Building The Right Foundation For Self-Worth

Allowing Roles To Be Roles


We all identify with different traits, roles and attributes such as the ones we acquired from birth like race, gender and family status or the ones we developed over the years like our occupation and network. As humans, our self-identity continually evolves.  

It is easy for us to build our self-worth on the things we consider important enough to identify with, with little or no consciousness. Basing your self-worth on the roles or traits you identify with leads to emotional instability and falsehood.


What People Usually Base Their Self-Worth On


  • Occupation
  • Relationship Status
  • Achievements
  • Network
  • Good Looks


During Bad Times

  • What happens after the person with an amazing work ethic who prides in her profession gets fired?
  • What happens after a divorce?
  • What happens when there’s an identity crisis?
  • What happens when your elite network treats you like an outcast?
  • What happens when someone doesn’t appreciate your good looks?

Let’s look at this real story.

“I love meaningful work and I am great at checking my to-dos and hitting milestones. Work is solace to me and I pride myself in working for long hours. I didn’t know I had built my self-worth on my work until I realised I got easily offended anytime someone second-guessed the quality of my work or tried to micromanage me. I would get so hurt and brood over it for days. It felt as if my personality had been attacked. One day, I decided to ponder over this and understand why I felt that way. Then it hit me that I had based my self-worth on my work.”

Just like this person’s story, we can actually think we love our occupation, achievements etc without noticing how emotionally vested we have become and how much of our self-worth we base on the performance.

Your Real Worth

Ultimately, your self-worth should be based on what you control not an external factor. Your value is inherent and that is what you should base your worth on. What’s on the inside? What values are you building? Your life is worth more than a career, relationship, looks or achievements. You’re worth more than what you do and the roles you play in life. You are a whole human just serving in the capacity of those roles. Allowing your self-worth to be instructed by these roles and traits is akin to swinging your emotions like a pendulum.

Win the best mom of the year award, the best worker of the year award or most beautiful woman on earth crown if the need be. But don’t let the presence or absence of praises control your worth.


You don’t have to prove yourself to anyone even to the people who said you wouldn’t make it. Don’t live at the mercy of people’s expectations and predictions. Anchor your worth on your innate value, the person you’re transforming into daily. That way you will remain at peace with yourself and be unshakable.


Also published on Medium.