In order to have more, we have to change our thinking, behaviors, and habits related to self-worth—little by little. As we do that, we can continue to increase our "worth threshold." This means that we allow ourselves to receive more and more.
We walk around thinking, Hey, I will happily let myself receive! Give me the lottery winnings! Show me the money! I have no problem with that. But the truth is that deep down, we do have a problem with that. Our self-worth beliefs—which we've always related to as facts—will determine how much we let ourselves have. And that includes money.
We can inch past our current threshold of what we're willing to have by catching ourselves when we perpetuate patterns and behaviors of low self-worth. Here are some strategies for increasing that worth threshold:
1. Practice positive self-talk.
Listen for self-judgments in your speech, and replace them with nurturing self-talk. I can't believe I could be so stupid becomes I did the best I could. It's safe to be imperfect. Nobody else is perfect either. I love myself anyway. When my critical voice starts to shout, I say, Oh, here you are again. I've been expecting you, and I'm going to turn your volume down now. We're not doing that anymore.
When you practice nurturing, loving self-talk, you can more easily elicit compassion for yourself by talking to the small child within. How can you beat up on yourself if you're relating to your young, vulnerable self? And in truth, the part of you that feels stupid really is that young, vulnerable child.
2. Be mindful of habits that don't promote self-worth.
One of the best strategies to stop poor self-worth habits in their tracks is simply moment-to-moment awareness, or mindfulness. Once you become mindful of behaviors and patterns that aren't in keeping with the self-worth you desire, you can begin to catch yourself in the act.
For example, the next time you put someone else's needs ahead of your own, you can stop and ask yourself what you want. The next time you tell yourself, I can't, you can say, Wait a minute. Is it true that I can't? What do I really want here? If I want this, what's holding me back? What am I really afraid of? Can I talk myself down from my fears and still go after what I want?
3. Create a home that reflects self-worth.
Your outer life is a reflection of the state of your inner self-worth. So look around. Does your environment reflect someone with the high self-worth you're after? If not, how can you change your environment to be closer to what you deserve?
Now, I'm aware that you may not necessarily be able to go out and buy a beautiful home tomorrow. You might need to do some real work on your self-worth before you could make that happen. But you can make small changes in the interim. It might be as simple as cleaning more often, fixing something you've let go for a long time, or sprucing the place up in whatever ways you can. When you do something nice for yourself, you might feel your self-worth increase, and you can build on that.
Jeanine, for example, has a "cheap" habit that's a direct reflection of her self-worth. "If I let myself buy new clothes, they have to be from a very cheap store, and usually on sale. A treat is buying myself a $3 bottle of wine. Perhaps being cheap with yourself cheapens you. I want to feel worthy and capable of full-price and even luxury items without guilt." I don't advocate anyone spending beyond their means, but often, we buy cheap items because we don't feel we deserve better. While staying within your budget, allow yourself to have something really nice now and then.
As your self-worth increases, so will your net worth. Then, you can treat yourself more often. And eventually with higher ticket items, if you so desire.
4. Find a "boasting buddy."
A "boasting buddy" is someone with whom you can share your successes without shame. It's important to have people in your life who are happy for you when good things happen.
We have a fear that others will feel jealous, but if they do, that's their issue to resolve. Some people even try to bring us down when we experience something great. It's their own lack of self-worth at play, though, so feel compassion for them, if you can. Then, when you find yourself feeling jealous of others, remind yourself that if they can do it, so can you. Their success is only an indication that it can be done. You aren't excluded from that success unless you allow yourself to be.
5. Meet up with a personal cheerleader.
Besides being a "boasting buddy," ask that friend (or someone else) to be your personal cheerleader. Then, offer to reciprocate. In this role, you and your friend will give each other self-worth pep talks when you find that you’re getting down on yourselves. Give each other reality checks about self-judgments. Encourage each other to step past your fears and go for what you really desire. Hold each other accountable for any action steps you set.
Just make a rule that no negativity is allowed, and any pushing toward your goals should be gentle, not forceful.
6. Find a community that supports self-worth.
The main reason I started my coaching groups is so that my clients could cheer one another on. It has turned out to be more powerful than my wildest dreams. Through our weekly calls and private Facebook groups, my clients are helping each other in unbelievable ways. We soothe one another during the hard times and pat each other on the back when something goes well.
If you can find such a community, you'll be amazed at the results. If you can't find one, create one—either to meet in person or online. Once again, just have a rule in place that no negativity is allowed!
It's easy to forget that increasing self-worth is a gradual and lifelong process. So keep that front of mind! Because even as you expand your worthiness threshold, you'll still have to deal with those old "demons" that occasionally rise up. Over time, they'll become quieter, and you'll pay less attention to them. But every time you expand beyond your current threshold, you can expect them to pipe up again. Don't worry; it's just the voice of fear, in a misguided attempt to keep you safe.
You'll also continue to find blind spots. Here's one of mine: My husband got our truck in the divorce, which left me without a car. Believe it or not, I lived in Boulder, Colorado, for three years with only a bicycle. Then, a friend said, "What do you mean you don't have a car?" I said, "My ex-husband got the truck in the divorce"—as if that was the only vehicle in the world! For some reason, I just hadn't believed I was worthy of spending money on a car of my own, even though I could afford one.
When I finally discovered my blind spot (took me three years—duh!), I bought a car . . . and paid for it outright. A new car wasn't a necessity, but I wanted it—and I was finally willing to let myself have exactly the car I wanted. That car became a symbol of my independence—the freedom to go where I wanted, when I wanted. It was a lot of money to spend, and I had to take few deep breaths before writing that check! But giving myself permission was all about letting go of the belief that I deserved deprivation—and about believing in my own worth instead.
So you'll move into greater self-worth one step at a time. You'll discover new blind spots. And that awareness will propel you forward to take whatever steps you deem necessary to have what you desire. Sometimes it may go slower than you'd like, but be patient. Pat yourself on the back every time you catch yourself in an old habit or change a behavior. Catch yourself, too, if you beat up on yourself for backsliding. Use that as yet another opportunity to have compassion for yourself and stoke your self-worth.