Saturday, May 25, 2013

Where Does Self-Worth Come From?

In my first session of therapy, Laura (therapist) said that self worth comes from existing. 
I didn't believe that when she told it to me, and after some thinking, I still don't believe it (not that it's wrong, it's just not my opinion).
Where do we get our worth from? How do we justify feeling good about ourselves? 
My guess is that if you just existed and sat around all day you wouldn't feel that great. I know I'd feel bored, useless, not really worthy of much. If you did horrible things to people all day that probably wouldn't cut it either, even though you're still existing. 

Also, I don't think anyone derives their self-worth from their existence. Do you? 
Or do you derive it from actions you do, feelings you have, plans for the future? 

My self-worth comes from things I've done that I'm proud of. For example, my new job at the nursing home makes me feel worthy because I'm doing a job most wouldn't care to do. I'm doing my best to help people and make their days better. I feel worthy when I comfort someone. I feel worthy when I work hard at something and succeed. 
There was one day when I was at church and I was sitting apart from my mother. The woman next to me started crying and eventually I reached out and took her hand. She squeezed it hard and held on. I can't be sure, but I think I made her day a little brighter because of it. That memory alone gives me a warm glow because I feel good about giving her my support and that I helped her. 
Episodes like those are what I would use for justification if I were to go before God and argue that I  deserve to go to Heaven. 
Episodes like those are what help me still believe that I'm a good person even when I've done things like steal food. 

I do think that everyone deserves to feel good about themselves. Everyone has done good things in their lives (even if it's a small thing, like being friendly to someone or hugging your parents), and one good thing can outweigh 100 bad. I just hope they feel good for the right reasons. Otherwise, if you felt like your worth didn't depend on what you did, what's to stop you from hurting people all the time?

What do you think? Where does your self-worth come from?


  1. I think she meant existing as a whole, not just sitting on your couch all day. I think it depends on your perspective on existing as well. You could enjoy doing terrible things to people and if you aren't doing your best at what you do, good or bad, then you aren't doing enough. Your actions and plans and behaviors and all of that come from existing. I think it's just a collective blanket word, you know?

    Since you mention God I think it's safe for me to say that I believe self worth comes from understanding and embracing the fact you are saved by grace and that you are infinitely loved and were created by God to love Him, others, and be loved in return. It's accepting his grace. If you don't accept that He loved you so much that He took it all, then you won't understand your worth either. You won't feel any. No one truly deserves to go to heaven. There would never be enough justification, especially me doing something as small as a simple moment of kindness. Those couldn't outweigh my sinful nature. People will always do the selfish thing, more often than not, when it comes at the cost of themselves. No, not always the rule, but you've mentioned you study psych too and you know as well as I do that self preservation is a very hard to overrule thing.

    So, I think I'm human. You can't really say a person is "good" or "bad." Murder, lying, stealing, cheating, malicious thoughts, gossip, what's the difference? You're still hurting people. good post :D

  2. I agree more with you. My therapist and I would talk about similar things and it would get philosophical. In terms of "where does self worth come from" and what makes one have high or low self worth and, I really think it comes from society. I think about it in a sociological perspective rather than a psychological perspective, how the whole affects the one. I think that in this age, we are obviosuly entirely too preoccupied with what people think of us. Or we automatically expect people to think bad of us, so that just makes us lose before we even start. I think back to the 50s..the picturesque families, everything has to be perfect and effortless, never let them know how much you try. I'm sure people were very fucked up back then.

    In terms of how self worth is guaged...I'm still not sure how to answer that, because if I knew I'd probably be a lot more confident. I'm personally a firm believer of fake it til you make it, but then that backfires a lot. I don't really know how to give a firm answer, but I do think it's a mix of what you said about a reflection of our actions and the impact of our society on ourselves.

  3. I think self worth comes from being a good person, doing good deeds, having a purpose, a reason for being, having values and morals
    Doing the right thing means a lot to me so I put a lot of weight in that
    I've done a lot of very shitty things in my past and I try my best to do right by me and others

    Although right now I'm having a hard time with self worth
    I think it's ever changing, ever evolving

    Nice post x


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