During a down economy, when there are so many layoffs and foreclosures, and so much semi-employment, a lot of people end up feeling down about themselves, because they start mixing up their net worth with their self worth.
"Net worth," for an individual, is defined as: the value of all assets (long term assets) minus the value of all liabilities.
"Self worth" is defined as: the sense of one's own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self-respect.
It's easy to say that your self worth shouldn't be based on your net worth, but I don't think that's realistic.
For one thing, it's easier to measure your net worth, and most of us tend to put more stock in tangible things than intangible things.
For another thing, it's not like the two shouldn't overlap at all; for instance, if you're a parent, of course your ability to provide for your kids is going to affect how you feel about yourself.
And let's face it - if you can't provide for yourself, that will impinge on your self-esteem as well.
What I'd like you to do is simply remember that your net worth doesn't define your self worth. That there's so much more to your self worth than your financial assets, and there always will be.
Your self worth is mainly about the love you give out and receive, the kindness with which you treat people, the integrity with which you behave, the dignity with which you carry yourself, and all the other intangibles that make up your heart and your character.
Even when I was poor growing up, I had a high sense of self worth; I definitely think that helped me build my career, because I felt I deserved to be successful. That feeling helped fuel my ambition.
If you're feeling down due to some negative fluctuation in your net worth, that's okay. For a little while.
But you have to realize that the other ingredients that go into your self worth are weighted much more heavily in the end.
The bottom line in life is that when you do good, you feel good. When you do bad, you feel bad. That's how self worth is measured.
There's a reason that while both Donald Trump and Warren Buffet are both wildly popular and successful, one is very respected, and one is generally looked at as a carnival barker. Their self worth shows through their net worth; Buffet respects himself, and Donald Trump doesn't. Trump is constantly showing that he has way too much to prove.
What about you?
Are you measuring your self worth by your bank statements - or by how you carry yourself, and how you feel inside?