Self-Esteem’s Nemesis: “Deserve”

If I could give only one piece of insight to a person asking me about Self-Esteem and Self-Worth it would be this:  Swap the word “deserve” for “worth” in your vocabulary.

It’s a simple distinction verbally, and yet within our amazing mind’s and bodies, the difference is like night and day.

The Danger of “Deserve” 

When we say we deserve something, no matter what “it” is, what we are really saying is that we’ve done something to earn said “it.”  Literally.  The dictionary defines deserve as: [verb] “do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment)”

Basically, when we use the word “deserve” we’re are teaching our bodies, and our minds, that our worth comes from the things we do.  The way we act.  The choices we make. The amount we give.

It sets up a sort of quid pro quo within ourselves, that our value is based on giving and then receiving.  That our value exists only in relation to other external things and/or people.  That we have to give in order to have worth, and that our worth is measured by what we get back. 

In other words, we can give until we are empty, homeless, exhausted, totally depleted and if we don’t get back something that fills us up, makes us feel valuable, or is equal to the amount we’ve given then our internal belief becomes that we haven’t worked hard enough, we haven’t earned our value, and therefore we have no worth.

Scary, right?!

The Value in “Worth”

On the other hand, when we say we are “worth” something, we are saying to our minds and bodies that we, beautiful, flawed, unique, authentic us- have value, and we are worth said it.

Check out the definition for worth: [adjective] 1. are equal to particular amount 2. important enough to justify something

Do ya see the difference?

When we are worth something, we are “important enough to justify” it.  We get to have said it because we. are. valuable.  We, us, who we are just because we are alive, have value.  We are important.  We matter.

We are worth being treated with respect.

We are worth having nice things happen to us.

We are worth being paid attention to.

We are worth being loved.

We are worthy of love from ourselves.  From our families.  From life.  We, just as we are, not because of what we do, are worth love.

So, start Today.  Start the process of learning to see your value by removing the word “deserve” from your vocabulary, and embracing your worth.  You, yes YOU, are important enough to justify this swap. You matter.  You are worth love.



Self-Esteem: Learning to Love Ourselves


While poking around Twitter this weekend, I came across this question directed at @DeepakChopra:

“How do you make yourself believe that you are worthy ? X” ~@WamserC

First let me say, I do not know, personally or via twitter, @WamserC so I can’t speak to what she meant by this question.  And, I am in no way shape or form trying to assume what she meant by this question.  I am simply sharing my personal reaction to stumbling upon such a profound question. 

The simplest answer to this HUGE question is this: You can’t.  You cannot make yourself believe that you are worthy.

Self-Worth is not about willpower, disciple, or working harder.  Self-Worth is about love.  It’s about compassion.  It’s the relationship we have with ourselves.

Creating a Loving Relationship

What makes a loving relationship?  Ever considered this before?

Does a loving relationship appear out of thin air?  Or is it something that we cultivate, nurture, put time and energy into?  For most of us, it’s the latter.  Now yes, there may be an initial *spark,* something that fuels the desire to get to know this person better; but it’s the getting to know the person that creates, and fortifies, the relationship, not the initial spark.

It’s discovering all the things we have in common with someone, the things we admire about them, the way they comfort us, support us, make us feel valued.  It’s uncovering the ways, and reasons, that we respect them, getting to know their insecurities, understanding what their life has been like and how they’ve ended up here, at this moment in time, as this person that solidifies our relationship with them…. that reveals their value to us, and makes their worth so crystal clear to us.

So why do we think it would be any different for learning to recognize our own Self-Worth?

Learning to Love Ourselves

We’d never dream of judging, loathing, yelling at, or putting down someone we want to have a relationship with.  Yet, for most of us, this- judging, loathing, criticizing- is exactly how we try to make ourselves see our own Self-Worth.

We try (desperately at times) to shame ourselves into seeing our beauty. 

How many happy relationships do you have that are based on shame?

Learning to treat ourselves with the same respect, curiosity, and compassion we treat other people with is how we begin to reconnect with our Self-Worth.

We begin to feel worth-it when we treat ourselves as worth-it.

In other words, we learn to believe that we are worthy when we stop trying to shame ourselves into believing we are worthy, or make ourselves believe we have worth, and start getting to know ourselves.

The very act of getting curious about us, about our experience, and our unsureness of our Self-Worth is showing ourselves compassion.  Is creating a loving relationship with ourselves.  Is valuing ourselves.  Is how we begin to feel our Self-Worth.  And once we feel our Self-Worth, believing it is effortless.