Mentorship February 10, 2017
If you had to guess how much you’re worth as a person, how much would you say? One million? 10 million? If someone were to negotiate that number with you, how would that make you feel? In our business-minded and money-hungry society, that’s essentially what happens every time you negotiate your pay. However, you should never compare your self-worth with your net worth.
Self-worth can be defined as the feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect. Net worth is simply your material possessions like your house, cash and car. However, there does seem to be a clear correlation between self-worth and net worth.
Narcissism, consumerism, capitalism and all the other “isms” you can think of that affect daily life for the average American have ensured that nurturing one’s sense of self-worth has taken a backseat. The solution? According to Dr. Kristen Neff, the answer is to cultivate your sense of self-compassion.
“One thing about self-esteem is that it’s contingent on our material success,” Dr. Neff tells ENTITY. So often we base our self-worth on how much money we have, how well we’ve done in school, how many promotions we’ve got. But according to Neff, this is never a healthy way of measuring your happiness.
In fact, there will always be people in your lives who are better, smarter, stronger and faster than you. But instead of acknowledging the different levels of skills and abilities each person possesses, we all seek to be the best. However, as Neff explains, this isn’t logically possible. As a result of this thinking, a culture of narcissism grows and we start to put each other down so we can feel better about ourselves.
In a study conducted by the American Psychological Association, Dr. Jennifer Crocker, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, found that college students who based their self-worth on their performance in school tended to have more stress, anger, academic problems, relationship conflicts and had higher levels of drug and alcohol use and symptoms of eating disorders.
“We really think that if people could adopt goals not focused on their own self-esteem but on something larger than their self – such as what they can create or contribute to others – than they would be less susceptible to some of the negative effects of pursuing self-esteem,” Crocker says. “It’s about having a goal that is bigger than the self.”
In another academic study, “Money Beliefs and Financial Behaviors: Development of the Klontz Money Script Inventory,” Brad Klontz, a research associate professor at Kansas State University, found something interesting about people of the “money worshiping” mindset. “They believe money will solve all of your problems,” he says. Our inherent need to impress our friends or anyone we encounter drives this mindset, and as Klontz says, “This is the money belief pattern that afflicts the majority of Americans.”
So what happens when everything is so competitive, when we are constantly climbing that ladder in search of material wealth and yet never meet our personal standards? How do we maintain our self-esteem when we constantly feel like we’re losing?
Dr. Neff suggests that you “be kind to yourself.” Instead of berating yourself for your shortcomings, “treat yourself as you would a good friend,” she says. Stop bullying yourself and remember that you are a human being who has flaws, just like every other human being. Embrace them and learn to love them.
Most would agree that in our society, money runs everything. It is when we let money run our emotions that it becomes dangerous. Knowing that you are valuable seems to be less believable the more we become slaves to money. But never forget your true worth and your net worth will naturally follow suit.
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