Dr. Stefanie Tweedly
The Role of Healthy Risk in Connecting to Self-Worth
Updated: Sep 19, 2019
There are many struggles when it comes to feeling not good enough or worthless, one of which is restricting our possible chances to experience our worth. We don’t allow ourselves to take healthy risks; risks that would allow us to experience and demonstrate our worth.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article regarding connecting to one’s self-worth (click here to visit that article). In that article, we discussed that each of us is inherently good enough and worthwhile; therefore, feelings of reduced self-worth are due to disconnection from our worth. Additionally, we discussed several tools to help ourselves reconnect to our inherent worth. As indicated, this list was meant to be an introduction. In this article, we will begin to expand on this idea of reconnecting to our worth by discussing the role of taking healthy risks.
There are many struggles when it comes to feeling not good enough or worthless, one of which is restricting our possible chances to experience our worth. We don’t apply for that amazing school, internship, or job. We don’t approach that interesting person we’d love to get to know. We don’t ask pertinent and insightful questions, partly because they are not viewed as such. As you can see by just these few examples, the theme is we don’t allow ourselves to take healthy risks; risks that would allow us to experience and demonstrate our worth. It is important to recognize that the outcome of these risks is partly irrelevant. Please don’t misunderstand, it can hurt when we take a risk that doesn’t turn out the way we’d hoped; however, with each risk we take we are both communicating to ourselves that we are good enough and worthwhile, as well as giving ourselves a chance to grow which is a demonstration of that worth.
Taking this type of risk is difficult for several reasons. First, you will likely be convinced of the outcome – failure and support that you are not good enough. Second, even if you entertain taking the risk, when you think about the possibility of failure it feels better to just not bother since you don’t want to make yourself feel worse. Third, very little if anything will feel like a healthy risk. The question at this point becomes what does taking a healthy risk look like, how do we know where to take risks. Unfortunately, the answer to this is not simple. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean we’re doomed. While the exact approach is going to be different for each individual, there are a couple of things that can help.
Healthy risk = possibility; no healthy risk = stagnation It is very helpful to remind yourself that no matter how you look at it taking a healthy risk offers the possibility of something that is not otherwise there. Certainly, this is not magical; it will still be difficult to take that risk, though at least there is a chance of something different.
Ask yourself a little about the risk To assess if it’s a healthy risk, ask yourself some questions about the nature of the risk, the possible harmful or negative outcomes, the possible rewards or positive outcomes, your motivations, etc. You’re looking for indicators that your reduced self-worth is the roadblock, rather than the risk being unhealthy.
Ask trusted (and healthy) others To help aid in your assessment of the risk, ask people who you trust to give you healthy and honest guidance. This, of course, could include your therapist, trusted friend or family member, mentor, teacher/professor, etc.
Start small and work your way up It’s much easier to take little risks than big ones! As you continue to practice, you’ll find the big ones won’t necessarily feel so big. Even if the big ones do feel enormous, you’ll have more confidence and connection to your worth, so this will make it a bit easier.
I appreciate that some of this may sound a little ambiguous; however, the more you try and practice, the more it’ll make sense. I’ve had many patients relay to me that they couldn’t figure out how to implement the things we had discussed at first, though they just kept trying and seeking feedback and support from me and others in their lives, then one day it just came together and they realized they were working on taking healthy risks all along. Remember: Moving toward better being, in all the ways we do this, is a complicated process comprised of interrelated pieces. Every “little” effort you put in, is a valuable and meaningful part of healing and reconnection to your worth.