It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this account, mostly due to the hectic nature of my life as a senior in college. However, I’m on break right now and in light of some recent events I want to discuss individual self-worth and how the opinions of others do not fluctuate that self worth.
As a human, we all naturally have self-worth. We are taught both consciously and subconsciously from a young age that appearance has a lot to do with measuring this worth. Whether people find you attractive, whether you fit into the right clothes, whether you fit a certain stereotype. Although physical attributes are often evaluated, these evaluations have no impact on your actual self worth. For example, one person may find me attractive while another may not. Neither of those things makes me better or worse, because they don’t fluctuate your worth.
A person has self-worth whether they have “desirable” characteristics or not, being physical or inner. What someone thinks of you has no bearing on your actual worth. What you look like outwardly has no bearing on your worth. We are taught that skinny is good, and that pretty is good, and that long hair is good, and that following gender norms is good. But if you don’t do those things or aren’t those things it doesn’t make your worth as an individual go down. Not being conventionally attractive or not being “skinny enough” *insert eye roll here* does not make you worth less.
It is important to challenge these thoughts that are taught to us and consciously make an effort to judge the worth of a person less on appearances and more on characteristics that go beyond that. It’s unfortunately natural for us, even me, to immediately judge the worth of a person based on their looks. Pretty people get hired first, skinny people get complimented first, it’s the nature of our society today. However, those things don’t have any actual bearing. Looks fade and weight fluctuates, styles will change a million times in the next ten years. When you base your worth on your outward appearance you are bound to be disappointed because of the constant changing of beauty standards. That’s why it is important to begin evaluating people from a deeper level than what is on the surface. This includes yourself. Don’t let your physical appearance be your only way of feeling good. Don’t go the rest of your life hating what you look like or feeling less than because you don’t exactly fit the perfect stereotype of beautiful.
Active ways to challenge this need to happen within yourself, but also outwardly. Start complimenting people on characteristics other than physical one’s. Do the same with yourself. It’s easy to equate a bad grade with a lack of self-worth, or someone calling you a “potato” with being worth less than someone who is traditionally beautiful. Make yourself aware that those factors have absolutely no impact on your worth, because it is constant and non-fluctuating. Make yourself aware of your accomplishments and achievements, and let those be your anchors to reality. It is more than easy to get swept up in appearance or someone else’s interpretation of you, but practice believing in the inflexibility of self-worth and it will go a long way.
It’s perfectly ok to take pride in your outward appearance, I highly encourage that. Just not when it is the only factor being taken into account. Your beauty is not the absence of mine, just as my beauty is not the absence of your own. There are more ways than one to represent beauty, and there are more factors to self-worth than anything physical. Take the time to evaluate where your judgments come from and take time to be actively aware of the consistency of your own self worth.