We all want to be there for our friends, family and colleagues but what happens when you start putting the needs of others in place of your own?

The answer is simple, you self-worth suffers and you become depleted.

That’s the problem with putting other people first, you’ve taught them that you come second. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be there for those you care about, but it is a thoughtful reminder that you can’t be there for others if you don’t take care of yourself first and that requires knowing your true value.

Understanding your self-worth could be one of the most puzzling journeys you will ever face but it’s well worth the time. Let’s begin with demystifying what I believe many people conflate, which is the definition of self-worth:

  • Self-worth comes from knowing that you are enough, just as you are. You are inherently worthy, and you don’t need anyone else’s approval. Self-worth takes into account not only how we feel about ourselves, via identity and self-value, but also how we feel about the manner in which we interact with the world around us, through our boundary setting and management of emotions.

Then of course we have self-esteem and self-confidence which are also different from self-worth but often linked together. Here’s the actual breakdown:

  • Self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself overall; how much esteem, or self-love you have develops from experiences and situations that shaped how you view yourself today.
  • Self-confidence is how you feel about your abilities and can vary from situation to situation. I may have healthy self-esteem, but low confidence about situations outside your comfort zone and similarly, you can do something outside your comfort zone and feel lousy about your execution or performance.

Here are four common ways you undermine your self-worth and how you can stop:

  1. You say sorry when you don’t need to. Apologizing excessively, especially when you didn’t do anything wrong is one of the quickest ways to sink your self-worth. Your apologies automatically tell others that you think you are responsible for the issue. Unnecessary apologies can also send a message that you’d rather be agreeable than be honest. Overtime, this pattern of behavior will allow others to overlook you and your opinions. Here are 5 different but potentially powerful solutions.
  2. You say yes when you mean to say no. Individuals who often say yes to anyone or anything fall under the term “people pleaser” which for many is not a good thing. Their concern for how they will be perceived if they let someone down rules them. People-pleasers yearn for outside validation and their “personal feeling of security and self-confidence is based on receiving the approval of others. Here are 6 ways to turn your yes into a no by Lolly Daskal.
  3. You focus only on your shortcomings. Call it the glass half-empty syndrome where people love to focus on what’s missing versus what they still have. Most people spend their lives obsessing over minor imperfections and ignoring the immense talent that they possess. Regardless of the neuroscience to back up why focusing on our weaknesses creates undo stress and overload, we are still prone to devalue even our greatest achievements in life. Here are 5 ways to face your weaknesses and regain your strengths.
  4. You don’t set clear boundaries. Having, setting and communicating your physical and emotional boundaries is critical to both living a happy, healthy and honorable life. This applies to everyone regarding anything. The number one cause for relationships to fail is stress, and the cause of the stress is due to a lack of communication. Knowing who you are, what you want, and what you won’t tolerate is critical. Here is an excellent 6 Step Process to get you started.


Final thoughts: Last year, I wrote an article called 7 Benefits From Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone and in it I layout the importance of pushing yourself each day outside of what feels comfortable in service of your own growth and happiness. Only when we you are willing to become comfortable with being uncomfortable can change and growth really take place.

The floor is yours: What’s one common way people undermine their self-worth?

With leadership, Joshua | | “I Call Bullshit: Live Your Life, Not Someone Else’s