Self-worth: what’s it really worth to you?

Over the years I have started wearing less make-up, less ‘stuff’ and just stripping it right back (not to be confused with stripping off!) so my true self can really shine – not my shimmering lip gloss.

The other day a girl walked past me wearing a beautiful blue woolly scarf; the kind of blue that shimmers out of a peacock’s feathers.

It instantly caught my attention.

I complimented her on it: ‘I love your scarf. It looks beautiful on you. Where did you get it from?’

She thanked me and then mumbled something under her breath.

‘I didn’t quite catch that, what did you say?’, I said.

She told me where she got it from in a mouse-like, shy voice.

As soon as she said it I realized why she said it so sheepishly: she was embarrassed.

Embarrassed that the scarf I complimented on her – the scarf that looked stunning on her and beautifully suited her hair and eye colour – was from a ‘cheap’, non-designer store.

Ok, so I’m not a mind reader, but I’d bet you ten avocados I’m right – and that’s saying something if you know how much I love avocados!

This one unassuming encounter stuck with me long after.

It’s not about the scarf.

It’s about how sometimes (often) as women we feel we have something to prove.

It’s about how our self-worth is often woven into and wrapped up in the clothes we wear.

Let’s not forget too how physical appearances are often ‘ranked’ higher than what’s on the inside on the self-worth barometer.

It’s about measuring our worth as a woman against the items we buy; how if we wear an item of clothing, accessory, or carry a handbag that doesn’t have an expensive designer label branded across it, not only do we deem it as ‘cheap’, we deem ourselves as cheap too.

Do I own some designer items? Yes.

Do I own no-name branded clothes, bags, scarves, jewellery…? Absolutely! In fact the majority of my belongings are the latter.

I don’t know one woman who doesn’t want to feel or look sexy, or have someone else view them as sexy – and that’s OK.

But guess what Life Designer?

It’s not your Michael Kors watch, Prada wallet, Mac makeup or Sass & Bide dress that is going to do that – sure, those things might make you feel a bit sexier when you head out for a night on the town, but there are far, FAR greater assets you possess that money can’t buy.

It’s the confidence you wear.

It’s the dazzling smile painted across your face.

It’s your open mind, not opening your wallet.

It’s how you carry yourself – not the designer handbag draped over your arm.

It saddens me seeing women spending half, or nearly all of their weekly pay cheque on items that are designed (yes, pun intended) to make them feel special or worthy, when they don’t need to spend one cent.


Because they – like you – were born special.

They were born worthy.

They were born beautiful.

It’s the fashion and beauty industry; the beauty magazines and cleverly marketed advertising campaigns that make women feel as though they aren’t complete without that luxury watch/handbag/makeup/dress/you name it!

If you truly want to buy that expensive item to treat yourself, or because you haven’t been able to find anything that fits as well as that dress, then by all means – go for it.

But ask yourself when you go to open up your (Prada) wallet why you’re really buying that item.

Is it because you want people to look at you a certain way? Is it because you will feel better about yourself? Will it complete you in some way (the answer here is ‘no’)? Is it to avoid that ‘embarrassing’ moment when someone asks where you got that item?…

Allow me interject here: when that girl told me where she got her scarf, I was stoked it wasn’t an expensive designer brand because I didn’t want to have to fork out (nor would I have) heaps of cash if I wanted to buy one for myself.

It’s a shame that my well-intended compliment to the girl about her scarf brought up guilt and embarrassment, instead of adding an extra spring in her step.

So please, may you remember…

  • You are not your clothes
  • Your self-worth isn’t wrapped up with your scarf
  • Your lipstick doesn’t make you beautiful; your smile does that all on its own
  • It’s not your 7-inch stilettos that make you stand out; it’s the way you carry yourself
  • Your attractiveness isn’t something that can be bought, or swiped through that eftpos machine ; you’re prettiest when you’re happy
  • No amount of handbags, scarves or dresses or shoes will last forever; your positive attitude will though

Your self-worth and beauty isn’t only skin-deep: it’s in every cell of your body and being.

Now I’d love to hear from you: how much is self-worth worth to you and what does it look like on you?…

Image courtesy of: Verne Ho


  1. Hi Nicole, what a beautifully written piece on self worth. Similar to yourself, I have ‘stripped’ back on my worldly possessions quite a bit and feel so much more accepting of myself. I no longer obsess about having something new every week. I used to, though to the point I actually negotiated myself a clothing allowance at my previous job. It is liberating to embark on that inner journey and come to a realisation that what defines you is not what you wear and own but how you choose to show up in the world as a human being. Thank you for sharing and for the great reminder. Jarka x

    • Hi Jarka,

      Thank you for your wonderful comment and for sharing about your personal experience with this too. I’m so glad the article resonated with you.
      The more we become aware of what we attach to and why we attach to physical possessions to give us a boost in self-worth or self-confidence, the more we can look at ways to manifest those qualities in our natural attributes.

      I love that you “negotiated” your way out of having a clothing allowance and have since embarked on the journey of self-realisation.

      How we show up in the world is never about the clothes we wear, is it? It’s about allowing our natural qualities to be more colourful, vibrant and attractive than any dress, handbag or pair of shoes ever could.

      Nicole x

  2. YES! Love this Nicole! Self-worth comes from truly knowing yourself and loving the heck outta yourself!! Confidence is totally the sexiest thing going round. Really beautiful reminder babe! Thanks for sharing X x

    • You are so welcome Megan! Thanks for your comment, so glad you loved the reminder that self-worth comes from deep within.
      I know this is a message you are super passionate about too, and I love that. Perhaps instead of perfume or makeup samples in retail stores, they could bottle confidence and offer free samples to everyone. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

      Nicole x

Leave a reply