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If Only I Knew My Worth…

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ~Albert Einstein

Looking back on my past, I see that I have spent most of my precious time striving to improve myself instead of celebrating the very gift of being alive and healthy. For many years, I though I wasn’t good enough, and perfection was my worst enemy.

I considered myself pretty but not beautiful, somewhat smart but not truly intelligent. In other words, I thought of myself as average, not outstanding. I grew up with the fear of getting bad grades in school because if I ever did, that would have made a new reason for me to feel ashamed and unworthy.

In the Eastern-European schooling system I grew up with, I was always compared to others and every day in school felt like a never-ending competition and fight for the glory of being the first in class. It was tough. I hardly had any free time to play, and most of my days were filled up with homework.

I spent quite a few years in school, including university. I held successful jobs in a big corporation, and I traveled the world with work. And I invested a lot of money, time, and energy into studying and growing in my career.

I’ve gotten to learn a lot about history, mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, literature, music, and foreign languages. Despite all that, there is one essential topic I would have liked the schooling system to prepare me for: how to know my own value.

So here’s what I didn’t realize at the time and what I know to be true today:

If only I knew my own worth…

I would have stopped focusing on my weaknesses, flaws, and imperfections without even being aware of my natural strengths, gifts, and talents.

I would have stopped fighting for perfection and punishing myself for every tiny mistake I might have made. I would have known that perfection was nothing but an illusion of the mind, and didn’t exist.

I would have acknowledged the hard work and efforts behind my achievements instead of attributing my accomplishments to luck or other people who gave me chances to succeed.

I would have stopped making myself small each time I achieved something good, as if “that wasn’t anything special” or “anyone else could have done it.”

I would have stopped taking myself for granted, being aware of the value I was going to bring to any of my employers with my personal set of skills and abilities. I could understand that getting paid for my knowledge was nothing but fair game. I would have found the courage to ask for a raise and negotiate my salary, and I would have never ended up underpaid.

I would have stopped comparing myself to others, and would have known that everyone is on their own journey. I could celebrate other people’s successes instead of fearing I might not earn the same amount of money or get the same amount of love. I would have understood that life doesn’t have to be a fight or an exhausting competition—that there is enough of everything and for everyone, including myself.

I would have felt at ease when praised by others, embracing compliments with grace. I wouldn’t have made myself small or put myself down as if I wasn’t worthy of such a celebration.

I wouldn’t have acted like a master of people pleasing, not daring to say no to the things I didn’t really want to do, fearing people wouldn’t like me any longer. I wouldn’t have felt like I owed anyone any apologies or any explanation for the way I was spending my time and with whom. My time means life and it’s never coming back.

I wouldn’t have expected others to make me happy, fulfill my needs, and keep my cup full of love, care, and attention. I wouldn’t have expected any man to make me feel valued, cherished, wanted, and loved, knowing that my happiness was my responsibility and every else was a bonus.

But despite all that, here’s the gain in pain, the blessing in disguise, and the real gift of my life experience:

I am convinced that we live in a smart, intelligent Universe where everything unfolds perfectly, and everything happens for a good reason.

I am not here to blame anyone for anything. I am not a victim. Society did the best it could at the time. So did my parents and my teachers. My life circumstances have nothing to do with my future, and I am the one co-creating my reality through how I think, act, and feel. It is my birthright to be happy, only because I am human. I am here to grow and learn more about life and myself.

It is never too late to step into my power and feel worthy of the best things life has to offer: good health, love, and abundance. When I value myself, others will value me as well.

Today, I know I couldn’t do my empowering work in the world from a place of authenticity and power without going through such a disempowered experience myself. There is no light without darkness.

I stopped explaining myself for what I want and for who I am. I am not afraid to step into my greatness. I am perfectly beautiful and beautifully imperfect, and this allows me to be me. I have learned how to love and approve of myself, exactly the way I am.

I have come to realize that in life, we don’t always get what we want because we only pursue what we think we deserve. That’s why it’s crucial that we believe in ourselves and see ourselves as enough and worthy of the best things life has to offer.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” ~Henry Ford

About Sara Fabian

Sara Fabian is a women’s career and empowerment coach and inspirational speaker, on a mission to help professional women to discover their unique strengths, gifts and talents, boost their confidence, find their calling and live a meaningful life of purpose. For weekly inspiration, subscribe to her free newsletter at sarafabiancoaching.com or follow her on Facebook.

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  • Lee Delong

    All Well Said.

