How to intentionally develop self-worth and teach others to treat you well with how you treat yourself. The importance of understanding that no one is going to value you more than you value yourself.
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In this episode we’ll be talking about something that is critical to your happiness – self-worth.
As parents, partners, and good workers we can be so focused on taking care of other people that we often fall into habits of neglecting ourselves in small ways that can really start to add up and get in our way.
When you lose track of your self-worth and stop doing the things you love – the things that make your heart happy! – you lose a little bit of what makes you – YOU! You lose a little of your spark. And that’s not good for you or anyone else!
You can decide how you want to be treated and the best place to start is with the way you respect and treat yourself.
Listen in today as I share the 7 Secrets of Women Who Value Themselves. This is what I aspire to and I hope it gives you something to reach for as well.
As always, my goal is to make it quicker and easier for you to access more ease, joy, and intention in your life…because happy looks really, really good!
This week’s FREE BONUS CONTENT walks you through 4 Steps To Define Your Personal Code. Because when you know yourself, what you want, and what your priorities are – it’s easier to make decisions that are true to your values and develop a strong sense of self-worth.
Welcome to the Style With Intention podcast, where we talk about how to use your personal style choices as a tool to create a life you love.
We believe choice is empowering, complacency is boring, and happy looks really, really good!
I’m your host, Annie Kip, and today we’re talking about self-worth and the secrets of women who value themselves.
This is something I’ve struggled with over the years and I know that a lot of women, in particular have trouble with this. As parents, partners and good workers we can be so focused on taking care of other people, that we fall into little habits of neglecting ourselves.
When you don’t value yourself and do the things that make your heart happy you lose a bit of what makes you – YOU.
You might tell yourself that you don’t want to take the time for yourself or spend the money on yourself, but I think that time and money can become an excuse we use to justify why we aren’t looking after ourselves. It’s a lot easier to say we don’t have the time or money than to really look at why we aren’t doing something for ourselves.
I know when you really care about something for other people or for your kids, you make sure it happens – no matter what – so I want to encourage you to put yourself in that category – of being really important. Of valuing yourself.
To help you get there, I’m going to share with you today 7 secrets of women who value themselves that I aspire to and may give you something to reach for as well.
Losing track of your self-worth definitely starts from a good place – we all want to be nice and thoughtful and not selfish. It’s how to be a team player. You put the needs of the group ahead of your own preferences.
I know you’ve probably seen yourself do this – it can be as subtle as just not speaking up when you want to do something – like go to an event – because it might inconvenience other people. Or you don’t say what you really need – like help at work or at home, because you tell yourself it’s just easier to do it yourself. You might need some space or fun in your life – but you don’t feel that it’s fair to take time to be alone or hang out with your friends when there are people who need you.
Losing track of your self-worth in small ways can spread out from just denying yourself little things into not saying what you need in a relationship. You might hope that the important people in your life will love you enough to just know what means something to you. Maybe you’re not asking for what you want because it would feel worse to ask for exactly what you want or need – and not get it.
We tell ourselves that being happy with what we have is what team players do – so we put a smile on our faces, we try to be grateful and make do, and we don’t speak up and we don’t go after what we really want..
Another way this happens is that we get sort of attached to a idea of ourselves as independent, competent, and not needing anything from anyone – which can make it feel really, really vulnerable and risky to actually ask for something.
I know I’ve fallen into thinking that I’m just “getting along” or being flexible or easy – but when you always put your preferences last, it doesn’t benefit anyone.
Your kids don’t want a doormat – well, maybe they think they do – but really, I think our kids are looking to us as examples of what adult life is like. They see how we manage our lives – they really do notice how happy we are and it impacts their expectations. You aren’t doing them any favors by living in a way that diminishes you.
I also think that this is one of the reasons why relationships start to feel stale after a while.
It starts from a really good place – because it feels good to love other people and take care of our partners and we’re willing to do whatever we can to make the people we love happy.
But when this turns into you slipping in your self-worth – for instance, not saying what you want – either because you think you’re being strong or you aren’t willing to be vulnerable – if you’re putting yourself last every single time and not saying what really matters to you, it’s going to affect the quality of your relationship.
Eventually, in spite of your noble, selfless efforts to make other people happy at your own expense – you may actually become less appealing to your partner and lose the respect of your kids.
I learned about self-worth the hard way and so I wanted to share a little bit about how I got to where I am today.
When I first got married, I was the breadwinner – and I was proud of my career. I felt valued at work and at home. I worked for Nike and later for Ralph Lauren – I worked on the team that designed and merchandised the retail spaces and flagship stores, called NikeTowns. It let me use my creativity, I got to travel to cool places, interact with professional athletes and other people who were super interesting. I loved working and it was a big part of my identity at the time.
My husband really seemed to admire me and he appreciated that I worked hard and made a good living. This felt great to me.
When my first child was born, many things were shifting in our lives, we were moving, he was going back to school – and it just made more sense for me to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband really appreciated my flexibility and my willingness to put my career on the back burner – and so I felt valued in this way as well.
Over the years, more kids came along and my husband’s career took off – his income increased, he was rubbing elbows with important people. He was working hard and he really needed to be focused on his career – so I took on most of the home responsibilities.
