We often converse about experiences that develop as we grow from childhood to adulthood. This is to say that we are deeply affected by the image we build for ourselves, through experiences with people and different situations.  These external factors form a foundation for shaping your self-esteem, which is ultimately the root of self-worth.  

Self-worth is oftentimes confused with self-esteem in that the state of affairs in one’s life, initially experienced as a child, may lead to struggles with feelings of worthlessness as an adult. Constant judgment and self-criticism have the immense potential to cast a gloom upon personal values and expectations of life. In a nutshell, low self-worth causes internal conflict – when you are exceptionally self-critical and have an unfortunate negative opinion of yourself.

Healthy self-worth is important because it influences your emotional health and overall mental wellness. When your self-concept is noxious, it will be difficult to cope with adversity in a positive manner. Quite frankly, we all need to be assertive in cultivating strong coping skills while simultaneously eliminating enmeshed negativity. The ultimate goal is to nourish self-compassion, which ensures that you always manifest real worth. People with low self-worth often criticize themselves and their abilities, fixate on mistakes, and/or disregard compliments or positive qualities. Cognitive Psychology invokes that people who struggle with “Cognitive Dissonance” focus on what they didn’t do, or what other people seem to do or have.  

There are a few intriguing ways to better function when managing the detrimental effects of logical inconsistency. In an effort to build and protect your self-worth, I should first introduce this unfamiliar Cognitive Psychology theory, Cognitive Dissonance (CD). Just so there isn’t any misconception, the CD is NOT an illness or disease. It is actually a psychological prodigy, developed during the 1950s, and it can happen to anyone.  

CD is the discomfort you feel when your behavior doesn’t align with your beliefs or values. This is a mental conflict one experiences and it generally results in feelings of unease and emotional distress. For young people, this might involve aligning with that thing called peer pressure. As adults, we may engage in behaviors that oppose our own beliefs, therefore totally discrediting claimed integrity. This usually occurs at work or in social situations. That said when you are feeling forced to act “unlike you” experiencing clashing thoughts, or even making unprecedented decisions, always safeguard your self-worth.

So, how do you sustain and elevate self-worth despite moments of dissonance? 

  • BE MINDFUL – Always be mindful of your cognitive inconsistencies and how you Respond.
  • BE A CONTENDER – Identify inconsistent beliefs and Challenge them
  •  BE CLEAR – Recognize the difference you make and safeguard positive Self-Worth

The underlying tension that happens when behavior is inconsistent with your values and beliefs is the absolute motivator for change. It is time to be surgical in efforts to maintain meaningfulness… stay true to everything that makes you and represents who you are, and most importantly, be comfortable with who you are!

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