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Where does your self worth come from?


I bumped into an actor the other day. Not just someone who has done a few projects here and there, but a really great actor who has lots of experience and rave reviews about his work.

I don’t believe he is an awarded actor though he should be! That’s how good he is.

Yet when I bumped into him, he was low. I mean really low. After a coffee and a chat it became clear to me why. He had had a big year working most of the year on some truly exciting projects and then….. and then…… nothing! Work dried up, and he was once again staring down the abyss of unemployment……. 

And self worth!

His problem was he only values himself when he is working. As I find so many actors do. 

Actors believe they only have something to offer when they have a project they can talk about. Hence it is so important for them to be working.

The dictionary defines self-worth as “the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person.”

Self-worth is about who you are, not about what you do.


Thinking of my actor friend I thought I’d do a little research into basing ones self worth on external factors rather than who one actually is. Which is what I believe so many actors do.

I uncovered this little  nugget which shows a study in a US university found that college students who base their self-worth on external sources (including academic performance, appearance and approval from others) reported more stress, anger, academic problems and relationship conflicts. They also had higher levels of alcohol and drug use, as well as more symptoms of eating disorders. 

The same study found that students who based their self-worth on internal sources, not only felt better, they also received higher grades and were less likely to use drugs and alcohol or to develop eating disorders.

Therefore, to me it seems to me to find your self worth – if you happen to be an actor who feels depleted of self – is to recognize who you are by asking yourself what are the qualities that make you YOU? 

Be honest. Go warts and all. 

All the good things, the not so good things, the embarrassing things, the amazing things, the accomplishments etc. 

Make a list. Be mindful that these qualities or attributes are what make you unique. 

These are the things that truly make you YOU. These are the things that make you special and gives you your inherent value.

So to wrap this up, it is important to have recognition of your faults and weaknesses, self compassion from your mistakes, generosity of heart and mind, and above all else self love .