Intrinsic Self-Worth

15 min reading time

What are the core life lessons and patterns you’ve found exist in your life?  We all have them and the themes can vary from setting boundaries to forgiveness to greed, but it all seems to stem from the common matter of self-worth. These patterns and core lessons will reveal themselves throughout our lives. Our job is to have the awareness of those patterns and core lessons. Regardless of the lessons, as we work through the patterns with accountability and compassion, the end result will ultimately bring intrinsic self-worth. Intrinsic self-worth is realized when we value who we are without requiring external validation from anything or anyone other than ourselves.  Many of us derive value from external material and social standards; the success of our career, the size of our home, the cars we drive, the watch we wear, or on a more basic level, how well we fit in and are accepted by others.  
It’s indoctrinated in our culture to look outward for validation of our work, our appearance and how we fit into groups and societal norms. Oftentimes, it’s from within our own families where we exceedingly seek this approval. I’ve always felt like the odd ball and frankly, I still am! I’ve struggled deeply with the feeling of belonging much of my life, but the difference now is that I accept and embrace who I am and therefore no longer feel rejected by others. As I’ve healed and embraced more of myself and my identity, others follow suit; and those that continue to judge don’t take up space in my heart any longer. The sense of judgment or rejection is no longer a personal problem. I view it as a limitation of others to accept themselves.  
Of course it’s a wonderful feeling to receive acceptance and praise, especially when we’ve worked hard on a project or made herculean efforts in an area of our lives. But what I’ve discovered is that it’s more important to give that praise and validation or acceptance to ourselves, than it is to receive it from others.  

Self-reflection is vital, but when we allow our self-worth to come from external sources, we will inevitably continue to live with a hole that continuously needs filling.  When we take risks and put ourselves “out there” we need to be okay with one person or a hundred people in the audience. 
The goal is to be neutral, but more importantly to not define ourselves or derive value from any outcome. As long as we’re coming from a place of authenticity and love, the outcome is not the ultimate goal, but the life lessons learned along the journey. Aspirations and goals are important, but they will not serve us if we place our value solely on the outcomes. 
Though I’ve come a long way, I’ve still not mastered intrinsic self-worth.  But I’m aware when I seek or crave outward validation, and can catch myself when I’m putting my value or worth in another’s hands or define myself by an external outcome.  This awareness doesn’t come from a place of arrogance or an inability to self-reflect; it comes from a place of self-acceptance and self-love. 
The few people I know who have mastered intrinsic self-worth are not focused on a specific outcome and don’t need validation from others regarding their worth or the work they produce. They take authentic action from their heart and let go of the outcome.  

Maybe you’re not that ambitious and don’t feel the need to strive towards intrinsic self-worth. But just start to notice when you give away your power to others’ opinions or allow yourself to be defined by external input. A more heart-felt way to live is to be in alignment with what feels right for you, always keeping an eye on what is coming from fear and what is coming from love, surrendering the need to be validated. 
In my experience, there is nothing more powerful than prayer.  Pray to Love, pray to the Universe, pray to nature, pray to God. Whatever your belief system, allow yourself to be aware and guided to deeper self-acceptance and intrinsic self-worth. It is the best gift you can model for your children, everyone around you and most importantly, yourself.

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