Pictures in My Head
During our recent Mind Tools Twitter chat, @Achibe_life said: “One aspect of self-worth that’s not talked about often is the damage conformity can do to your self-image over time.” Indeed, during the last few years and months, I’ve become increasingly aware of the media’s influence on my own self-esteem.
I’ve had to fight that influence so that I can learn to accept myself at the same time as working hard to change myself – physically and mentally. When looking at my real-life “before” picture, it’s obvious that I had to do something about my weight for the sake of my health. However, only I know my struggle and anxiety from the time of the “after” photo to today.
Long after I had lost a lot of weight, I still regarded myself as “fat.” Why? Because the “perfect” women that I saw every day in print and digital media were very different from what I looked like. Their collarbones protruded, they had gigantic thigh gaps, they could show off their rib cages – I wasn’t like that at all.
In the same Tweet chat, @DreaVilleneuve said: “I think we cause people to question self-worth when we have a societal expectation of a norm they don’t fit.” I couldn’t agree more. And even the global fashion industry is beginning to change the false “norm” that it portrays.
While constantly thinking that I had to conform to such unattainable ideals, I could never feel worthy of a compliment. And I didn’t think that I deserved success, at home or at work.
How Are Self-Worth and Thought Awareness Connected?
During this latest #MTtalk, we explored the connection between how we think, what we say to ourselves, and how that leads us to feel and to perform. Here are all the questions that we asked during the chat, with some more of our followers’ responses.
Q1 What is self-worth? And what is low self-worth?
@SayItForwardNow Self-worth is our assessment of the value we bring to relationships & to our work. When it is low, we need to understand WHY?
@NBlairHRDigital Self-worth is the lens which you view yourself through. Low self-worth means that you don’t feel worthy of good things.
Q2 What is the effect, both personally and professionally, of persistently low self-worth?
@EdNavigation Impacts relationships, families, work. People either find you draining or prefer not to engage. And depression may emerge.
@tweetgayusri Persistent low self-worth is like having diamonds in hand and begging others for food.
Q3 How do you know when your self-worth or the self-worth of others has been affected? What are the signs?
@Yolande_MT Someone with affected self-worth is often critical. The less you like yourself the more you criticize other people.
@VinceSkolny There are as many manifestations of robbed self-worth as individuals robbed of it. One consistent behavior underlying them: those robbed of self-worth always seek approval from others.
You can find out more about how poor self-worth and negative thoughts can affect your success at work when you sign up for a month’s trial of the Mind Tools Club by midnight, September 28, and download a FREE copy of our new 70-page People Skills Toolkit. (Existing members can find out how to receive this free bonus in their forum, here.)
Q4 Are some people more susceptible to low self-worth than others? Why?
@SanabriaJav I think a person’s background such as their socioeconomic upbringing can affect their self-worth. There are many variables.
@Jikster2009 I believe we are all susceptible due to any given life event, however those who tend to suffer social anxiety/depression more so.
Many participants commented on the effects of what we hear about ourselves while growing up, including:
@harrisonia Yes! Those who grew up in (or still live in) abusive or emotionally unbalanced homes can be more susceptible to low self-worth.
Q5 Can you influence someone else’s self-worth, or only your own?
@WonderPix I think we can help fill others’ buckets, but they have to repair the holes so it doesn’t leak out.
@BrainBlenderTec You can influence someone’s self-worth by comments, gestures, or even expressions that build them up or tear them down.
Q6 What is thought awareness?
@JKatzaman Thought awareness is knowing you don’t operate in a vacuum. Your thoughts carry over to your actions, which cascade over others.
@d78stock Thought awareness – the ability to be aware of what your thoughts are (negative or positive), how they impact on self and others.
Q7 How can you become more aware of your predominant thought patterns?
@work_it_brum Self care. Is it daily list making? Is it meditating? It will be different for everyone, but taking the time will help you focus.
@MurrayAshley Through observing them and also trying to see what triggered them.
@MicheleDD_MT Get curious about what are the facts behind the story you are telling yourself. What’s really going on?
Q8 What’s the connection between self-worth, thought awareness and self-talk?
@Midgie_MT Negative self-talk can lower self-worth. When you are not aware of what is said, it can bring you down. Becoming aware helps.
@Jikster2009 They are all connected by our perceptions/mind talk and internal thought processing.
Q9 When and why should you pay extra attention to your self-talk?
@manavlalotra If the TALK is turning into NOISE – stop right there and clear the noise. Negative self-talk is as effective as positive, but it harms!
@KarlaRevolution During challenging times. This is when our thinking can be the worst. If we can change in those moments the rest are easy.
Q10 What helps you to shift the negative self-talk towards more positive self-talk?
@jeremypmurphy We must stop our meaningless complaining and fill our brains with confidence through positivity and inspiration.
@temekoruns It’s easier to shift negative thinking after recognizing there are other people in worse situations doing better.
@cdemgo Going over my diary and reviewing how I overcame challenges in the past. Journaling helps to reflect and maintain perspective.
Next time on #MTtalk…
When you know your self-worth, and can recognize the value of other people, it’s easier to get along with them. What do you think is most important when communicating to connect? Cast your vote in our poll over here.
In our next #MTtalk on Friday, September 29, our topic is “Connecting at Work.” To share your thoughts and ideas, please join us at 1 p.m. EDT/ 5 p.m. GMT/ 10:30 p.m. IST. Simply type #MTtalk in the Twitter search function. Then, click on “All Tweets” and you’ll be able to follow the live chat feed. To take part in the conversation, include #MTtalk in your tweet and it will show up in the chat feed.
Self-Worth and Thought Awareness Resources
In the meantime, here are some resources that will help you to learn more about self-worth and thought awareness: