If you were to ask people which is healthier – sitting on the couch watching netflix or *insert literally any form of exercise here* (walking, running, lifting weights, cycling, sports, on and on and on) which would they answer?  Is smoking healthy?  Is drinking excessively healthy?  These are very simple answers, yet difficult for the vast majority of people to act on.

Let’s move on to money.  Folks – it’s so fucking simple I don’t know why I need to type it out.  I could spout countless examples like buying clothes retail, leasing a brand new car, buying that big screen tv so you can sit on your ass all day and eat doritos and watch netflix, how many god damn pairs of shoes do you need??? People know they should be saving instead of spending.  It’s common sense.  It’s freaking so simple yet far from easy.

Now relationships. Ironically people would have much better relationships if they worked on themselves first.  Guys you want to find a girlfriend/wife/fuck buddy?  Quit sitting on your ass playing video games all day and improve yourself.  Family problems?  See the patterns that have been established, get over your damn ego and work on the root of the problems.  This realm can be a tad more complex, but it oftentimes comes down to yourself – because there’s only one thing we have complete control of in this world.

Everyone knows what they should and should not be doing to improve their lives.  The hard part is getting off your ass and doing the things that will make your life better.

Take Action Now: Think about one thing in your life that you want to change. Realize how simple it really is and start taking steps to improve that area of your life.  We all know what we “should” be doing.  Get an accountability partner.  The support you give each other can be just the push you need to get started and continue down the path of self-improvement.  The hardest part is getting started and sticking to it.  Try a 30 day trial. You have to actually want to change and be willing to put in the work to accomplish your goals. If you are struggling with something feel free to send me a message and I will support you in any way I can. 🙂