I came upon this article co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC when I was searching for information for creative business owners and how our thoughts affect our work. As creative business owners, we often feel alone because in essence, a lot of us are sole proprietors of our businesses and we count on ourselves for everything from making our creations to bookkeeping to running errands. Although we have peers as friends, we need to be able to make our own business decisions, not based on what others think we should do, but what we feel is good for ourselves, our families and our businesses.

This article is all about self-worth, which is “what enables us to believe that we are capable of doing our best with our talents, of contributing well in society, and that we deserve to lead a fulfilling life. Babies are born knowing their self-worth; as life moves on, the comments, expectations, and attitudes of other people can change this natural sense of self-worth. Building it up again is therefore natural, essential, and healthy.” Excerpt from this article co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, https://www.wikihow.com/Build-Self-Worth

Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.

In this article Trudi tells us how to create self-worth using the five principles list below. I’ll discuss what those principles are and how they opened my eyes for my business, so that maybe this will help someone else with their insecurities.

How to Create Self-worth
  1. Understand the power of our attitude towards ourselves
  2. Learn to overcome a fear of self-love
  3. Trust your own feelings
  4. Analyze yourself
  5. Making your self-worth conditional on other people

1)Understanding the power of our attitude towards ourselves

What is your perception of yourself? How do you talk to yourself in your head? These two things have a great impact on who you eventually become. I know this because I have struggled with this for several years. From this article, I learned that if we make light of our talents in front of others, their perception of us is going to be seen as low self-esteem. I always thought of it as being humble. I didn’t realize it, but now that I think about it, I have always been uncomfortable when people pay me a compliment or show affection towards me. I always would make light of my own work and shy away from the attention that comes along with owning my talents. I thought of it as being arrogant. I mean after all, no one wants to be labeled a narcissist, right? Or does a narcissist like to be labeled a narcissist? I have no idea. I just know that it has always felt uncomfortable for me to talk about my own work.

However, Trudi Griffin states in this article, that we may think that exaggerating our qualities, talents, and skills will make us sound egotistical, but in all reality it is really about deceiving ourselves through our insecurities. What I discovered in reading this article is that I was only seeing the two opposite ends of the spectrum. I was not finding that middle ground, which is where I want to be. The middle ground is where we can recognize and celebrate the fact that we are all valuable people, equal to everyone else, and so are our thoughts and talents. I have been underestimating myself for many years, so it is going to take time to get to that point, but I really want to get there. My success as a business owner depends on it and in turn what I can do for my family depends on the success of my business.

2)Learning to overcome a fear of self-love

This brings me to the second point that Trudi makes and it is learning to not fear self-love. She states that self-love is often equated with narcissism in part because the English language has a hard time dealing with the word love in general.  The meaning gets bogged down due to its all-encompassing nature. There are so many different types of love. Other meanings such as always being charitable and giving of oneself is often used to downplay putting one’s own needs and wants first, out of fear of being perceived as selfish. Finding that balance has always been a struggle for me. I wonder how many creative business owners feel this way as well.

Trudi describes healthy self love as not about announcing to the world that you are the greatest, but rather showing yourself the same love that you would a dear friend. I had never thought of it that way. It really puts all of this in perspective. “Self love is expressed not through preening oneself all day and constantly announcing how great you are (those are signs of intense insecurity); rather, self love is about treating yourself with the same care, tolerance, generosity, and compassion as you would treat a special friend. Avoid obsessing over how other people see you. How does it help you to cater your personality to their idea of you? Only you can give yourself the esteem boost you need,” says Griffin.

These words hit home for me and I wonder how many of my readers it will resonate with as well. I feel as creatives, we tend to be on the sensitive side and can be swayed one way or another to believe in ourselves or not. When we create art, we are putting what is on the inside, on the outside for the world to see and not everyone does that. We are not only opening ourselves up to praise, but also criticism. I feel that it is good to have a release that can take our feelings of insecurity and turn them into something empowering for us and others around us.

3)Trusting your own feelings

Wow! This one hits me like a ton of bricks. How about you? “Self-worth requires that you learn to listen to and rely on your own feelings and not automatically respond to the feelings of other people. When you trust your own feelings, you’ll recognize unfair demands and be able to respond to them better,” says Griffin.

In essence, she says it is letting others make decisions for us. I had never thought of it like this, but she is right on target! I have avoided hard choices in many instances by letting others make decisions for me, not thinking about the fact that self-worth grows from making my own decisions. I was taking the easy way out, but always feeling boxed in by others decisions. This one is a game changer for me.

4)Analyze yourself

Many seek counselors to analyze. Trudy has provided us with some questions here to analyze ourselves.

1. What experience have I had?

2. How has this experience informed my growth?

3. What are my talents? List at least five.

4. What are my skills? Remember that talents are innate, skills need to be worked on to perfect them.

5. What are my strengths? Stop focusing on weaknesses; you’ve probably done that long enough. Start looking at what your strengths are and start thinking about how you can make the most of them in the things you choose to do. Try taking the character strengths survey at www.viacharacter.org.

6. What do I want to be doing with my life? Am I doing it? If not, why not?

7. Am I happy with my health? If not, why not? And what can I do to move into wellness instead of living in sickness?

8. What makes me feel fulfilled? Am I working on that or am I busy working on other people’s fulfillment?

9. What is important to me?

All of these questions are helping me to work on myself.

5)Making your self-worth conditional on other people

If we try to live up to other people’s expectations, we’ll struggle to find our self-worth. Unfortunately, many people live this way, including me. People with healthy self-worth will share their insights and learning with you, and will be willing to guide you around life’s many traps. Look for those people in your life.

Let go of the parts of your self-worth that are based on people’s opinions from your childhood. Whether it was your parents, a caregiver, or kids at school, their opinions don’t determine who you are as a person. If those people made you feel bad about yourself, look for evidence in your life that they’re wrong so you can let go of their opinions. Some of those feelings are hard to get rid of, but it is vital to not only our success as creative business people, but to our health and well being. So go out into the world and be brave, be yourself and disregard those that aren’t genuine. It is the only way to be.

To your success!