Friday, 2 March 2018

Evaluating your self-worth

Talking up our skills to other people and shouting about our achievements is not very British! As a nation we have a tendency to be understated and reserved. However, it's important that we have a reliable appreciation of what we're capable of so that we have a fair evaluation of our self-worth.

As this article in PsychAlive outlines, the key to appreciating your self-worth lies in not comparing your journey to that of others. It talks about the difference between self-worth and self-esteem and how they’re intrinsically linked. In a work situation, having a realistic view of your own self-worth is key to getting the recognition you deserve.

We all have some sort of measuring stick that we use to determine our value. We feel good when we feel we’re measuring up, but our self-worth can plummet if we feel we’ve fallen short. There are different measures that people use to measure their self-worth at work – and they’re often very different to how we measure ourselves in our personal lives.

The people we mix with

If you’re someone who needs the validation and praise from others to feel successful, your choice of who you associate with can have a big bearing on your own self-worth. Measuring your own self-worth on the basis of other people’s opinions is a risky situation. You can’t control other people and you can’t please everyone all the time. If you base your self-worth entirely upon how others perceive you, you’ll never be able to receive enough praise or positive reinforcement to feel good about yourself.

The title we connect with

Basing your self-worth on the job you do is also a big risk. Have you noticed how some people focus on job titles? Perhaps you're one of them? But just think about it. All it takes is a health problem or unexpected shift in the job market before your self-worth takes a hit. Even a planned retirement or career break, to have a child for example, could wreak havoc on your self-worth if your identity is wholly tied to your job title.

The achievements we’re associated with

Sometimes people want to be known solely for their accomplishments. Conversely, other people can’t stop beating themselves up about the one time they failed or didn’t achieve what they set out to do. It’s normal to want to celebrate and share our accomplishments with colleagues, however, basing our entire self-worth on them is a shaky practice. You’ll need to repeat success in order to feel good about yourself – and that’s hard to maintain.

The Rosenberg self-esteem scale (RSES), developed by sociologist Dr. Morris Rosenberg is a measure widely used in social-science research. It uses a scale of 0-30 where a score less than 15 may indicate a problematic low self-worth. You can try a free version of it here.

Regardless of your results, the best advice would always be to measure yourself according to who you are, not what you do or your external actions. That’s the only way to ensure consistency and make sure that you stay in control. We like the tips shared in this Psychology Today article to boost self-esteem.

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