10/18/2012 05:30 pm ET Updated Dec 18, 2012

Know Your Worth

At 18, I thought I knew it all. I could drive, write a check and if I really wanted to live on the edge, I would sleep one night without my retainers. I would laugh every time my mother would say "Drive carefully!" when I would leave the house. What did she take me for, a child? I had it all except that I didn't know my worth. As I got older, I thought I was wiser. I finished school, I had a good job and as smart as I thought I was, I was still making stupid choices.

Relationship after relationship, the same patterns were happening: I would jump in and jump out. Happy one minute, bored the next. I was always longing, always searching for something else. What was missing? I never ever asked myself is this person good enough for me? I would always hope that I was good enough for them.

This pattern was not limited to romantic relationships. It happend with friendships, job choices and even shopping. I was always buying on impulse and never satisfied. It was as if I was not worthy of taking the time to make the right choices. I didn't believe I deserved the best of the best. I would settle or jump at the fastest and easiest way to satisfy my quest. I would make dozens of mistakes. I would be stuck in disastrous situations and spent ridiculous amounts of time and money trying to fix these problems that I created for myself. Not knowing one's worth is similar to lacking confidence. The main difference is that you might think you're confident and you might think you know what you are doing, but the truth is, a confident person takes their time. They don't rush into situations. Maturing does bring along with it more confidence and self-preservation, but it's still a learning process that can take many years of making many mistakes.

When middle age comes along, it carries along with it a certain awareness of time. It's clicking away a lot faster than it used to. You've accomplished incredible things in your life by now. For some it was easy, for most it wasn't. At this point, just knowing your achievements should be enough for you to know your worth. If not, your search needs to go a lot deeper. What was your childhood like? What were your relationships with your parents like? Finding out these answers are the key to finding confidence and self-worth. It's basic and simple. Understanding where the negativity comes from gives you the ability to make changes.

There will come a day when you will say "no" to someone because you are worth more than what they can give you. You will realize the power you have and that nothing bad will happen if you stand up to someone. You are worthy of better. It's empowering to know your worth. You need not be someone's puppet. You need not be a boss's pushover and you certainly need not to feel less than somebody else. When in doubt, repeat in your mind "know your worth."