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I recently read an article called “Understanding Self-Worth and What to Do When You Hate Yourself” by hopeline.com and wanted to share some of the information I thought might be helpful to my students and youth job seekers. I know as the semester begins to approach its end many of you become stressed and even depressed due to the overwhelming amount of pressure that builds naturally when you are trying your best to do well. According to the Dawson Mc Allister Network (hopeline.com) self-worth is how someone defines their value or worth as a person. Many people judge this by external factors such as body image, possessions and social standings.

I am here to remind you that self-worth is not about acceptance by others, what you do or what you have but Self-worth is about who you are as an individual, as much as WHO YOU ARE NOT! Comparing yourself to others, especially at your age (18-24) is detrimental to your well-being and while we all do this to some extent when you are a younger adult or late teen this can have lifelong ramifications. It becomes really easy to say things like “I should have __ by now” or I should have completed __________ goal like my friends have by 24”, often triggering self-destructive behaviors and a low self-esteem leading to a negative image of self. In addition, this can play out as depression, lead to eating disorders and self-harm such as cutting and even suicide.

Theodore Roosevelt once stated “Comparison is the thief of joy” and recognizing this as early as possible can help you to reduce stress and anxiety or depression that stems from constantly comparing yourself to others.

So Ms. Dionne, what does that look like exactly? Well, I’ll tell you! Common signs of struggles with self-worth are

  • Constantly comparing yourself to your peers
  • Not feeling good enough
  • Feeling unloved or incompetent
  • Avoiding people or social activities due to negative self-perception
  • Intense highly critical thoughts about yourself
  • Being extremely judgmental towards others as well as yourself

So, Ms. Dionne, what now? Well, I’ll start by reminding you that self-worth is not just an emotional issue. Negative self-talk can lead to a negative pattern of internal thought process which can lead to self-hate. So learning to adjust your perception of yourself is key to developing a healthy sense of self-worth. You can start by incorporating the following tips into your lifestyle!

  • Seek out relationships with people who are positive (friends, family and other social groups is the perfect way to start…utilize your current resources)
  • Talk about it (with a Counselor…like me and Kaylan or the Counselors on campus at LMC,) don’t forget about your healthcare providers if accessible! Friends and family members you can trust with your feelings are always a good place to start and even your pets… sometimes just saying it out loud gives you a sense of release from anxiety and stress.
  • Become as informed as possible. For example, I’ve experienced anxiety and I had to learn how to manage my symptoms and discover my triggers so that I can recognize it before it gets completely out of control. In addition, I recommend that you share your honest thoughts and feelings with your provider/s because sometime medication can help as well.
  • Develop interest outside of school and work or explore a new hobby that you may be into.  Volunteering would be an awesome way to not only give back to your community, charity or nonprofit organization of your choosing. but will give you a great sense of purpose and pride as well. You never know you might even stumble into a 20-year career…I did!
  • Learn to be quick to forgive others AND yourself, no one is perfect and no one has it all together and figured out. Human development is continuous throughout the life span and everyone makes poor choices from time to time. While you can’t control what happens you can control how YOU respond.
  • My personal favorite… make your calendar your best friend. If you have to SCHEDULE your down time, do so. Make taking time out to care for yourself a part of your daily, weekly and monthly routines. This doesn’t have to be anything that cost money, in fact it’s better if it doesn’t! It can be getting out and taking a walk, telling someone “no not today I haven’t had time to rest and rejuvenate yet”, it’s amazing how much we over schedule ourselves these day. Just know that self-care can simply begin with the question “What do I need to do for myself to get through this day or this project or task”? But try to avoid unhealthy habits like depending on alcohol. While it’s okay to have a drink, it becomes an unhealthy habit or addiction when you depend on it to get you through your day.

For further information, mention this post at your next check in with your Counselor ☺

~ Dionne Moeller

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