In John Maxwell’s latest book, Intentional Living, he makes an eye opening observation that hit me at the core of who I am. He stated, “If you only place a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the rest of the world will not raise the price.”
Depending on your profession, your personality and the way you define success you have probably questioned your worth. This then causes you to question your value as a person, your purpose and your contribution to the world. You then create a self-limiting mental and emotional mine field which leads to constantly having a mental chess match with yourself about your value often leaving you drowning in negativity which inevitably puts you in an “I can’t” state of being. This state of being isn’t a healthy place to be since it limits everything you do or could do. Worse it defines you, tells you what you should be and incapacitates you in your process of “becoming.”
Maxwell goes on to state, “And as a result of your own low self-esteem and poor sense of worth, you will fail to make a positive difference in the lives of others because you’ll think you have little to offer.”
Personally, this hits me right between the eyes. If I don’t love and care for myself I will be unable to love and care for others. I will be much less effective at work, at home and at life. I have been a ministry professional now for 14 years. Like all service oriented professions burnout is a real issue because these professions require one to constantly pour himself out and it is rare for them to be poured back into. Most service oriented professionals have chosen their profession because they have a self-sacrificing spirit which adds to the potential for burn-out. So, if you’re like me, it means you don’t know how to take a break to nurture your own soul.
Regardless of your profession you may be dealing with feelings of worthlessness. You may be attempting to navigate the mine field of negativity and don’t know where to put your foot down next.
Here is what I am learning to implement in my own life. These few steps encourage a mental environment that raises view of self, self-worth and value. I hope what I have learned from my journey will help you too.
Battle negative emotions with gratitude. Gratitude actually rewires your brain to think positively. Whatever good, positive experience you have to think on meditate on those things. Start a “Gratitude Journal”. Write down 10 to 20 positive experiences that brought true joy, rest and peace to your heart. Meditate on them for 5 minutes in the morning and evening. It won’t take long but it will make a world of difference.
Get yourself in good company…now! I saw a tweet the other day that stated, “Never develop ideas with people who don’t care.” There is a great deal of wisdom you can apply to your life from that. Marginalization can be a major cause of feelings of worthlessness. In other words when you are hanging around negative people they often cause you to feel worthless to make themselves feel better. Get around positive, healthy people and learn from them. A positive mindset is contagious.
Love yourself. Self-hatred and self-loathing exacerbates and exaggerates the feelings of worthlessness. What should you do? Reward yourself in a healthy way. Take a break. Eat healthy. Exercise. Get some sleep. Spend time with positive people. All these things tell your mind, “I am worth it.” They naturally combat self-hatred. But if you really want to feel good get involved in something where you can add value to and help others.
Get real help. Friends and family can be a great help and encouragement, but in some cases they are the cause of your value struggle. If you find yourself in this position and find that you cannot break the cycle seek help from a counseling professional. A behavior therapist is equipped to help you address these patterns of thinking.
Faith. This may not be for you, but the nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is this. God loves you. It is the answer to the question of worthlessness and value. I am not worthy of Jesus’s death on the cross, but to God I am worth dying for and worth saving. You are loved by God the evidence of his mercy, grace and provision is all around you. You’ll see it more and more by practicing step one. With this in mind get yourself and your family in a good, positive, uplifting church environment and connect with a good, healthy faith community. (They do exist!) The Law of Significance states, “one is too small a number to achieve greatness.” You will never reach your God designed potential or fulfill your purpose in life by journeying alone.