4 Ways to Protect Your Sense of Self-Worth



by London Atlantic

Many of us struggle to find the balance between being kind to others and being kind to ourselves. Since we were children, the world has implied that saying ‘no’ is a negative thing and that in order to live harmoniously in the world, we are required to bend to the desires and wishes of others, without question. 

For some of us, it is not easy to speak up when someone is demanding more of us than we can give without losing a part of ourselves. Always doing what others demand of you is the path of least resistance- for them.

Ignoring your internal alarms that tell you when someone is overdrawing from your internal reservoir can be detrimental to your self-esteem.

What does this reservoir contain? It is made up of your personal values, your moral standards, your time, your energy, and your physical and emotional space. 

1. Assess the situation

Recognise that if others are taking advantage of you in some way, it’s time for you to establish boundaries. People can do no more to you than you allow them to. In an ideal world, we would all have a healthy respect for others, but in this world, some people need explicit instructions in order to know how they should treat us.

2. Know what your boundaries are

What is important to you? How much of yourself, your space, and your time are you comfortable with giving? How much are you willing to compromise without abandoning your self-respect, moral standards, personal values, and goals?

3. Communicate your boundaries to others, clearly and respectfully

Once you know what your boundaries are, it’s time to let others know. There’s no need to defend your boundaries. They do not need to be approved of by others, only respected by others. Don’t feel ashamed about asking for respect. Don’t feel guilty for saying ‘no’, if a ‘yes’ will detract from your inner peace. It’s important that you are unapologetic when communicating your boundaries; if you don’t take them seriously, it’s unlikely that others will.

4. When possible, distance yourself from those who refuse to respect your boundaries

If someone is used to withdrawing from you, it’s probable that they won’t want the relationship to change. Be strong, even if you don’t feel like you are. Make sure that your behaviour reflects the boundaries that you have openly expressed. If others still show no respect for your boundaries and continue to overdraw from your reservoir, it’s time to move on, your self-esteem depends on it.

What has been your biggest challenge with protecting your self-worth?