Self-Worth: It's what we make it.
When Self-Worth was proposed as the theme for Women in Livingness Magazine Edition #2, there really was no need to give it a second thought. We launched with the theme of Breast Care in Edition #1, knowing its importance as a topical and relevant issue. With the prevalence of breast cancer, the vital message for women to return to nurturing and self-nurturing as part of daily life, versus the otherwise imbalance of the rush and drive we have allowed to dominate us, has never been more important for us to explore. It is a theme that will never be out-dated, and self-worth and, or, understanding what and how lack of self-worth affects us daily, is an even bigger topic to tackle.
Lack of self-worth is having a detrimental effect on almost every woman, of every age, of every nationality, religion or culture. Your income, your profession, your physical appearance, shape or size, being employed or unemployed, studying, having kids and those without; women single, dating, or in long or short-term relationships, whatever the variable, our one common denominator is an experience of lacking self-worth.
In contrast to what is now common place, every woman starts off and begins life with a sense of self-worth; a sense of her own worth, of what she values to be innately precious, true, and important. However, of equal standing is her view of the outer world, first starting with those closest to her (family, siblings) and later extending to the wider world (school, friends, media and trends). The point being that even though there is an innate sense of true worth, how a woman perceives herself to be accepted or not in the world has a determining impact on her relationship to self-worth.
How many of us struggle to place value in what is innately true and important to us; over and above the otherwise desire for acceptance, recognition and seeming love and attention from those around us?
We have all been there... And, it is not a “teenage” phase we leave behind us.
In the phase of life we call the teenage years, or the transitioning from young girl to young woman and then to adult woman; High School and its fishbowl-like environment, becomes a condensed and somewhat intensified period of time where lack of self-worth and, or, low self-esteem prevails, as most of us try and test what’s on offer to find our place, fit in, be liked, and accepted; to then eventually arrive at a place where we say “I’ve grown up now, these things don’t matter to me anymore”, and we step into the world.
... But do we ever really address the underlying lack of self-worth?
Or, do we just become better at masking it in ‘adult life’?
Are we comfortable valuing and appreciating what we bring through our unique expressions? To our professions? In our families? And, or, in our relationships? OR, are we governed by playing roles in our life, living up to external demands and expectations and measuring our value based on the responses or reactions we get from outside of us?
My daily profession affords me the opportunity to travel within Australia and to Europe, speaking with women of every age and many different nationalities. What I most commonly experience within the private setting of a consultation is women revealing how this issue of lack of self-worth plays out it’s many, many varied effects. It is an ingrained problem that is sadly, a common, widespread, and now considered to be “normal” issue we all endure.
The Edition #2 of Women in Livingness Magazine and its many volunteering contributors committed to the challenge of addressing this topic. For us at WIL, our writing is not based on theory or concepts, or a telling to readers of what to do and giving quick-fix solutions. We endeavour to share from life experience, honesty and a connection to our deep and innate wisdom. It means that when we make Self-Worth our theme, we want to look far and wide, and most importantly, deep within, to share articles that can truly inspire, if not at times equally educate women – all from women who are walking the same path as you.
And so, what if Self-Worth is not in the hands of others, but determined by what you choose and make it to be?
Where we have faltered as women is how we allow and accept that our self-worth or value can be measured and, or, determined by others and the outside world. In other words, we have handed it over, and not truly on our own terms.
We have accepted that a man’s view of us decides the value of our beauty,
We have accepted an industry of fashion that decides what clothes and colours are of most popular value each new season,
We have accepted an industry of beauty and skin products that espouses youth and perfection as the highest value,
We have accepted photo-shopped images of models that define beauty,
We have accepted “likes” and “followers” on social media platforms as friendships and attention…
Ultimately, we have accepted in many areas of life a low mark of what is Self-Worth. This is where change is needed, asking and or looking to the ‘big fish’ in the pond to change it for us, isn’t going to work, and hasn’t in the last century despite numerous attempts. These industries and acceptable societal views and beliefs thrive off us to feed them so they can continue as they are.
The everlasting change we seek occurs from us and from within, by taking the steps to address our lack of self-worth, what we have denied to be our true way and what we have accepted as a compromise. We need to empower ourselves to define our value and worth. We need not embark on this process with reaction or fight towards what is out there and what we have allowed society to become, because by bringing out and living our innate inner-truth, the other will dissolve its seeming hold over our daily choices.
Throughout Edition #2 of Women in Livingness Magazine, you will read articles from women who have explored the theme of Self-Worth and who have explored the possibility that there is a way out of accepting lack of self-worth as a “normal” issue women have to endure through life. They have brought to the fore a renewed value for their own worth and its expression out to all others.
Self-Worth is what you make it to be.
(First Published: Edition #2 Women in Livingness Magazine 2016)