How Self Worth And Good Relationships Are Connected
I have found, that the most challenging relationships I have are with people who have a confused perspective of themselves. That is because our self-worth and good relationships are often associated. Unquestionably, the people I run into who have the most conflicts are also people who in general have very turbulent relationships. Though these relationships can be testing, I am also learning to be a voice of love, compassion, and sometimes of reason.
I have found that many of these conflicts stem from a place of extremely low self-worth. Self-worth, self-esteem, and self-image go hand in hand, but it basically refers to what we believe and how we feel about ourselves.
Often, in my experience, people who have a lot of conflicts at work, with their family members and friends, feel so low that small remarks or even neutral comments are considered a “pile on”. Since their self-worth doesn’t derive from within they crave others affirmation and acceptance.
The pattern they live in is that they must constantly prove themselves valuable. But since they don’t believe themselves to contain an intrinsic value, they are competing with everyone around them to show how worthy they are.
Intrinsic value is typically used in the financial world to define the worth of a company without evaluating its perceived value on the market. The intrinsic value of something is said to be the value that a thing has “in itself,” in its own right.”
Basically, when we believe we hold intrinsic value, we deem that we have a fundamental worth that doesn’t increase or decrease by outside things. In other words, what we do, wear, who we associate with, how much money we make, and all these other things don’t influence our inherent worth for the better or for the worse—we hold worth, just because we ARE.
Why do we hold intrinsic value?
The Bible teaches that life is a gift from God. When God formed humans He “breathed the breath of life” and thus humankind came alive (Genesis 2:7). It also states that “[i]f God were to take back his spirit, and withdraw his breath, all life would cease, and humanity would turn again to dust” (Job 34:14-15).
This is why Christianity teaches that humans are intrinsically worthy. Jesus even said:
“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7 (NLT)
The Atheist argument for the intrinsic value
Even if you don’t believe in God, there is an argument for intrinsic value. In fact, philosophers believe our inherent worth to be crucial to most of our moral judgments.
Basically, most societal commitments to “should/shouldn’t” or “ethical/unethical” comes from a rational where intrinsic value is central. As an example, what makes murder illegal and wrong in most societies is that we believe humans have fundamental worthiness that other’s shouldn’t be able to kill.
It is the same concept that gives us what we also refer to as ‘human rights’. Logically, for us to have such rights, we have to have value.
If I have inherent worth how should I treat myself?
When I began addressing my self-worth, I also started seeing my average mood increase, my mental health excel, and my interactions with others were generally more positive. I began having hope! It made me wonder if there is a correlation between self-worth and depression. Many doctors would agree that cognitive beliefs about ourselves and depression go hand in hand.
If we believe we are intrinsically valuable, we should have hope and treat ourselves with love and grace. Healthy self-worth will keep us from the adoption of destructive behavior and mindsets.
This hopeful and positive way of thinking will even help us out with things such as depression. I am not depressed so that I might have a simple understanding of depression. Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence, writes:
“Indeed, people who are hopeful evidence less depression than others as they maneuver through life in pursuit of their goals, are less anxious in general, and have fewer emotional distresses.”
How self-worth and relationships correlate?
The way we value ourselves also dictates how we allow others to treat us as well as how we engage in our relationships. Healthy self-worth is a foundation for healthy relationships as we don’t approach the relationship with unfair expectations.
As I mentioned earlier, low self-worth often yields turbulent relationships, because lack of faith in inherent value. Self-worth also reflects in the way we permit others to treat us as well. Hopefully, we have surrounded ourselves with people who love us and treat us well. However, in my experience, the lower our self-image is, the more likely we are to attract people who treat us according to this image. In other words, we are more likely to tolerate abusive or hurtful relations if we don’t think we are worth any better.
Differently, we attract respect and honor when we regard ourselves with dignity.
Because I respect myself, I would never allow a friend, a co-worker, or even a stranger to repeatedly degrade me. Though I am not rude or forceful in my attitude, the way I choose to carry myself also obliges those around me to respect me—just as I also respect them.
Can I change my bad self-worth to better my relationships?
