I don’t know how many of you noticed, but a lot of people don’t understand their value. They don’t believe in their capacity. They don’t feel worthy. They believe in their hearts that they can’t amount to anything better than where they are now. If you keep telling people around you that you are not that smart or capable, after you say that so many times at some point they will believe it. But imagine if you said, “I am amazing.” I am the most creative person you have ever met. Then people will see your self-worth and be curious as to why you say you are so amazing or why you declared that with confidence. Now, remember I am not saying boast around, I’m just saying be bold enough to tell people how amazing you are.
In Ethiopia, we have this tradition where we, in the name of staying humble, degrade ourselves by saying, “I am okay,” or, “I am not that good.” This will not get you where you want to be. Imagine if I walked in your office for a job interview and said, “Yeah, I am okay,” and try to be humble. You won\’t see me as anything more than mediocre. But if I walk into your office and assure you with confidence that I am capable, I will be more likely to get that job.
Have you ever met someone so confident that they believe in their capacity and their identity? One who has that “I can do it” attitude? My mother is someone like that. Ever since I was a child at home she would say, “Me? I am the most beautiful. I am the most brilliant person. I am smart. I am able. I am strong. I am incredibly made.” I would feel shy and hope nobody ever hears her say that. I never really understood what she was doing. She always declared her self-worth. And me? I used to say I am not that good; I am okay. Trying to be humble I made me look less when I knew I did well. I now realize that she never attached her worthiness to any external factors like her job, her career or the way people looked at her.
The greatest mistake we make is measuring our self-worth with the wrong measuring stick like being better than the person next to us—our physical appearance, work position, the way others see us, and so on. The dictionary defines the term “self-worth” as the sense of one’s value or worth as a person. This means it is not to be based on what you have done but on who you are. Measuring your self worth by external factors is not healthy. Your sense of self-worth should be protected. What do I mean by that? Let me give you a simple example: if you have something that you don\’t want anyone to touch in your house, would you place it on the counter table? Would you hang it on your front door? Would you put it on the floor at the corner of the room? I\’m sure you wouldn\’t. Because it is so valuable to you, you would place it somewhere hidden and safe probably at a high place where no one can see or touch it. That\’s how you should see your self-worth.
You should never let your self-worth be affected easily. If you measure your self-worth by your grades, by your physical appearance, by the number of people that admire you… you are placing that valuable object of yours on your counter table or hanging it on your front door. Am I making sense? You\’re allowing it to be affected easily. When no one admires you, you will feel like you are no longer worthy. When you\’re no longer physically in shape you will feel your self-worth hit rock bottom. Placing your self-worth in comparison to the person next to you is also not healthy. Someone might be better than we are in different ways, and vice versa.
Remember you don\’t have to be the best to feel worthy. When your self-worth is based on ego, it is solely determined by the fact that we are better than the other person and we will desperately need to maintain that position. Self-worth should be based on self-love and not ego. When it is based on self-love you will love and respect yourself enough to work for you and not to impress or to feel worthy. You will already know that you are worthy and don\’t need that approval from anyone. At this point the only person you will try to be better than is the person you were yesterday. Your self-worth is reflected by the place and position you give to yourself and not by the place and position others give you. When your self-worth is from internal sources and not affected by external things, how you feel about yourself won\’t be on a rollercoaster and you won\’t be affected by what others say about you. Whether the whole crowd is cheering or whether it is just you on that stage and no one really gets what you are doing, it won\’t affect how you feel. You won’t get into what we call self-doubt. When you always tell yourself, “I am not that good,” there will always be that self-doubt in your head yelling that you aren\’t that good. It is simple.
You need to have self-worth. You need to believe in yourself. If you don\’t, who is going to?
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