It’s a term that is forever being drilled into us. An inspirational meme that seeps into every social media scroll, every conversation about relationships, and every girl boss pep talk on the planet. But what does the term know your worth actually mean and why is it a problematic statement?
We often hear the words ‘girl, know your worth’ when it comes to seeking encouragement to step out of a bad situation. Whether it’s a job that isn’t quite recognizing our contribution, a relationship on the brink or a marriage that has turned sour – it will be yelled at you from the rooftops – know your worth.
Your Worth Isn’t a Fluctuating Thing
But, your self-worth doesn’t hinge on who you choose to be with, which job you take, or how much you get paid. Your worth is your worth, and we believe that this isn’t a point scoring system that fluctuates based on decisions you make in life.
Know your worth is problematic because it assumes that challenging situations arose because someone placed themselves in that position because they didn’t know their worth or value themselves enough. It’s a catchphrase that comes with a backlash and can cause inner anxiety and panic. If someone cannot negotiate a higher pay rise at work, they may feel that its because they don’t know their worth and it leaves them in a bind – do they stay in a job and feel worthless or do they leave and put themselves in financial difficulty?
It’s Really About Core Beliefs and Boundaries
This is why terms like know your worth and know your value can be double-edged swords. Sure, the idea comes from a good place but it can lead to people feeling bad about themselves, blaming themselves for other people’s terrible behaviour and ultimately having lower levels of self-esteem and feeling trapped.
So how can we change the way we talk about worth? Instead of placing the idea of knowledge on worth, we need to take a deeper understanding. It could be that what the term ‘know your worth’ is really trying to say is; understand your boundaries and think about how you wish to be treated in the world and how you can help facilitate that.
Learn to Align Actions and Values Instead
Often this can mean learning to speak up for ourselves, to take small measures to raise our esteem, and to learn the art of saying no. Aligning the choices we make with our own innate values and morals is one of the most precious and authentic things we can do for ourselves and will have a much longer-lasting impact than simply citing clichés about knowing your worth.
What do you think about the term? Share your thoughts in the comments.