Over the past weeks we I have covered many issues related to how to build our self worth from accepting our uniqueness, acknowledging and owning our strengths to considering the importance of our feelings. It has been a great pleasure to devote this time to such an important topic and been an absolute privilege to have so many of you following and working through the series.
If you are new to the challenge you might want to start at the beginning and work your way through the series. The very first post is linked here.
Last week in ‘Express yourself’ we explored expressing ourselves and how important it is. This week, as the last post, we are moving on to the importance of being yourself and developing the person you are.
When we value ourselves we are able to risk being the unique person we are. It is not always easy but it is so much better than the alternative. The alternative is to be what other people want from us, keeping our uniqueness small and unnoticeable. It can at times feel safer but in the long run it is exhausting and doesn’t give us what we need from our lives. This quote from Nelson Mandela sums it up for me in one sentence.
There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living
We build our sense of self over time by living our own life, experimenting, making mistakes and ultimately continuing the life long journey of learning about ourselves.
To really harness that process of growth and make it work for us, we need to discover our creativity.
In order to be ourselves we need to be creative with what we have. We are each unique and all of us bring something special to the world.
Some people are scared off by the word ‘creativity’. They don’t consider themselves creative because they associate it with being artistic. But all human beings are creative and it is not limited to writing or painting. Creativity is about bringing your unique self to the world in whatever way seems right to you.
When we allow ourselves this, then life opens up to us. We start to harness our potential and use the skills we have to their full extent.
Harnessing your potential
There are a few simple ways that you can open yourself up to what is within you.
Stop living on auto pilot
Most of us live on autopilot much of the time. We do things the way we have always done them. We walk the route we have always walked, make the tea the way we always make it, sit in the same place to watch television and wear the same combinations of clothes and so on.
It is a funny thing but when we stop doing things the way we have always done them, just the little things in life, we begin to open up. Our mind is freed from running along the same tracks it always has and begins to see and think differently (much like it is for children who don’t have any set patterns and are always open to possibilities).
So start today by noticing those things you always do and change them a little. Sit in a different chair for breakfast, drive a different route to work, try something completely new and get noticing your life again.
Value your strengths
When you focus on what you have rather than on what you lack, you have power. This is a personal power to be who you are, knowing what is special about you.
If you have worked through the whole of the challenge then you will already have a list of your own strengths as you see them (Name Your Strengths) and some that other people see in you (Own Your Strengths). My recommendation is that you put your strengths list somewhere you can see it. Add to it as you discover more about yourself and just all round give your talents and abilities the value they deserve.
Attend to your self talk
We all have our bad days and our doubts. However when we can challenge those things we say to ourselves that diminish or limit us, then we stop holding ourselves back (Part 5).
Be open to your potential and opportunities
This is really about being open to what life has to offer. At times in our lives we cannot see ahead. When my boys were young I could not see beyond that stage. I knew what I wanted to do for myself but could not see a time when I would be able to do it because juggling everything I had was more than enough.
However when we know that we have innate value and potential we can learn to be open to the opportunities that come along. We can take advantage of small things that present themselves to help us develop our potential. It may be that your dream is to run your own business and it feels a long way off. But there may be many small opportunities along the way to learn skills that will be of use for when the opportunity arises.
The Self Worth Challenge Questions
Over the past weeks in the self worth challenge we have covered many topics and visited multiple times the importance of identifying our strengths/talents and abilities. But in life it is about more than just having the ability to do something. Having an ability does not mean that you should use it. What we are meant to do in life marks itself out more than anything else because it gives us energy and stirs something deeper within us. Take me as an example, I am a pretty good cook but I do not want to be a chef under any circumstances. Whilst I can make lovely food I don’t feel a passion for cooking. What I do feel a passion for is working with people to help them understand their own value in this world, hence being an integrative therapist and writer.
Do you have a sense of your direction in life?
If you answered..
For those of you who are unsure of your direction there are some key questions you can ask yourselves.
What am I good at?
What interests me?
What gives me energy?
There are times when seeing our lives differently is challenging and perceiving a direction is not easy but by answering these questions you will be a step closer to knowing what you have a passion for in life. Write it down even if it seems unattainable. What your heart tells you is not something fixed in stone or a challenge that has to be lived up to but it has clues in it as to the right direction for you.
If you answered..
Some of you will already know where your talents lie and the process of building yourself worth will only help you unleash your energy into those things. If you fit this group then there are a few questions you can ask yourself to develop this further.
If I knew that what I have to give is of value, would I do any thing differently?
How do I hold myself back through fear?
Is there anything else I can do to work towards my goals?
Even when we know what we want we can find that we hold ourselves back from achieving it through fear. Fear of not being good enough, fear of failure, fear of success. By answering these questions you can identify anything that is limiting you. If you do, be kind to yourself. We all do it. Look at what the underlying fear is and then decide how to act.
This is now the end of The Self Worth Challenge. Thank you very much for reading and all your wonderful comments. I hope this series has been of use to you in a lasting way.
I do want to round off with a reminder that there is no one point at which someone has it all figured out or sorted. Life is a process of growth and development that at its best continues to the day we die. Best wishes. Kirsten