Yes, you can! Depending on where you are, and what is causing you to have deflated self-worth there are different things that you can begin to do differently to address your bad image. I think (1) self-talk is a fundamental step, as well as finding a way to (2) challenge the critical voice in your head. As for the rest of the items on this list they really lend themselves to whatever could cause you to feel low.
Often, bad self-worth comes from patterns in our way of thinking, so really, the first step to address our self-worth would be to begin monitoring thoughts and self-talk.
Monitoring self-talk means being more conscious of our inner dialogue and the things we tell ourselves. Once we begin to pay more attention to self-talk, we will become more attentive to our beliefs, especially the ones we have about ourselves. We will start to recognize which self-defeating patterns we have, which means we can begin to address them.
2. Challenge the critical voice in your head
Recognizing self-defeating patterns means we can challenge them. When we are alert and “catch” a negative thought, we can hone in on it and begin asking ourselves, what this particular thought’s root is and if we have unresolved issues in our past that we need to settle.
Eventually, as you become better at catching thoughts and challenging them, you’ll be able to replace them with positive thoughts and beliefs about yourself.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others
This is not to say “don’t be inspired by others or strive to do great things,” but rather that you shouldn’t have a deflated self-worth because someone else is doing well. I wrote a post on 5 winning attitudes for a successful edge, in which I discuss how we don’t lose, just because someone else wins.
Following, you shouldn’t compare yourself to someone else, and think that because you don’t look like that, have that, can do that, somehow you are worthless. I find that many younger women and men these days spend a lot of time on social media. Social media tends to distort our worldview and what is essential in life. Don’t reach for unattainable standards because influencers portray a lifestyle that is “picture perfect.”
Huda, from Huda Beauty, often talks about how difficult it is to be an influencer and the standards that are modeled. Being a beauty influencer, she felt the need to get plastic surgery to live up to a standard. Today she is having some of these surgeries reversed.
I recently deleted Facebook, because I read a study that claimed our mental health and self-worth increases drastically after just one month of being off this media. If you know this is where some of your low self-worth comes from, maybe you should take a break or completely delete some of these applications.
4. Choose to believe that you have worth
As stated earlier, because I respect myself, I won’t allow others to walk all over me or degrade me. This is a choice. It doesn’t just happen. I believe I have worth, and because I believe so, I actively take steps that encourage this mindset. It means I set healthy boundaries, I engage in wholesome relationships, and I address and push back when people treat me poorly.
I know, usually, when others treat me poorly, it is evidence of their own low self-worth, which is why I try not to ‘cut’ them back. As I said, there is a pattern with low self-worth and turbulent relationships. In my experience, if I speak with grace, respect, and love, they often soften up and change their attitude quickly. This leads to the last item on the list…
5. Surround yourself with people who believe you are worthy
I am fortunate to have had great parents growing up—I can’t even begin to praise them enough. My parents were wonderful. I also have excellent, conflict-free, and uplifting relationships with my siblings, which is something we are all benefitting from. Third, I married really well; have an amazingly supportive husband plus a loving family-in-law. These are my core relationships.
I have been able to surround myself with people who all believe in me, pray for me, support me, and that all think I am worthy. This sets the norm for the relationships I chose to be in. When I interact with co-workers, business partners, teammates, and friends, my core relationships keep me grounded in a healthy image of my worth.
I hope you have people that think you are worthy, even when you don’t feel it yourself. If your core relationships don’t believe this, firstly, know that they are mistaken—you ARE worthy. Most likely, they don’t show you your worth because they don’t believe themselves to be worthy either. It might take some time, but YOU can be the catalyst that changes this by showing them love, grace, and respect. By treating others with worthiness, you set the standard too for how you should be treated.
What are your thoughts on self-worth and good relationships?
I am optimistic that this post has been helpful and encouraging. The purpose of this blog is to inspire greatness to have healthy self-worth and good relationships. We wish you the best of luck. Please feel free to share your journey or thoughts in the comments below.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is meant as help and is for general informational purposes only. Meaning, do not consider this as legal advice or a consultation. To clarify, I am a communication strategist and consultant with a degree in Communications, and I teach on conflict resolution and communication skills. Surely, I love what I do, and my advice is always based on either textbook communication theory or empirical evidence. However, I cannot be held liable for how you apply my advice. Without a doubt, I hope you well and success in applying the views I share on this blog.