How to Improve Your Self-Worth

Posted on March 28, 2017

Photo: flickr

Many of us are especially hard on ourselves. We criticise our every move and action, and lack confidence in our own abilities. However, we need to know that we deserve the respect that we give ourselves. Having a healthy amount of self-worth is good for our psychological well-being. All of us are more skilled in certain ways and less skilled in others. Someone who is an amazing dancer could be bad at art, for example. It is also important to note that self-worth largely refers to our core worth, which is not concerned with extrinsic and materialistic measures of worth, such as status, wealth and level of education.
Here are eight useful tips for you to increase your sense of self-worth:

1. Change starts with awareness

Before any concrete change can be implemented, it is important for you to first be aware of the need for change. Simply knowing that you think lowly of yourself can already distance you from those negative thoughts and emotions. Many of us take our thoughts to be the absolute truth, but this is not the case. We must differentiate between thoughts and facts. Make the effort to remind yourself that your thoughts are not facts every time you find yourself veering towards negative thoughts about yourself.

2. Change your narrative

All of us have a self-created story line that governs the ways we perceive ourselves, and which forms the basis of our self-image. For you to change thIS narrative, you have to figure out its source: who’s thoughts are you basing your judgements on? Where and when did you receive those messages? Some thoughts that are learned can recur in your mind so often that you start to believe in them. Even derogatory thoughts, such as “you are fat” or “you are ugly” can then become truths to your eyes and ears. However, the converse can also happen: just as we can learn and internalise these thoughts, we can un-learn them. Choose to focus on the good, and positively affirm yourself. For instance, one strategy is to write down positive things about yourself for a minute. Remember to keep reminding yourself of these positive things. It has been found that methods concerning positive affirmation can alleviate the symptoms of depression. In particular, a large amount of positive statements done in writing has been linked to greater improvement of self-worth.

3. Try not to pit yourself against others

If you think lowly of yourself, this is most likely because you are comparing yourself to someone else whom you feel is more intelligent or talented, for example. However, it is important to note that a person who may appear extremely successful at life on social media (i.e. wonderful friends, great school, happy family, etc) may not be happy in person. Pitting yourself against others is only going to make you anxious, stressed out and miserable. Having a low sense of self-worth is not just an arbitrary statement. It has the potential to affect all domains of your life, including your physical health, relationships and work life.

4. Recognise your strengths

As aforementioned, we are not made from a mould; everyone is unique in their own way, and all of us have different strengths and weaknesses. None of us has no strengths or no weaknesses, and no singular quality defines our core worth. Rather than harp on your weaknesses, recognise what you are good at and the positive feelings they incite in you when you are partaking in those activities, for example. It is more realistic to remind yourself of the things you are strong in rather than to make sweeping, negative statements about yourself when you make a mistake. If it is hard for you to identify your strengths, ask a friend or loved one to help you with that; just as we are our own harshest critics, it is easier for others to see the good in us.

5. Stay active

Exercise has been linked to an improved sense of self and improved psychological well-being. This is because exercise is a means of self-care, and the act of physical exertion is empowering in itself. For instance, weight-lifting can be especially helpful, as there is a direct, numerical measure of calibrating your improvement and achievements. Not just exercise, but other means of self-care - such as getting enough rest and eating well - have also been known to positively affect one’s sense of self-worth. It is suggested for us to dedicate a bit of time, daily, for us to do something relaxing, fun or satisfying.

6. Help the needy

Volunteering to help others keeps you occupied and away from your own negative, all-consuming thoughts. It has been found that the more often and regularly people engage in activities that lend them a sense of pride and accomplishment, the easier it is for them to see that they are worth it and that they deserve their own respect. Activities such as helping the needy have tangible effects: they give value both to the benefactor and the beneficiaries. To try this out, you can spend a day deliberately showing bits of kindness to others around you, even complete strangers. Be mindful of how you feel at the start and end of the day. Has your mood improved?

7. Forgive others

Holding onto grudges can keep you in a cycle of negative thoughts and feelings. Even not forgiving ourselves will render us stuck in this vicious loop. Forgiving others and yourself will connect you with feelings of love. It cultivates an acceptance of people, despite their bad sides and weaknesses. This then leads to an improvement of self-worth. Ask for forgiveness from those you have hurt, forgive those who have hurt you, and offer forgiveness to yourself for the times you have hurt yourself.

8. Circumstances do not define you

Your core worth is separate from your circumstances. Love yourself for who you are as a person. This is the first step towards increasing your self-worth. Know that you, and everyone else, is imperfect, and love yourself for that. Grow with a sense of enjoyment, while not being afraid of failure. Most importantly, failure does not alter your core worth.

We are all born with a blank slate of infinite potential and are equally worth it. Self-love and hard work can and will ward against negative thoughts that imply otherwise.

Category(s):Self-Esteem, Self-Love

Source material from Psychology Today

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