Stop Letting Money Define Your Self-Worth. Here's How
Perhaps the greatest determining factor of someone's overall well-being is the degree to which they value themselves and feel OK internally, regardless of circumstances. This sense of "inner OK-ness" shouldn't be based on what we do, produce or have, or what we plan to achieve in the future. Ideally, it develops in the relationship we have with our first caregiver who hopefully loved and cherished us just for being. From there, we could internalize this feeling of value and cultivate self-love on our own.
Yet if this primary bond is damaged or becomes dysfunctional, we start seeking our worth and value outside of ourselves. Traditionally, men created their sense of external worth by what they could earn or produce in economic terms, and women created their value through their relationship (as someone's daughter, wife, mother) — and ultimately through having children.
How often do you feel like you hear people link their sense of worth to their income and assets? Time and time again, I hear people say, "If I'm not contributing financially to my family, who am I?" or "I couldn't imagine myself not working and making money."
Unfortunately, whenever our sense of self and true value is placed on anything outside of ourselves — a job, a relationship, things we own — we become incredibly vulnerable, to the point where we may feel weak. Sure, vulnerability is healthy, and essential for personal growth. But I'm referring to that feeling where you can't seem to find that "inner OK-ness" without external validation.
The only lasting and authentic way to value ourselves comes from inside. There are several ways to help you start shifting the way you view the relationship between your self-worth and your finances. Here are five tips to begin:
1. Define your terms: money ≠ wealth.
Wealth is comprised of the things we want: food, clothes, houses, cars, travel to interesting places. You can have wealth without having money. For example, I used to spend tons on Amazon purchases each month. Now I use the public library: I still have a wealth of information and books at my disposal but I'm not spending any money. Wealth can also come in the form of love, learning, connection and so on. We want more than just material things, after all.
2. List ALL of your assets.
Any business has a balance sheet that lists its worth based on its assets. However, most successful businesses are worth and valued far more than their physical assets. Take any huge company — Microsoft, Amazon, Coke. They will sell for far more than just the cash, buildings and inventory they own.
Likewise, if you just look at the cash in your bank, the cars you drive and the houses you own, realize that you're missing a hug part of the picture. Real personal wealth can't be taken away from you. It's your knowledge, skills, talents and experiences that really define the real sense of worth and value in the big picture of your life.
3. Make a concerted effort to value everything you do.
Most of us contribute far more than what we are actually paid for. If you made a list of all the things that you do in the "business of you" and asked yourself, "What would I have to pay someone else to do this if I couldn't?" our life income would be far greater than what any of us actually make. Women in particular tend to underestimate how much they contribute that they don't get paid for.
4. Ask yourself, "What is priceless in my life?"
The word "priceless" has become cliché. But when Mastercard first launched it's "priceless" commercials, the concept struck me as profound. And it still is, if we stop to really think about it: what is something with value that doesn't have a price tag?
We all know that there are some (well, a lot) of things that money can't buy. For me, time with my kids, being a writer and my experiences living overseas are all totally priceless. At times they all have actually had a negative impact on my net worth; however, when I look at my life, it is rich beyond measure because of these very things. Abundance is not just about money...
5. Figure out who you really admire.
If you made a list of who you deeply love, appreciate and admire, it would most likely not include the who's who of high-net-worth individuals in the world. For some of us, it's a teacher or a grandparent that showed up in our lives and made a difference; or maybe it's someone in the news that selflessly helped someone. Making a difference is often something that doesn't cost a dime, but has a huge, lasting impact. Is that not valuable?
This doesn't mean there is anything wrong with having a ton of money or trying to manifest your best possible financial future but who you are will always be more important that what you have.
Are your ready to shift your "inner OK-ness" regardless of external circumstances? Contact me for a FREE 30 minute exploratory session.