By Allison Cohen – M.A., MFT, Marta Hatter – LCSW, Rachel Lee Glass – MA, CLC

How To Improve Your Self-Worth

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

You are worthy of love and belonging Brené Brown Quote
Allison Cohen

Self worth is a tricky thing.

Because our lives, thoughts and experiences are ever evolving, our esteem can rise to its zenith and plummet to its depths, if we don’t have a handle on the true source.

Often, we struggle to appreciate ourselves because we pin our value on others perceptions. 

If we interpret that information in the negative, we assume it must be true and accordingly punish ourselves for ‘not being good enough.’

The only way to truly grow and sustain your personal worth is to glean it from your core.

It is vital to look deep inside yourself to take an honest appraisal of your virtues and weaknesses. 

When your insecurities, other persons or life circumstances start to make you question yourself, look to that internal list to praise yourself when you deserve/need it and work on what can be improved upon when necessary.

When you create an internal focus, you quiet the noise from the outside world, your attention to others perceptions melt away and you create a pool of emotional resources to dive into when you need to self soothe.
Essentially, you build an invisible (but potent) force field that will allow you to weather the storm of fears and doubts that when left unchallenged, wreak havoc on your esteem.
Allison Cohen, M.A., MFT –
Marta Hatter

Many people struggle with self-image, identifying a purpose, or a sense of significance.

Instead of focusing on this issue, take your eyes off of yourself. 

You have a purpose. What do you have strong feelings about? Advocate for? Want to change? Believe in? You have Infinite Value, no matter what anyone has ever said to the contrary.

Consider your finger and toe prints, your DNA; unequaled, unduplicated, unique. You have a purpose. 

Redirect your attention from your self-worth, to actions you can take that express your values. 

You will find yourself shoulder-to shoulder with other people who take action. You do make a difference.

  • If you have a heart for cancer patients, begin participating in cancer walks and sharing with others. 
  • If social injustice upsets you, donate to amazing organizations or contact them to see how you might volunteer your time.
  • Care about the homeless? Help to feed them or participate with a group who builds homes for them. 
  • Have you lost the elders in your family? Visit and read to those in nursing homes in your area. 
  • Do you love children, and long to be a parent? Participate at your local library for Story-time, or volunteer in the nursery at your church.

You have a responsibility to give, contribute, share, assist, and care.

When you focus on these areas as best you are able, you WILL impact others and then you will experience fulfillment and the worth within you while meeting quality people who take action and make a difference. 

You have infinite value, worth that cannot be measured.

Marta Hatter, LCSW –

Rachel Lee Glass

When it comes to having healthy self-esteem or self-worth the key component is the “self”. 

The foundation of loving yourself is knowing yourself. You can’t have esteem for something you don’t know. 

You can’t value something ever changing or vague. 

You can’t care for, accept, or build on something you don’t understand. So “Who am I” is a very big question to ask yourself; and answering it is the first step towards developing a solid secure sense of self, and so healthy self-esteem. Know yourself, care for yourself, accept yourself, and just be yourself.

Your “self” or your “Identity” has both internal and external elements. 

External labels like rich, smart, or athletic, are all changeable and unsteady. Internal elements like your core values and beliefs are less changeable and what you want to nurture.

When our self-esteem is based on external elements we can be easily knocked down by insults, shortcomings, or failures. 

We can become shallow or materialistic in an effort to feel worthy. It can be a quick self-esteem fix to focus on appearance, or grades, or scorers but not lasting or solid.

When it comes to popularity, ironically “fitting in” with a group can be a very precarious way to feel worthy. 

If you betray your authentic self to get external praise or connections you will grow to feel more unsure- not less. If you pretend to be someone you are not in a romantic relationship, you will know it’s not the real you that they love but rather your persona. You will become insecure or jealous in no time. Your external self should be a clear refection of your internal self, not a costume that hides it.

Internal elements of the self come from your very nature. 

  • How compassionate are you? 
  • What makes you laugh? 
  • Who do you most admire and why? 
  • What are you naturally good at? 
  • Where do you find beauty, safety, or joy? 
  • How does your spirituality guide you? 

Ask yourself these deeper questions to begin finding your true self.

Once you know yourself enough to know what you are passionate about, you can begin to develop a sense of competency by delving into those passions. 

For example, if its knitting and you become amazing at it, you will have better self-esteem that a mediocre race car driver; who does it so people will think he’s cool. Seriously. Competency is another internal element that builds your self-esteem when it comes from an authentic passion.

Nurturing your authentic self is self-love. 

Once you are in touch with the real you, you can also accept you and go be you. If you’re a professional wrapper who just realized that you love easily listening from the 70’s, go for it. 

If you are a professional football player who enjoys the ballet, then get those tickets. If you are homecoming queen but you secretly wish to solder, get that welding helmet girl. We value most what we invest the most in. Invest in the real you.

Rachel Lee Glass, MA, CLC –

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