It always strikes me when I see someone try to reassure someone else of their worth by listing their positive qualities. 

I think we get it in our heads that if we feel worthless, it’s because our positive qualities have been overlooked or obscured. 

The problem I have with this is, it still buys into the idea that we ONLY have worth if we’re ABLE to list positive qualities. 

I just don’t believe that our worth derives from a checklist of positive qualities. 

Yes, it’s really nice to have our positive qualities acknowledged. 

Yes, it’s absolutely true that our positive qualities are often overlooked or minimized. 

But it’s not our positive qualities that GIVE us worth. 

A person who has 40 positive qualities doesn’t have more worth than someone who only has 39— and by the way, who is assessing and judging these “positive qualities,” anyway? 

What might be considered a positive quality to one person may not necessarily be a positive quality to another person…so does that mean someone’s worth actually fluctuates, based on who is tallying up the positive qualities? 

When we’re talking about an issue as fundamental as worth, I just don’t believe it’s in the eye of the beholder. 

I think human beings have inherent worth, that can’t be diminished when our subjective checklist of positive qualities diminishes for whatever reason. 

Over the course of our lives, we’re going to lose and gain certain capacities. 

Most of us are more capable as adults than we were as children, simply because we tend to be bigger, stronger, and our brains are more developed. 

Does that mean we’re more worthy as adults than we are as children? I don’t think so. 

Most people experience some form of diminished capabilities as we grow older. Often in adulthood we’re less physically fit than when we were teenagers. Often in older adulthood some of our senses, such as our eyesight, aren’t as acute as when we were younger adults. 

Does that mean we actually lose worth as we grow older? I don’t think so. 

At some points in our life we’re less capable because we’re struggling with something— depression or anxiety or a physical injury or illness. 

Does that make us less worthy when we’re suffering? 

No. We are not less worthy when we are suffering. 

In order to build realistic self-esteem, we need to START from the premise that we are worthy. 

No conditions. No exceptions. 

We are worthy of life, we are worthy of love, we are worthy of happiness. 

What MAKES us worthy, though? 

It doesn’t matter. 

Really. It doesn’t. 

We have to get out of this mindset that we are ONLY “worthy” of something if we have “earned” it. 

How does one “earn” the right to breathe? If we’re alive, we’re going to breathe. 

How does one “earn” the right to love? If we’re alive, we’re going to love. 

How does one “earn” the right to be loved? If we’re alive, we’re going to be loved…or, at the very least, we cannot STOP someone from loving us because we’re “not worthy” of it. 

(We might be able to stop them from expressing that love, but we don’t get a say in who somebody else loves or doesn’t love simply because of how we feel about ourselves.) 

Don’t get up in your head about whether you are “worthy.” 

Turning “worthiness” into a game of checking items off a list will lead you on a pointless quest to “prove” you are “worthy”…when the truth is, even if you “proved” you were “worthy” by some standard, there will always be other standards by which you’re “unworthy.” 

Just accept the premise that you are worthy. 

Give yourself the benefit of that doubt. 

And treat yourself like you are, in fact, worthy— of life, of self-respect, of self-love. 

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