Self-love and self-worth are hot topics throughout the collective right now.
Everyone is talking about how important it is to love yourself and know your worth. These concepts often get lumped together, and although they do go hand-in-hand, they are not the same thing.
In a recent coaching session, my client and I were going through the questionnaire I created for the start of my sessions, and when we got to the topic of self-love, I was pleased to see my client say she loved herself very much. But when we got to self-worth, she paused, and started laughing. I laughed along with her because I knew what she was thinking.
"It's (self-worth) a tough one because you think you know your worth, then it hits you that you don't," I said. My client continued laughing and agreed with me.
A few months ago, it occurred to me that although I had been doing the inner work to enhance my self-love, I still hadn't mastered knowing my worth. And that's why when creating my questionnaire for my coaching sessions, I made it a point to separate self-love from self-worth. It is possible to love yourself, and still not know your worth. Or rather, you may know your worth, but perhaps you aren't comfortable taking actions that assert that knowing. The good news is, as you continue your self-love journey, knowing and asserting your self-worth comes naturally.
There is a process to all things. The first step to knowing your worth is learning how to love yourself.
Self-love in itself is a process. There are many layers and phases to it. And even when you come to a place where you are comfortable loving yourself, there will still be days when you might find it challenging to do so. On the bad days, it's important to love yourself a little more, and it is just as important to love yourself a little more on the good days too. This is where self-worth comes in.
When discussing self-love, you might often hear, "love yourself even more on the hard days." But what about the days when you've accomplished something you set out to do? What about the days when something good has happened for you?
Your initial response to something good happening may be one that is very excited and grateful. But as that buzzing energy calms down, where do your thoughts lead next? Do you refrain from sharing your good news because you think you are not worthy of what you received? Does imposter syndrome creep in? Do you automatically think, "I have so much already, someone else probably deserves this great thing more than I do..."
When it comes to the bad days, how do you interact with your self-worth then? When someone mistreats you, do you say something? Do you stand up for yourself? Even if you love yourself, there may be times when you don't say or do something you want to.
If you blocked or withheld yourself in any of these ways or in similar ways, then you are not accepting your worth.
Just as the journey of self-love is a process, so is the journey of knowing, accepting, and asserting your self-worth.
As you continue to love yourself, you will also come to know and act with the knowing of your own worth. Self-love is needed to know your self-worth.
Let's look at the two core words, love and worth.
Love is defined by a feeling of deep affection. When you love something, someone, or yourself, you feel deep admiration, fondness, warmth, and a total acceptance of the subject. Worth is defined by something or someone's value.
So when you love yourself, you accept all that you are and you admire everything that makes you, you. This includes all aspects of you: your light and shadow sides, your positive and negative traits. Loving yourself means choosing to accept yourself just as you are, no matter what has happened in your past and no matter what you may experience moving forward.
Knowing your worth comes after total acceptance (love) for yourself. So when you know you worth, you value you. You value your time, energy, space, and love. Knowing your worth is about evaluating things outside of yourself; you are looking to see whether these things are worth your time and energy. Selling yourself short in any way means you are sacrificing your own energy, peace, and love. The real test when it comes to self-love is whether you can assert your self-worth.
To strengthen your self-worth, you must simultaneously flow with love for yourself.
Self-love must remain your top priority for you to enforce your worth. After solidifying your self-love, knowing your self-worth becomes a matter of action. In every situation you are faced with, you will have to ask yourself how it coincides with the way you value yourself.
In relationships, if someone is mistreating you, it is up to you to know your worth and ask for what you want and need moving forward. When searching for jobs, it is up to you to know your skills, passions, and goals. It is your duty to yourself to go after what you truly want, and not settle for less than what you are worth. In any situation, it is up to you to know your worth and express what you desire. It is up to you to only accept what is worth your time and energy.
From there, if your expressed needs are not being met, it is you who will have to walk away from any person, place, or thing that is not serving you. You must have a strong sense of self-worth because you are responsible for ensuring that your worth is met. Yes, people can see your worth, and there are people who will honor it without you even asking. But that will only happen when you have already acted on and enforced your self-worth.
Self-worth is about loving yourself enough to attract and accept situations that reflect the way you value yourself.
Meet yourself where you are.
There will be days when you forget your worth, or when you sacrifice your worth for the sake of another, and that's okay. Meet yourself where you are and set the intention to assert your worth moving forward. Just as with loving yourself, knowing your worth takes time. Some days you will feel like you should have known or done better, and you will do better next time. There is no reason to beat yourself up for not loving yourself or knowing your worth. Always accept where you are and affirm your self-love and worth. In time, you will not even pause when your worth is in question, and you will not have a problem asking for or accepting more.
Be gentle with yourself and the process. Celebrate and honor yourself no matter where you find yourself. Every step on your journey is important, and it is your continued dedication to yourself that matters most.