Happy new year everyone! 2017 is officially here and this is the time when many people set goals or resolutions to make this year better than the last. These resolutions often center around things like money or physical health (weight, exercise, and nutrition). As I thought about the “typical resolutions,” I found myself wondering how many people set goals around their mental health? How many of you set goals to be happier this year or to discover and embrace your value as a person?
No matter what our strengths or weaknesses, we all have value.
Origin of Value
We all have a personal story that is uniquely ours. This story is made up of our past experiences and the messages we received as we lived through these experiences. Even if two people live through the same experiences, their story is shaped in a different way, influenced by their own thoughts and feelings about the experience. It is not the experience alone that shapes who we are, but our perception of the experience that changes the factual data into facets of our very being. All of the significant events in your life, and your perception of those events, has contributed to how you see yourself and the value that you believe you hold.
Considering the events and your perceptions of those events that have shaped you, what do you notice? Where is your focus placed? Is it on the negative qualities and beliefs or is it on the positive qualities and beliefs? What you focus on makes a real difference in your perceived value. If you focus more on the negative, or on your weaknesses, you may perceive your value as low. However, if you focus more on the positive, or on your strengths, you may perceive your value as quite high. For many people, it is way more difficult to notice and focus on the positive. The result is somewhat low self-esteem and perceived personal value. Take a minute to think of your positive qualities. Really focus on them. Do you believe those qualities to be true? What would it take to shift your focus more to the positive than the negative? What difference do you think this would make in your life if you were able to shift your focus slightly more positive?
What is Your Value?
We all sometimes question our value. We wonder if we really are “good enough,” or if there is something within us that is so flawed that it is beyond repair. The simple fact of the matter is, we all have so-called “weaknesses,” things that we could do better. However, this does not mean your value is less than anyone else’s. It is my firm belief that all people have value and are worthy of love and respect. Would you tell a friend that they are worthless, that their value is less than another friend’s value? Of course not. Everyone is valuable, and no one is born more or less valuable than anyone else.
Challenging Your Limiting Beliefs
It is our thoughts that mislead us into thinking that we are worthless or less valuable than anyone else, and if we listen to those thoughts for too long, they turn into beliefs and are accepted as truth. Rather than simply accepting the thought as truth, I encourage you to challenge it. Question the thought. Talk back to it. If you notice your thoughts telling you that you aren’t “good enough,” that you are “stupid” or worthless, tell that voice in your head to stop. Think about what you would tell a friend if they said those things to you and then say it out loud to yourself. Remind yourself that you are valuable, that you are “enough,” and that you are worthy of believing so. If you find that this is particularly difficult and you can’t seem to believe the words you are using to counter your limiting beliefs, try practicing daily gratitude and positive affirmations. List three things every day that you are grateful for, and choose a few positive affirmations (encouraging, positive words or phrases) that you will repeat to yourself a few times a day.
So as we kick-off 2017, why not set goals about challenging the thoughts and beliefs that limit your value? Doing so may just lead to a happier and healthier year.