Have you ever felt less than other people at times? Have you ever felt like you don’t deserve the good things that happen to you in this lifetime? Have you ever felt lost, unlovable, or you are just not good enough?
We are all human and some or all of these feelings may occur at some point during the ebbs and flows of life. If however you aware of ongoing tendencies to doubt your worthiness and value, some inner work, self care, self work, and self compassion may be just what you need.
What is Self Worth?
Self worth can be simply defined as knowing that you are valuable and lovable. It runs deeper than self esteem. It is our inherent sense that we are worthy of being, having, and doing good things in this life and that we matter. It is being able to feel good about who you are as an individual independent of any influence from outside sources.
Why Self Worth is Important?
Having a strong sense of self worth influences your decisions to go after what you want in this lifetime. Self Worth gives you the strength to make your dreams and visions a reality because you believe you are worthy of following of them, working toward them, and reaching them. Self Worth also gives you the peace of knowing if you’ve tried your best to follow your dreams and they didn’t work out you are still just as worthy and lovable as ever before.
Having a strong sense of self worth carries into almost every aspect of our lives: relationships, working relationships, career paths, financial health, mental, emotional, spiritual health and more.
What if Self Worth Doesn’t Feel Natural to Us?
Self Worth is not always inherently built in or programmed into our psyche. There are many ways that this can happen:
- Poor programming- maybe we had role models or parents that were unsupportive during critical times in our lives
- maybe we are surrounded by friends who are not the best influences on us
- maybe we have the tendency to set unrealistic goals for ourselves
- maybe we suffer from or experience mood disorders such as depression or anxiety
- maybe we have had adverse and stressful life experiences such as divorce, moving, trauma or abuse
- Some of us may have had adverse childhood experiences and as a result may be lacking an inherent sense of importance and value.
Even well-meaning parents may have unconsciously passed down negative patterns to their children because of their own negative childhood experiences. This is a cycle often referred to as intergenerational trauma. Some people refer to this as the cycle of “hurt people hurt people.” Many of us were taught due to both societal and family conditioning that in order to receive love, praise and admiration we needed to act a certain way. This could lead to internalized messaging including the idea that love is conditional and we needed to act a certain way to be liked or to be lovable. One common response we may have developed is the tendency to “people please.”
What do people pleasing tendencies looks like?
- You say yes when you mean no
- You do something because you feel obligated to, not because you want to
- You anticipate people’s response and cater your actions to them
- You are afraid to voice your opinions
- Strong emotions scare you
- You are hard on yourself
- You need approval from others
- You do favors for others to your own detriment
- You subvert your own needs and can develop resentment as a result
- You are afraid to be your true self
- You fear rejection if people know who you really are or how you really feel
Self worth may not come naturally for some of us and we may need to build this within ourselves. How do we do this? First of all we must recognize that it is an inside job- we must do the inner work required to grow.
Four Key Steps to Building Self Worth
1. Understand Who You Are
Some of us may have a pretty good idea about who we are but for others, this may be much more difficult. Regardless of where you fall, it is a good idea to rediscover yourself and check in every once in a while. A good place to start is by taking the time to do some inner work and ask some deeper questions.
Grab a piece of paper or your journal and write out the answers to these questions below:
- What are my likes and dislikes?
- What are my short term goals?
- What are my long term goals
- What is important to me?
- What are my values?
- What helps to make me feel better and put me in a better mood?
- What are my favorite movies and why?
- What are my favorite books?
- What sets my soul on fire?
- What gives me fulfillment or a sense of purpose?
2. Accept Yourself
Think about answers to the following questions:
- What are my flaws?
- What do I not typically like about myself?
- What brings me down
- What are my weaknesses?
- Where can I improve?
Become aware of your initial answers to these questions but don’t focus too long on them.
Recognize that you are human and we all make mistakes. None of us are perfect. Now repeat the following statement:
“Although I am imperfect, I love myself exactly as I am. I am worthy of my own love and affection.”
3. Develop Self Compassion with Affirmations and Meditation
Be kinder to yourself. Now that you have a better understand of who you are, you can learn to treat yourself with more compassion. One way to do this is by using affirmations or positive statements that are meant to encourage you and lift you up much like the one above.
Reading and believing these statements may not feel natural at first, but with practice and regular implementation it will become easier and eventually will become second nature.
Practice These 9 Self Worth Affirmations:
- I am enough
- I honor myself and every decision I make
- I am worthy of a life of joy and allow myself to accept it
- I believe in my skills and abilities
- I am worthy of my dreams and goals
- I love and accept myself exactly as I am now
- I trust myself, I trust my intuition, my judgement and my ability to care for myself
- My feelings and needs are valid, I do not have to justify them
- I am worth of good things in life and success
A dear friend shared with me a technique that has been very helpful to me in guiding me through some emotional healing. The technique is relaxing your body and mind and visualizing yourself as a little child, holding this child, showing up for this child and being there.
Here is an example of an inner child meditation that may be helpful to you:
4. Take Responsibility
Your Life is in your hands. Both your actions and inactions have a direct impact on your experiences in life. You can either choose to live your life as a victim and as a result of your experiences or you can live your life as an empowered individual. Victims live in a state of reactivity whereas someone who is empowered tends take life by the reigns living life on their terms. You can determine your fate and create the reality that you wish to have by making choices that are aligned with your long and short term goals. You are in the drivers seat.
It is important to intentionally maintain a positive mindset and to purposefully think positive thoughts and limit negative thoughts. One way to do this is by practicing gratitude daily.
Six Empowering Quotes on Self Worth and Self Love:
- “Self love, self worth and self respect all start with self. Stop looking outside of yourself for your value” Rob Liano
- “You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” Louise L. Hay
- “Self worth comes from one thing- thinking that you are worthy.” Dr. Wayne Dyer
- “To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now.” Alan Cohen
- “You, yourself, just as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.” Buddha
- “All the external adoration, respect and adulation in the world, can’t drown out the internal voices that tell us, we are not good enough and unworthy of; happiness, love and an abundant life. When we need others to tell us were amazing, worthy and lovable in order to feel good about ourselves, it is never enough. It goes into the bottomless pit where our inherent self-worth should be. It may feel like we are reaching out to receive love, but in actuality, we are seeking external noise to help drown out our negative core beliefs. Love blossoms from the inside out. That is why it is so important to do the work necessary to heal our emotional wounds, only then are we truly free to give and receive love, unconditionally and in abundance.” -Jaeda DeWalt