How to Raise Your Self-Worth
Do you find yourself worthy?
Self-worth is your ability to appreciate, accept, and value yourself independent of success, failure, or the opinions of others. It means having an overall favorable opinion of yourself, believing in your right to feel good, and therefore choosing your thoughts, actions, and expressions based on the belief that you matter.
If you plan to achieve your goals, whether they are goals of ending your unhealthy relationship with food, or overcoming stress, sadness, or depression, you will also need to build a valid sense of self-worth. While self-worth is not about your achievements, it is about spending energy and effort in pursuits that are meaningful to you and your happier life. When you feel worthy, you feel motivated to make behavior choices that support your overall goals of success and joy.
What is the definition of self-worth? Low self-worth is best described as having a low opinion of yourself and feelings of being unworthy. It can result in some common thoughts, actions, and behaviors including:
- Low motivation
- Feeling stupid, fat, ugly, useless, or unwanted
- A sense of not being good enough or on equal ground with others
- Not feeling strong enough to handle things on your own
- Feeling judged by others
- Needing to be more articulate, prettier, smarter, richer, etc.
- Finding it hard to forgive yourself for making mistakes
- Dissatisfaction with life
- Low energy levels
- Feeling helpless to change things
- Feeling either superior or inferior to others, never equal
- Withdrawn from social contact
- A sense of defeat and hopelessness
One of the problems of believing yourself to have low self-worth is that you will act according to the belief you hold. If you believe you are unworthy of love, you will act as though you are unworthy of love. If you believe you are an outcast, you will act as if you are an outcast. Your beliefs define your reality. In truth, you are so much more than what you believe about yourself. You are the breath of creation in human form, the combination of spirit and physicality. If you currently have low self-worth, there is hope! You can make a decision to change it.
Five Ways to Increase Your Self-Worth
Raising self-worth is a very personal and often complex process. There is no one magic formula to make you believe you are a worthy individual. It takes time, effort, and awareness to allow a sense of worth to deepen. Since strengthening your sense of worth takes motivation and action, you have to have to want and choose this as your goal before you can improve it. Dare to love yourself. It is your journey, and without your support, you are not going to get anywhere at all. However, if you are ready, below are a few suggestions that can and will actively build your self-worth.
1. Realize You Have Control Over Your Future
Encourage yourself to focus on the dreams and desires that are important to you. Begin by giving yourself permission to imagine and pretend that you are living your most perfect life. What ideas awaken passion, creativity, intuition, and gut feelings? What makes you laugh, feel good, and come to life? What do you stand for? Once you have an idea of what goal or direction is important to you, decide to spend time, energy, and action involved in those pursuits. When you become involved with the things that are important to you, your sense of worth increases.
2. Think Better Thoughts
Begin to notice your automatic thoughts. Are you inner voices supportive and loving, or critical and abusive? Consciously watch your thoughts as a detached observer. There is no need to fight your thoughts, pretend to ignore them, or even judge them. Instead, bring your thoughts out into the open. Acknowledge their existence, write them down, and speak them aloud. Sit back and say to yourself, “Isn’t that interesting that I am thinking these thoughts.” It’s okay to feel insecure or anxious, and you still love yourself. It is also okay to add the supportive and loving thoughts you really want to hear. Your thoughts are your responsibility and while you cannot erase negative thoughts, you certainly can learn to challenge them.
3. Express Your Self
Self-worth is your ability to feel free to be yourself. So it makes sense that if your self-worth is low, most likely you will invest your time role-playing, and pretending to be something, somebody, other than who your really are. You will find yourself behaving in ways others expect you to behave so that they will like you. Yet, inwardly you will feel self-critical, judgmental, and believe yourself to be different in some non-okay way. It is your right to be who you are, expressing your innermost truths, and not feeling like you must live up to someone else’s expectations. You have the right to say, “No” when you mean no, or, “I don’t care” when that is what you really feel inside. However, self-worth also includes your decision to communicate directly, state your preferences and opinions, and speak in a concise assertive voice.
4. To Err is Human
Self-worth is your ability to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses while at the same time accepting yourself as worthy and worthwhile. If you want to raise your self-worth, allow yourself to gain a realistic perspective about mistakes, obstacles, setbacks, and failure. Failure is actually the only way to become successful. Although no one really wants to experience failure, you can remind yourself that failure is a natural aspect of every ultimately successful journey. Think of misfortunes as temporary and specific instead of permanent and general. In other words, your current effort may have been unsuccessful, but that doesn’t mean that your overall goal or dream is unattainable. Learn from your setback, revise your action plan, and begin again.
5. Be Responsible for Your Success
Raising your self-worth includes being responsible for your own happiness and success. To achieve this, learn how to be your own best friend and supporter. Constantly tell yourself what a good job you are doing. Actively seek out evidence of your success. Praise your efforts. Learn to be excited by your choices. Recognize your many triumphs – however small they may seem. Self-worth is the overflowing of love and acceptance from within you directed to you. Decide you will allow yourself to feel successful with each step you take, no matter what the outcome is. It is enough that you have taken the step. You are enough.
Self-worth is your right to live and be happy. Follow these steps and you will find that you have set into motion forces that allow you to deepen your sense of self-worth. Good luck and good self-worth!
Copyright 1997–2011 Annette Colby, PhD. All rights reserved in all media.
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