Recently released research reveals that many Australian parents underestimate their self-worth, and it’s leading us to make poor life choices.

The extensive research project, which was commissioned by leading Aussie life insurance specialist, TAL, explored what Australians value most in life. It found that over half (54%) of parents struggle to understand the value they provide to their family and friends, which may be leading to them to have negative repercussions like feeling guilty for not spending enough time with family and friends (23%), not providing enough financial stability to loved ones (26%) or regretful for spending time at work (14%).

The findings revealed that Australians struggle to understand their own worth as they tend to base their value on how much they earn or own, neglecting to recognise the value of their emotional contributions to loved ones – and, despite having children, parents underestimate their value more than the average Australian (54% parents v. 47% Australians).

“The findings show that the phenomenon of under-appreciating the emotional support we provide to others is common, particularly among the younger generations, with many of us failing to see that we are a Most Valued Person – or a true ‘MVP’ – to our loved ones,” says Dr Ilan Dar-Nimrod, a research psychologist, University of Sydney. “This lack of awareness may also be impacting Australians’ self-value and the choices they make in life.”

Interestingly, the study also found that modern influences like social media are impacting the way we, as parents, view ourselves, with almost three in five parents (56%) saying that social media and television make them undervalue certain aspects of their life. It was also discovered that 64% of Australians consider their possessions, like their house or car, to be their most valuable assets, not themselves.

“These findings show that there’s a need for people to better understand that their ’self’ includes much more than just their assets,” Dr Dar-Nimrod says. “By underestimating their self-worth, people may be more inclined to lack belief in themselves and their decisions, and so be less inclined to make the decisions that may benefit them the most.

“As people, we have a natural tendency to recognise the value of material things, but it’s not so straightforward when it comes to ourselves. The value we provide to others through emotional support and mateship is endlessly valuable, but it’s the first thing we seem to forget.”

Dr Ilan Dar-Nimrod’s top tips for boosting your sense of self-worth…

  • Try practicing gratitude 
    By practising gratitude, you can help shift your attention to the good things around you and become more aware of things that you may take for granted. By focusing on the positives in life and the important people and things that enrich your life, you will be able to better understand your own value to realise that you are more valuable than you may initially have thought.
  • Take some time to self-reflect
    Consider the value that your loved ones have on your life and then flip it – imagine how these loved one’s value you. This can help you realise the full value that you bring to the people in your life and help boost your self-worth.
  • Spend money and time on others rather than on yourself
    By doing things for others rather than yourself can make you feel good, leaving you feeling more satisfied which will positively impact your mindset and sense of self-worth. Find a balance between spending money on material objects and experiences. Whilst purchasing material objects can give you instant gratification, experiences create can create lasting feelings of happiness so find the balance between purchasing things that make you happy and having meaningful experiences.
  • Find ways to challenge yourself
    When you engage in activities, particularly those which are difficult, you can derive a sense of your own ability and capabilities. By trying something new or something that presents a challenge in some way can give you a sense of achievement and appreciation of your own self-worth.

Which profile type do you fall into?

The research also identified that Australians fall into one of four different profile types depending on how they view their own value.

  • Conscientious Carers – consisting of 28% of Australians
    Tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves and highly value the emotional support they give to their loved ones as they like to feel well supported by others too. They may question the decisions they make in life and sometimes wish they’d done things differently. Work tends to be less of a priority them.
  • Family-Focused Optimists – consisting of 32% of Australians
    Take a family orientated approach to life. Providing emotional support to loved ones is very important to them and they prefer to support people that way rather than buying material things. They have a positive outlook on life. Taking care of their health is important to them and they place less importance on their career than other areas of life.
  • Gregarious Go-Getters – consisting of 24% of Australians
    Career-driven and community-aware. They often have fun and live a life full of spontaneity and change while enjoy having nice things around them and sharing them with loved ones. They recognise the importance of ‘giving back’ to the community and would like to give more time and attention to others. They sometimes compare themselves to others as a measure of how they’re doing in life. They tend to underestimate the value and emotional support they provide to loved ones. While striving to have a successful career, they can undervalue the importance of taking care of their health.
  • Ambitious Organisers – consisting of 16% of Australians
    Having a successful career is important to them and something they take pride in. They like to have fun and embrace change by being spontaneous. They are highly driven to succeed financially so they can provide for themselves, their family, and have nice things around them. This can lead to them sacrificing their long-term happiness to focus on work and underestimating how valuable their emotional support and time can be for their loved ones.

Most Australians (60%) fall into profile types that are more focused on family and value spending quality time (Conscientious Carers and Family-Focused Optimists) while 40% are more career-driven and focused on providing for others financially (the Gregarious Go- Getters and Ambitious Organisers).

Give this personal value test a go to find out which of the four Australian value person types you fall into // www.tal.com.au



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