If we look up the definition of “value”, we will find that it means: the worth or importance of something (n.) or to find something desirable, beneficial, and worthy of importance (v.). In our culture, we are trained to value many things that are outside of ourselves. Things like money, power, fame, belongings, etc. direct how people behave and treat themselves and others. We fall into the trap of placing higher importance on what other people think and how our life appears to others than on how our life actually feels to ourselves.
In the midst of this, we will profess that we value ourselves, yet the evidence displayed in our mental and physical health says otherwise. Some of this is borne of ignorance and our being led to believe that others know what is best for us rather than trusting ourselves and listening to our bodies and our own inner wisdom. Our culture can also teach us to undervalue what we have to offer and to believe that our unique gifts, abilities, knowledge, and wisdom is not worth sharing or standing up for. And so, we accept what we are given and the value that others assign to us.
Beginning to value ourselves takes work in a culture of scarcity and it means that are brave enough to prioritize our own joy, authenticity, and passions above the expectations that others have set for us. It means that rather than just talking about what we value, we must live our lives according to what we personally value. This will not always be easy as others’ values may not align with our own.
Truly valuing ourselves means taking care of all of the parts of ourselves so that we can experience the most meaningful and fulfilling lives possible.
To take care of our physical health and to experience more energy and ease in our daily lives, we must commit to valuing ourselves enough to recognize what patterns we may be stuck in that contribute to degeneration and things like inflammation, digestive issues, weight gain, and stress on our immune system. Do you value yourself enought to take care of your own health, to listen to your body, and to change habits that are working against you?
To take care of our mental and emotional health, we must commit to valuing ourselves enough to do the inner work. This means assessing our beliefs about ourselves, our abilities, others, and the world around us to see if they are truly our beliefs or beliefs that we took on from others or from society. Are our beliefs keeping us stuck or small? We must recognize our thinking patterns and create ways of speaking to ourselves that are helpful and healthful. Are our thoughts moving us toward a life of meaning, joy, love, and the experiences that we long to have or are our thoughts beating us down and contributing to a loss of meaning? We must also tune in to our emotional patterns and notice if we are emotionally reactive or emotionally withdrawn. Do we allow ourselves to feel our emotions? Do our emotions inform our thoughts and behaviors or just run roughshod through our relationships and lives? Do you value yourself enough to recognize thinking and emotional patterns that may be sabotaging your success and happiness and to put in the work to change them?
To take care of our relationships, we must commit to establishing and upholding our own boundaries while respecting the boundaries of others. We must practice clear and caring communication with ourselves and others around what we want, need, and what is okay/not okay for us. We must be curious enough to take the perspective of others and recognize that we are all interpreting the world and our experiences through our own beliefs, experiences, pain, and past. And we must be willing and open enough to learn and to shift how we relate to others in honor of connecting. Do you value yourself enough to work on your relationships through perspective taking, boundary setting, and clear communication?
To take care of our dreams and passions, we must commit to making time for them. That does not necessarily mean quitting the job that pays the bills, but it does mean scheduling in time to do things that we love and that light us up. It may mean creating a side hustle or leaning into a hobby, but it always means doing things now that we enjoy rather than putting them off of or giving up on what we love because of the expectations of others. Do you value yourself enough to make time for the things that bring you joy and make you feel alive?
We have the choice to prioritize ourselves in our lives and to lead the life that feels good for us. We have the choice to lean into our own power and to value ourselves over what others expect of us and over what our culture tells us our value is. The question is, do you value yourself enough to make the changes in your body, mind, relationships, and life that will lead to more meaning and fulfillment? This is YOUR life to live, no one else’s. Change doesn’t have to be big or overwhelming, it can be one small thing that you start or stop doing today to create a shift.
I invite you to assess how you can value yourself more this week by deciding on one small change that will honor who you are and how you want to live your life. And I also invite you to find a friend, partner, or group to do this work with as we can use the momentum of others on the same journey to help us stick with our intentions.
I will be practicing right along with you.
Chat again soon,