It’s easy to tie your self-worth to your net worth. You gauge your success by how well you can provide for your family, buy the things you want, and save for a big trip or retirement. What happens if you’re suffering from medical malpractice and can no longer work in your industry, or you were let go from your job and are forced to take a huge pay cut just to keep some cash rolling in?
It’s easy for your self-esteem to take a hit when you aren’t making the kind of money you think you should, but your value as a human being shouldn’t have anything to do with what’s in your bank account!
If you’re struggling to see your worth outside of your monetary value, try these ideas:
- Make life easier or better for someone else
- Focus on what you value
- Create something
- Create a new narrative
- Reinvent yourself
Make Life Easier or Better for Someone Else
It’s easy to recognize your value when you’re getting paid for what you do. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other things you can do to feel valuable to another person, even if that person isn’t paying you.
Increase your feelings of self-worth by making life easier for other people. It could be something as simple as smiling at the cashier in the drive-thru or thanking the person bagging your groceries. It could mean making dinner for your family, offering to give someone a ride, or volunteering. No matter whose life you decide to make easier, you’ll feel a lot better when you do.
Focus on What You Value
What do you really value? Many people would say money is at the top of their list, but if money solved everything, rich people would be immune from misery. That isn’t the case.
Focus on what you value besides money. A few things to think about include:
- Strong romantic relationship
- Meaningful friendships
- Healthy, happy children
- Free time
- A good night’s sleep
Think about what you look for in a friend or a romantic partner. Chances are, it isn’t the job they have or how much money they have. Once you have identified what you truly value, look for ways to inject more of that into your life.
There’s something extremely rewarding about making something, especially if you’ve been down and out, spending time binge watching shows on Netflix. Create something and your self-worth will skyrocket.
It might mean creating something crafty, like painting or sculpting, but it doesn’t have to be something artistic. Maybe you’ve been putting off painting the bedroom or putting together that swing set. It doesn’t really matter what you’re creating, so long as you’re pouring your attention into making something that enables you to stand back and admire your work after you have finished.
Create a New Narrative
What kind of narrative do you have running through your mind? If you’re feeling low because you aren’t making as much money as you think you should be, chances are, your narrative is a negative one. That will only contribute to negative feelings about your self-worth.
Instead, create a new narrative and tell yourself more positive things. For example, instead of dwelling on the fact that you don’t feel like you have enough or that you are enough, tell yourself things like:
- I am capable of getting through each day as it comes.
- I know what is best for me and I’m taking the steps to get there.
- It’s okay to make mistakes or have a bad day. Tomorrow will be better.
- I deserve good things that come into my life, even if they take a while to get here.
Just because you have spent years or even decades in the same industry doesn’t mean you have to stay there. If an injury keeps you from returning, if your job doesn’t pay what you want, or you have tired of the work you have to do, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself.
What’s something you have always thought of doing? Try taking a few classes to see if you still feel passionate about it. Have a business idea? Try it out with friends. Always thought of yourself as an author or an artist? Start on that book or try selling your artwork at a craft fair.
Just because you aren’t getting a high-paying, steady paycheck doesn’t mean you’re an unworthy human being. Focus on increasing your self-worth and the money will eventually follow.