He was really busy and I didn’t feel I could ask for help from him – I didn’t even feel like I could ask for his attention because I wanted what little energy he had left over to go to the kids. So I was really stretched thin and his job was really the priority and everything revolved around his needs and availability – and what I was doing was not only less interesting, but it really seemed less important.
I wanted it to be different. I wanted him to value me. I actually begged and pleaded, which only made me feel worse about myself. He was working hard, but also having fun with the people he worked with – who didn’t have baby food on their clothes, who wore makeup everyday, and cute dresses, and had interesting work and travel to talk about.
I was at a pretty low point – in the trenches with my 3 kids born in under 4 years – and I was feeling sort of lost and forgotten.
My self-worth was not healthy. I was hoping my life would become what I wanted it to be – but I was starting to see that it might never be different if I kept waiting.
It was right around 9/11 – which I shared about in episode 7 – that my perspective started to change- maybe it was seeing that our lives could change so quickly or maybe I realized that we don’t really know how much time we have.
And it occurred to me that if my life just kept going in this direction, I might turn 80 someday and look back and see that I had been a really, really good compromiser.
I didn’t want this for myself!
So I started making small choices that were more in line with the vision I had for myself and my family. It started with just a pretty mug for my coffee – giving myself something that made me feel special everyday. I did other little things that made me feel good – like getting a haircut and I started wearing clothes that made me feel a little better. Then I found a YMCA that provided child care so I could take an aerobics class.
I stopped waiting for help and started taking the kids places on my own, going out in nature and hiking because I liked hiking. I started creating traditions because that was important to me. I started to fit in projects that mattered to me – like painting rooms and doing the creative projects I wanted to do (that didn’t involve cheerio’s and macaroni!). I used naptimes and any other sliver of time I could find. (I remember that I discovered coffee ice cream actually had caffeine in it – when I was snacking on it and found I was able to stay up all night, painting a room).
I actually took the kids on vacation by myself, which was a huge accomplishment and felt like another big turning point. I planned it out and made sure I was in a place that was manageable with 3 kids – it was actually a little scary because there was a pool and not very relaxing for me (and I had my moments of losing my temper for sure!), but overall it was fun memory for them and a boost to my self-worth. It was a difficult thing to do, but it made me feel really proud of myself so I look back on it as a good thing!
My husband was always invited and welcome to join us – but I didn’t let his unwillingness to do things keep me from doing things anymore. I was doing what I thought was right for me and my kids, what I needed to do to be happy and feel good about myself as a mom – and I started to feel much better.
In fact, I’d been doing it by myself for years – and resisting it – which made it much harder. Making the choice to do it on my own – was much more empowering.
I realized that I was in charge of how I felt about my circumstances and what I did with them.
In the end, it doesn’t do us any good to blame other people for how we feel. Even when it seems like it’s totally someone else’s fault, we have to take some ownership of what happens to us – and make a shift it is doesn’t feel good. This is where the power is. You can decide how you want to be treated and then treat yourself that way.
I forgot about my sense of self-worth at one point in my life. Maybe this happens to all young mothers – I don’t know – but it can happen at any point in our lives. You can lose track of your sense of self and your value when you’re changing jobs, or sending kids off to college, or even when your life has been stable and steady for a long time.
I hope you have someone in your life who makes you feel appreciated and loved and valued no matter what – but it’s important to be able to do it for yourself as well.
The good news is that it’s always possible to pivot and start valuing yourself again. It’s a muscle you can work and get stronger.
In thinking about this, I came up with a list of the 7 qualities I believe women who have a strong sense of self-worth and value themselves have. These are the attributes I aspire to myself – and I’m better at some than others – but I keep reaching for them. I hope they’ll give you something to reach for as well.
Some of these attributes may have resonated with you – we’re all good at some of them and we’re going to be better at some things at different points in our lives. I know I’ve seen my sense of self-worth fluctuate and adjust over the years. Many times, I have had to pivot and try something new to find the place that feels like truly, solidly valuing myself, not just defending myself.
When you truly value yourself and have a strong sense of self-worth – you 1) follow your gut, 2) you speak your truth, 3) you don’t compare yourself to others, 4) you are generous, 5) you don’t let your past determine your future, 6) you are open to new experiences, 7) you teach other people how to treat you by setting an example with how you treat yourself.
I’ve learned a lot of these lessons the hard way and truthfully, I’m still learning them as I raise teenagers and navigate my relationships with my young adult children and ex-spouse and the beau.
If you’re at a low point in your self-worth, like I was when my kids were little, I want to help you get a jump start. I want to give you a way to get yourself out of that rut and into a different frame of mind.
Having your core values figured out first can really help.
For this episode’s FREE BONUS CONTENT, we came up with 4 Steps To Define Your Personal Code which will give you an easy way to make an improvement in how you value yourself right now. It will help you define what’s important to you, so you will be able to start making the small choices that will move you in a direction that feels clear.
Even if you’re in a good place right now, I think you’ll enjoy clarifying what matters to you and having a framework for making choices and balancing your priorities. You may discover things you didn’t know about yourself!
As always, thanks for listening today!
I’ll catch you next week – bye-bye for now!
Header image: Christiana Rivers