If anyone can talk to you about self-worth it would be me. For a long time it was something I struggled with. More importantly, I think it is something we all struggle with. It takes time, experience and maturity to truly understand who you are and the power that you possess as an individual. We live in a very interesting time. We hear all the time about the importance of celebrating difference. Yet many of the messages that we are sent in society today encourage us to conform and copy the world around us. It can seem almost impossible at times to maintain your difference and not dumb down to comply with the culture. These are a few lessons I learned about honoring your worth and standing out in a world where difference is often devalued.

  1. You first have to know that you have worth. Years ago I did not understand the importance of this principle. I allowed people to use and abuse me as a human doormat. At the time I thought I was doing the right thing. We have to be honest for a moment. We all want to be liked and accepted by our peers. Everybody has a desire to fit in and belong. However, sometimes that desire for acceptance can be the greatest barrier to discovering your true worth and value. After a while, I totally lost myself and it was a low moment in my life. Slowly I started to pick up the pieces of my life and put it back together. However, the first step to change was understanding that I had worth. Your worth cannot come from what you do or the affirmation of other people. Your worth comes from the fact that you have been divinely planted in this world to fulfill a unique purpose. Understanding that your life has purpose and that you possess something valuable will totally transform the way that you look at your life.
  2. You must understand that failures and disappointments do not change your worth. I’ve experienced my share of failures. In fact, my business almost collapsed on three different occasions. I was feeling so many different emotions during that time. In addition, many of my critics were laughing and excited to see me failing. I learned an important lesson during that time. That very tumultuous season of my life taught me that setbacks and disappointments cannot alter my worth. I am thankful that I learned this lesson because we live in a world that is so afraid to fail. I made a quality decision to dust myself off and keep trying. Daily I affirmed my value and spoke declarations over my life about my potential and the possibilities for my life. Most of all, I made a clear distinction between failures and being a failure. Failure was never designed to frame your future. Failure is an opportunity to frame your focus and move in another direction. Affirming my worth carried me through that dark season of my life. Also, great mentors and coaches continued to remind me of my worth and that I was destined for greatness. In the midst of criticism and setbacks you must make the decision to not be moved. It may hurt and you may be uncomfortable. However, my setbacks empowered me to raise the standards for my life.
  3. You have to stop tolerating relationships that do not perceive your worth. I cannot tell you how many years I wasted trying to preserve relationships that were poisonous to my potential. When you are dealing with dysfunction internally you will also hold onto toxic relationships because of desperation. At the time, I was convinced that I could not do better and that is why I continued to tolerate relationships in my life that did not perceive my worth. However, as I got healthy in my soul I realized that those relationships were stunting my growth. You will always send your life in reverse when you accommodate relationships where you are not respected. You do not have to wonder why your life is not moving forward. Your friendships will always determine how far you go in life. Make a decision to break free from every coping mechanism in your life. Stop filling your life with useless relationships and connect with those that celebrate your uniqueness. Never make any person a priority in your world that cannot perceive your worth.
  4. You must make a lifelong commitment to honor your worth. Everyone looks at my life today and they marvel. I have been blessed with a lot of wisdom. However, a lot of experiences in my life have produced wisdom. I want you to understanding that worth is a lesson that will take you a lifetime to master. As much as I have learned about worth over the years, I still find myself at times having to go back to what I learned and reaffirm it. In other words, you cannot let a truth slip in your life and expect it to be sustained. Honoring your worth is a daily commitment that you must make to yourself. Never forget how powerful you are. Daily affirm that you were born with purpose and destined for greatness. If you do not keep this commitment people will always reduce you to common. Let me assure you that there is nothing common about your life. Honor your worth by cultivating the potential on the inside of you. Most of all, honor your worth by expressing your difference and empowering others to do the same.

Originally published at medium.com