You Matter: Taking Stock of Your Value

RAFT Team, December 23, 2019

Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and admire who you are? Do you welcome the crow’s feet, the gray hairs that keep popping up, and the freckles? How about who you are on the inside? Do you admire your heart? How quickly you smile?

If you’re rolling your eyes at the thought, you’re not alone. It’s difficult to value ourselves, especially when we’re working, taking care of home and family, and maintaining relationships. Every day might feel like survival.

Here's the thing: when we don’t value ourselves, most other people don’t value us either.

We get stuck in bad relationships and make poor choices in developing new relationships. We spend our time chasing after approval instead of experiencing joy. We over-commit. And we end up worn out, unhappy, and never quite where we think we should be. While self-worth doesn’t guarantee great relationships and never-ending happiness, it certainly gets you on the road in the right direction. And brings a lot more satisfaction on a daily basis. 

How do you go about boosting your view of yourself? How can you take stock of your own value and appreciate who you are and what you bring to the world? Here’s the key:

Knowing your value means knowing what you value most. 

We talk about this in our boundaries class. We teach the 3-step process to a healthy no. And we talk about self-care and why it’s so important. It all boils down to knowing your values and then confidently acting on them. A great way to uncover these values is by looking at four critical areas.

You show your values in how you spend your time.

Are you forever obligating yourself to things you don’t want to do? If you find you can’t say no without feeling guilt or anxiety, take a hard look at your boundaries. Your time is your most valuable asset. Once spent, you don’t get it back. But each minute you spend can be an investment into a life you love. Here are a few questions to ask yourself about how you spend your time:

  • Am I taking care of my body? 
  • Am I getting the rest I need?
  • Am I investing in the relationships I value?
  • Am I remaining present in each moment?

It’s difficult to ask ourselves these questions. It’s even more difficult to answer them honestly. If your answers don’t satisfy, take some time to find out what you can do to take yourself one step in a different direction. You didn’t get here overnight so you won’t change it all in a moment. Before you put another obligation on your calendar or say yes to another after-hours work project, ask yourself if this is how you want to spend your time. You can explain going to bed early by saying,  “Oh, I already have plans that evening.” Remember, running ragged doesn’t help anyone. Taking care of yourself allows you to take care of the people around you. 

You show your values in how you spend your gifts.

We each have an allotment of gifts in this life. You might be crazy good at organizing. Connecting people. Seeing the unseen need. Baking. The list is endless. But before we talk about how we spend our gifts, let’s make sure you know you have gifts. What brings you joy? What fuels your passion and gets you out of bed even when it’s still dark outside? If you’re stumped, ask a friend. There’s a good chance they see you in a different — and beautiful — light than you see yourself. 

When you’ve got a good handle on what your gift is, consider the ways you use it. There’s an old saying that the cobbler’s kids have no shoes. Don’t let your loved ones be the ones who miss out on your gifts! And don’t forget to treat yourself to your gifts!

  • Can I identify my gifts?
  • Am I making time to pursue my gifts?
  • Who is experiencing my gifts?

You show your values in how you visualize your future.

Are you stuck in a rut and have no hope that anything will change? Do you feel you’re always tired, your relationships are sticky, and you never have time to do what you want? This doesn’t have to be! You can dream about your future and start making plans today to pursue the things you value. You can go to bed 15 minutes earlier. And you can set aside 15 minutes to talk with your partner or your kids to strengthen that relationship. And you can set aside 15 minutes this next week to do something that fills you up. You may have to say no to something else, but small steps in the right direction can make for a fantastic journey. 

  • Do I have a positive view of the future?
  • Am I taking steps today to pursue my future?

You show your values in how you share your heart.

It can be difficult to open our hearts and get vulnerable, even with those we care about. But the benefit is worth the effort. Express gratitude. Smile. Hug. When you want something, be bold enough to state it rather than hoping someone will guess. When someone treats you in a way that bothers you, have that difficult conversation to work through that behavior. You deserve to be treated the way you treat others. You deserve respect. Accepting anything less is telling the world that you aren’t worth the effort. 

  • Do I have a habit of gratitude?
  • Can I express my desires?
  • Am I willing to have difficult conversations?

When you learn to value yourself, your time, your gifts, and your future, transformation happens. Don’t spend your days pursuing things that aren’t important to you. And don’t waste your time chasing approval from the people. Be kind to yourself. Value who you are and who you’re becoming — this self-care makes for a delightful life.