Determining our self-worth
"Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have."
- Thomas Edison
Self-worth can be very tough to assess and measure. It's not like we can assign a dollar amount or some arbitrary number to it. Determining our self-worth requires a more qualitative approach. Some people can be financially wealthy, but morally bankrupt. It can also be the other way around. Not everyone would agree on how to determine someone's self-worth. There are so many competing variables at play. It's up to us to determine our own self-worth and whether or not we are living up to our own values.
One way to look at it is to figure out how much value we provide in our personal and professional lives. How much do our family, friends, colleagues and neighbors rely on us? How much of a role do we play in their lives? If we disappeared tomorrow, who would miss us? These are important questions to ask ourselves when calculating our self-worth. Logic would tell us, the more we are missed (for whatever reason), the more value we provided to others. To those people, we would be worth a lot.
Self-worth can be tied in closely to selflessness. When we give our time, money or expertise to others, we help make a positive difference in their lives. We only have so much to give. Some of us have more time and money to give than others. When we are willing to give what we can, without expecting anything in return, we are providing value. It should not matter how much we give, but what we can afford to give. At the same time, we have to make sure we are not spreading ourselves too thin. If we are not taking good care of ourselves, it makes it difficult to do the same for others.
Ironically, our self-worth correlates to the impact we have on others. How much value did we really have if nobody would miss us if we magically disappear? With this perspective in mind, hopefully it makes us want to provide more value to everyone we interact with. Our self-worth doesn't mean much if it only benefits ourselves. That's how some people take on an inflated sense of self-worth. Those are the ones who won't be missed as much when they are gone. So, when determining our self-worth, we should consider how much value we provide to others. That's what makes life worth living.
Positive Psychology: What is Self-Worth and How Do We Increase it?
Psychology Today: How Do You Measure Your Self-Worth?