  • Boranya Saikia

    Thank you so much for your powerful words. Reading this well crafted piece made me feel so empowered. I am truly grateful to you. Lots of love to you ❤

  • Sara Fabian

    Thank you, Boranya, I’m glad it helps. Blessings!

  • I’ve created a couple email accounts that my sons will get access to when they turn 18 (they are 6 & 10 today). I send thoughts and perspectives on the separation between me and their mom, advise and general life guidance that I hope they will understand, take to heart, and grow from. Your article is so dead on with my own journey and experiences, that I cannot do anything less than send it to them, in it’s entirety. It’s simply beautiful. I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am for your thought and reflection from your own growth. Thank you so much.

  • Linda Helikson

    This article is so so true. And I love the Dad that is keeping an email account of life lessons for his kids when they are 18. What a fabulous idea. Again loved this article and will print it off and read it often.

  • kiki taube-hansen

    Thank you Sara, you are so true <3

  • Well written Sara. I too have grown up with same fear that results from competing for grades rather than focusing on true learning and finding more meaning in what we do. This is part of Indian education system as well. What I have realised is that our true value is realised by treating ourself with respect, not beating ourself up for mistakes and focussing on true growth daily. Thank you for sharing.

  • Sara Fabian

    Thank you, Monik. I agree. We are all products of the societies we grew up in. And it’s never too late to reinvent ourselves and live a meaningful life of purpose. Blessings!

  • Sara Fabian

    Thank you, Kiki. Take care.

  • Sara Fabian

    Thank you, Linda. I’m glad it resonates. Blessings!

  • Sara Fabian

    Thank you so much, I feel honored. Blessings!

  • Sara Fabian

    Thank you, Lee.

  • yup. Totally Sara. Keep up the good work..!!

  • e_monster

    Self-worth, as a part of greater emotional intelligence, is a worthy topic worth exploring in concert with traditional academics.

  • Knowing and understanding my self-worth is something I am currently working on now, so reading this was truly refreshing. As you go through life’s knocks, it is sometimes hard to remember that you are enough and that, even though your gifts may be different from someone else’s, you have your own strengths and value too. Thank you for sharing, Sara. I would do well to read this every morning before I step out into the world.

  • Ryon Fink

    Was there a specific way in which you found your self-worth? Are there potential steps or practices with meditation that can help you find your self-worth? Just how did you find your self-worth exactly, and can those techniques be helpful to others who may need guidance towards becoming ones greatest self? I hope you dont mind the questions, i just need insight on this because im very clouded in my mindset as of right now. Reason being, i was cheated on once again by a girl who cheated on me once before and i gave her another chance and that didn’t seem to work very well. We broke up and it makes me feel as if i may not be worth what i put out. I was sweet and kind and made her happy and yet i don’t see my self-worthiness to be very high because of this. Please help me, im confused and need to clear my mind and become who i truly am. Thank you for this by the way im glad i saw it, i know it will help me when im fully finished.

  • Sara Fabian

    Hi Ryon, thank you for sharing. What helped me a lot to perceive myself worthy of the best things life has to offer (including love) was to detach myself of other people’s opinions of me. Know that feedback is subjective, it’s nothing but a personal opinion and not the absolute truth. I suggest you stop looking for self-validation through any other person (including girlfriends), and see what happens. If your girlfriend cheated on you even twice, that could have nothing to do with you and 100% to do with her and her own struggles. To sum-up, here’s the instrument I could offer: stop validating your own worth through what other people feel or think about you. Blessings!

  • Sara Fabian

    Thank you, Michael. I’m glad it helps. Blessings!

  • indyjon

    Great words Sara – very empowering! I am still learning how to reach this state for myself.

  • Your story is such a motivation especially to people including myself that is having hard time understanding life and experiences. I believe that our self worth should not depend on people’s opinion because as what you’ve said it’s not the truth. We run our lives. That’s why from now on I will not be affected to what people will say about me and start loving and appreciating every bit of myself as well as to share love. Thank you.

  • Sara Fabian

    Yes! In your life, you are the Pilot. Blessings!

  • Diana

    It isn’t often that I read something and truly relate to it. We have the same inner dialogue.

  • Kolyanne Russ

    Hey Sara, great article. I love this topic a lot as I can related to during my years of being compared to my siblings, though my family thought it was an encouragement do to better but what they didn’t know was how low I felt every day. Knowing your self worth is something everyone should strive toward before focusing on other challenges in life. Thanks for the amazing article.