Have you ever mistaken an insult for a compliment? It sounds nice but it really isn’t meant to be flattering at all. I overheard him say it, “Oh man, she is really low maintenance.” I thought he meant I was humble… next to Godliness. Nope. What he was actually saying was that I did not value myself and it showed in the way I presented myself to others. His opinion was that I did not think taking care of myself was worth the effort. Um, that’s not a compliment.

And the truth is, he was right. All the years of prioritizing other people’s needs over my own cost me physically, mentally, and emotionally. Thankfully, I am finally feeling that I deserve better. And, with support from my personal development coach and by serving as a leader in One Degree Shift community, I am learning the importance of honoring myself and I’ve included three big steps you can take to value and celebrate all that makes you uniquely you.

#1 Stop Seeing Other People As Superior To You

Valuing yourself requires you to first love yourself. And, nothing erodes your confidence and power more than trying to please everyone else while putting your own needs and desires on the back burner. The fear of being rejected is a powerful fear, one that causes us to value the opinions of others over our own.

In college a good friend rejected me, and it crushed my self-esteem. After hanging tight practically the entire school year, she dropped a major bomb on me. She told me she didn’t want to hang out anymore because several of her friends didn’t like me. I was young, 18, and felt so betrayed and tossed aside. To her, our friendship was disposable, and I made her rejection mean that I was disposable. I thought, “There is something wrong with me.” That situation reinforced a behavior that began during childhood. I tiptoed around trying to do everything to make other people happy so they didn’t leave me.

I know it sounds ridiculous now, but when someone rejects you for simply being who you are, it can cause you to devalue yourself. And, low self-esteem will cause you to attract more people in your life who will try to control and intimidate you. The key to turning this people-pleasing behavior around is to value yourself more than you worry about being rejected by someone else.

#2 Stop Saying Yes When You Really Should Say No

Similar to people pleasing is our inability to say “no” and mean it. People don’t like hearing the word no. Most of the time they want you to do what is comfortable for them. If you have trouble saying “no” because you want to keep everyone else happy, then you are setting yourself up for a life of unhappiness. One lesson I have learned that has absolutely transformed my life is that I am not responsible for anyone’s feelings except my own. It took me a long time to understand this, and it caused me a lot of pain until I did. My unwillingness to say “no” or “no more” is one of the reasons I stayed too long in an emotionally and verbally abusive marriage.

Saying “yes” one time when you really mean “no” seems like a small thing, but this behavior repeated over time goes against your own desires for your life. I’ve done it many times:

  • Saying yes to watching a friend’s children on short notice when I had plans of my own.
  • Letting someone borrow money from me when they still owed me from the last time.
  • Agreeing to go to a family function when I have more important personal matters to attend to.

These little things add up fast and can ruin the relationship you have with yourself. You see, valuing yourself means being kind to you too. Not saying “no” dishonors your need to take care of yourself, pursue your goals, and fulfill your life’s purpose. It is important to love yourself, and when you’re always saying “yes” to others and “no” to your personal desires, you are saying, whether you realize it or not, that you don’t matter. Saying “no” is about respecting yourself. Learn how to say it and require others to respect your boundaries.

#3 Speak Your Truth No Matter What They Think

When you are rejected and neglected so many times, you learn to live in a shell – hiding your authentic self and silencing your voice. To achieve your best life and live your purpose, it is imperative that you show up and speak up.

I’m here to tell you that not speaking your truth is killing you – it’s costing you your health, your mental stability, and your happiness in life. So, right here right now, I’m calling you to take off the mask and share your voice with the world.

What have you always wanted to do but the fear of rejection or failure stopped you from pursuing it? For me, it has been speaking, writing, and coaching. I was told, “You will never be successful at it. You have a good job and child to raise. Who wants to listen to what you have to say, you’re not anyone important? Why would someone pay you to speak?” And, if I’m totally honest with you, many of those doubts echoed what was inside of me.

What I believe now is that all things are possible if you just begin putting one foot in front of the other. As you start taking steps, the path becomes clear and your confidence grows. It is easier to follow your dreams and passions with others than to try to go it alone. Private coaching and support from a community of encouragers are a big part of my motivation to persevere. They make me feel so capable when I feel so inept. I invite you to Be My Guest in One Degree Shift.

I want you to know that you are valuable beyond measure, and you are loved. Your voice is truly important. You have a God-given purpose in life. So, at the risk of rejection, stop being a people-pleaser and start being your authentic self; believe that you deserve better and say “no” when it is more important to say “yes” to yourself; and take a deep breath and speak your truth even if your voice shakes. Don’t let anyone minimize your value, especially not Y-O-U!

What steps are you taking to value yourself more and manifest the future you want? Share in the comments below.

If you need a little extra help, connect with me in One Degree Shift to keep motivated in life.