“Money will always define your net worth but don’t ever let it control your self worth” Roger Lee
Self-esteem is a fragile state of mind. Despite it being an internal feeling, it can be very much influenced by external factors, the people in our lives, our socio-economic status and where we believe we fit in the world. Money is a very natural influence given its measurability and as a result, is an external factor many of us hitch our self-esteem to. A very risky link from a mental health perspective.
Zero net worth means zero self-worth?
If money is the scale we measure our self-esteem on, what happens when that scale says we are underweight cash or worse overweight debt?
We feel we have failed, we aren’t good enough, are incompetent or whatever other labels we want to pin on ourselves.
The result? Low self-esteem and a one way ticket to feeling hopeless and trapped.
Money as the goal
Congruently if we choose to chase money and wealth to build our self-esteem, we might end up abandoning our values, passions and authenticity in our drive for wealth, settling into jobs or careers that don’t bring us joy and excitement.
Ironically losing that less-than-ideal position or client can cause the unstable house of cards of our self esteem to crash along with the confidence that perceived status gave us.
Comparisonitis – the state of measuring your self-esteem against what others have
If we measure our self-esteem against what we earn, the status symbols we have and our financial situation against our perceptions of what others have and where they are in their wealth journey, we are always going to come up short. Odds are high that there will be someone who we perceive as more successful and better at playing the wealth game.
In fact, comparison is almost guaranteed to be a losing game because we end up comparing ourselves to our perception of how other’s lives are. The person we are comparing ourselves against doesn’t even exist in reality, they are merely being used as the personification of what we are imagining perfection to be.
And when we base our self-esteem on these unreliable metrics, we place our self-esteem on the rollercoaster of their unpredictability.
How do we get off this very uncomfortable, no-fun ride?
Set our self-worth free from our net-worth
It’s a lazy game to let our self-worth be defined by something so basic.
Our self-worth is much richer and nuanced and built solely on truly knowing and accepting ourselves.
A scary pandora’s box for most of us.
Knowing who we are and letting our inner soul shine in all her uniqueness and glory requires the ultimate courage. It’s so much easier to base ourselves on something we believe is easy to except and doesn’t open us to the risk of rejection.
We have to learn to be brave and recognise and acknowledge what we bring to life just by being ourselves. As we nurture and develop our unique talents and skills, we build our self-esteem.
Recognise its not money that brings happiness
Money can buy us many things, but it absolutely cannot bring us real wealth. Real wealth is having good health, living our lives in a way that’s congruent with our values, knowing and giving love and recognising all of the good things we have in our lives with gratitude.
When we recognise these essentials of wealth we get to live a rich life and ironically attract more of those good things!
Understand that our self-worth determines what we think we deserve in life
When we operate from a place of low self-esteem and lack, our mindset is generally that we don’t deserve wealth, we have adopted the belief that we aren’t worthy of abundance.
This mindset keeps us trapped, too insecure and afraid to grab the opportunities that come our way or to accept challenges that can move us forward. We have literally built a moat of fear that keeps us from the abundance that we could claim.
Until we have built solid self-esteem on a foundation of self-belief we will never feel worthy of money, in fact we will develop unhealthy money habits and take harmful actions that prevent us from having the abundance we seek.
Letting ourselves accept that true, resilient self-worth is our own internal creation and not dependent on anything external sets us free to live a truly wealthy life.