Determining Our Self Worth

I often think about the concept of self-worth. How do we create our self-worth? The respect we carry for ourselves and our capabilities. Each and every one of us is talented, inherently gifted in different ways. Yet, we often become obsessed comparing ourselves to others. Looking to external outlets for recognition. We ask others about our weight, our clothes, we ask our teacher to grade us, we look to our boss for a review. Not often enough do we ask ourselves the question. “What am I worth?” We require someone else to give us an answer. We put up a selfie or a picture on social media and wait for the likes to come in. When it passes our threshold it is a good day, any less and the picture comes down…


My question is, why are we asking everyone else for the answers we already know? Why are we relying on unstable, outside compliments instead of finding the answer from its true source – within.


Allow me to share a quick anecdote to elaborate further…


Becoming a yoga teacher was one of the most challenging experiences of my life. It was a HUGE test in self-worth. A few months after completing the training, I took my newly acquired skills and began teaching. I was getting up in front of a group of people, moving them into crazy shapes, watching the time, safely observing their bodies, coordinating the music…etc. etc. It was overwhelming!! I was new, vulnerable, and learning every day. I had my fair share of slip-ups. In a world where we are striving for perfectionism (whatever that is…) this was a big test to my ego. I had just graduated from training a few months earlier and I already started comparing myself to seasoned teachers. I began gauging the quality of my class on whether students provided good feedback at the end of a session. If no one said thank you that equaled a bad class. I was looking for outside recognition to determine my self-worth and it was not serving me well. A few weeks into this thought pattern, I began to reflect. I was looking at teaching all wrong. How “good” of a teacher I was should not be determined by comparison or the number of times people say thank you after class. I realized that if I believed in myself, then others would believe in me too. I loved teaching and I wanted to share that with the world. Soon, my perspective changed. I knew that my duty was to show up, believe in myself, and share my love for yoga. That was enough and that was all that mattered. A massive shift occurred. I walked into class with a whole new sense of self-confidence. I fell into a flow and time ran beautifully. Whether students shared feedback or scurried out of the studio after class – that did not matter. I believed in myself and it showed.

Why do we do this? Why do we look for outside recognition or comparison to define who we are? How did this start? There are many reasons, but one specifically comes to my mind. A common thread in our society is that we look outside for the answers and then try to find them on the inside. The moment we have a question in school, we expect our teacher to provide the answer. Seldom are we told to ask ourselves, to experience for ourselves and then find the answer. This is common practice in our society, looking out to find within instead of looking within and projecting out. As so eloquently stated by Carl Jung, “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”


So, the next time you start a new job, attend a new school, join a new club, move to a new town, give a public speech - anytime your self-worth is questioned, remember you are the only one with the answers. You are the one who can define who are you are and believe in yourself. No outside answers or recognition is needed. As long as you believe in yourself, so will others. Now that is truly beautiful :)