How To Improve Your Self-Worth: 30+ Experts Share Incredibly Powerful Tips + Strategies To Boost Your Self-Esteem
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.”
― Iyanla Vanzant
A sincere thanks to all the awesome experts who shared their best tips, insights and strategies on how to improve our self-worth.
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 – www.lifeissuespsychotherapy.com
As an empowerment coach, this topic is as close to home as one can come for me.
I believe that the decisions we make in life and how we show up in relationships is directly linked to how we value ourselves.
If you take a moment and reflect back on the things in your life that you wish you hadn’t done or handled differently, I can wager that the root of the wrongful thinking/behavior was an attempt on your part to “get love”.
This behavior will indeed continue throughout your life until a conscious decision is made to love yourself holy and wholly.
Although this topic is worthy of a book rather than an article (as I am currently writing right now), I will touch upon a few places to start that can help you become more conscious to where you may be perpetuating your lack of worth.
1. Be mindful of your self-talk.
What we say to ourselves on the daily, is exactly what we will create. Make the decision to be diligently watchful of the conversations you have about/to yourself and then turn each and every thought/belief into the opposite. Yes, it will feel like you are lying to yourself at first, but eventually your “go to” thoughts will change from lack and defeat to empowerment and love.
2. Your only authority is YOU.
Do not allow the perceptions, words and beliefs others have formed about you to become your worth. Others can only see us through the filter of their own pains/fears/love. What they say about us is none of our business. It is only a reflection of themselves.
3. Surround yourself with an inspiring, supportive community.
We are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. Be willing to allow the negative and unsupportive fellows in your life to fall away and say Yes to loving, supportive and empowering new friends.
4. Forgive yourself easily and move forward.
To beat oneself up over a mistake is to belittle and demean the very essence of Who you are. Treat your inner self as you would a small child who makes a mistake. Be gentle and loving always. You are human and you will make mistakes. It’s how you handle them that matters.
Always remember… You are a beautiful, deserving, loving, complete and unique child of the very source of our being.
Kristen Brown, Certified Empowerment Coach/Mentor – www.facebook.com/SweetEmpowermentLifeCoaching
Some people believe that the relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have.
If you genuinely like yourself and respect yourself, you will attract others that treat you accordingly. This may be hard to accept, but loving yourself means accepting yourself as you are……faults and all. Absolutely no one is perfect, so let your expectations down a bit and begin to like the person you are and the unique qualities you possess.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to improve yourself if there are areas that need improvement.
Your life’s journey is about learning and growing as a person so that you can be more present and engaging for others. But, through this process, you can still like yourself and know that you are doing the best you possibly can.
I remember one client in particular who had such a hard time liking the woman she was.
She was smart, extremely attractive, kind, and generous with her friends. In my eyes, there was nothing not to like. Unfortunately, she had been in many less-than- ideal relationships with men that continually put her down and chopped away at her spirit.
Over time she began to believe what they were saying.
After working together for a couple of months, she was able to see herself through a different set of eyes. She began to see her beauty and accept her sincere qualities.
Once she saw herself in a different manner, things positively shifted in her life.
She got out of an emotionally toxic relationship and began seeking new employment. She was feeling on top of the world and I saw a light in her eyes that I had not seen before. Just by beginning the process of falling in love with herself, she was finally excited with her life and the prospects lying before her.
For it is only when you learn to love yourself, that you have love to give another, are equipped to love someone else completely, and attract a person who will reciprocate that love.
When you realize how loveable you are and how worthy you are of someone else’s love, you are on the right track to finding that love you always wanted. And, you are worth it!
When you possess a healthy sense of self-worth, that will be apparent to others, and you will become more attractive to others, as a result. Take this week to nurture yourself and begin to love the person you are.
1. Stop putting yourself down
We all have an inner voice that chops away at our spirit. You know, the voice that incessantly nags at you every time you make the slightest mistake. This voice is extremely toxic and overwhelming at times, but you do have the power to push this voice aside.
When you notice the voice in your head, stop it in its tracks. Replace the negative statement with a more positive and empowering statement.
2. Look after yourself
People are working harder and longer hours, and in the process they are neglecting their health and well being. As a result, your relationships and health suffer over time. Falling in love with yourself means committing to extreme self-care. Because you care about yourself and your well being, you are willing to nurture your physical and mental health.
By this, it is crucial to set time aside for activities that keep you healthy and strong. Get a regular massage, take naps, see a therapist, exercise, eat healthy, and grow spiritually (closer to God).
3. Play to your strengths
Each and every one of us is unique and special. Instead of focusing on what you are bad at, focus on your strengths. Get engaged in activities that come natural to you. You will find your confidence improving as you get more successful at these. Success breeds success, so it will spill over to the other areas of your life.
Evelyn Barton, Psychotherapist – www.newlifecounselingservice.com
Self-worth is a combination of how you feel about yourself inside and how you are reflected back by the significant people in your life, past and present.
If your inner spirit is self-confident, prideful, flexible, resilient, and self-honoring, you’ve probably had some wonderful mirrors during your life and are blessed with values your society prioritizes. If you wouldn’t date you because you’re not as marketable as you’d like to be, you probably wouldn’t expect someone else to either.
The hard truth is that our self-worth can fluctuate, depending on how that medley adds up in any one moment.
If you are beloved by important people, it’s easier to deal with internal and external perceived flaws. And, if you feel great about yourself, you’re likely to attract people who feel the same way about you.
On the other hand, if you’re filled with feelings of self-disdain, there are few on the outside that will be able to get through that wall. Similarly, if you are with others who don’t find you high on the relationship score care, your love of self can help get you through.
The easiest way to increase self-esteem is to put a lot of energy into what you do have to offer, and then offer it to people who value your contribution. That is a loaded statement and here’s why:
Most people want to be a ten. Being rated highly brings many benefits. So imagine a group of people you really want to belong to and what that group of people most highly values in internal and external psychological, mental, spiritual, and physical attributes. Where would you rank in that hypothetical tribe?
Here’s the catch.
If you are the best of that group, you automatically get the life boat when the ship goes down. If you’re at the bottom, just holding on to inclusion, you are in constant danger of rejection. That goes for intimate relationships as well.
Yet, being at the top, there is always a competitor breathing at your heels, and you’re not likely to learn anything about yourself or need to grow.
If you’re at the bottom, and you feel too tentative, you might be filled with anticipation of rejection. Or, you can always join a lesser group who will put you higher in the ranking and make your self-worth relative to the people you are with.
The ideal would be to be the best person you can be constantly giving birth to a better you, every day.
That way you can go in and out of comparison groups of people or personal relationships and get better at how you feel about yourself. The beam you send out is reflective. It brings in similar souls. The journey can be delightful or a little unsettling. If you approach it is an adventure rather than looking for an end-point and working backwards, your self-worth will definitely improve.
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
How many of you walk around all day with a nasty little voice ringing in your ears that criticizes just about everything you do?
It’s a semi-conscious thing and we are usually unaware of how we’re beating ourselves up until we become overwhelmed with the onslaught of negative judgments that are weighing us down.
This voice is probably a combination of parents, teachers, people we admire, and, of course, it’s our own voice as we compare ourselves to others.
When we talk about self-worth, self-esteem, self-conﬁdence, the operational word here is “self”. Please think about this. How can anyone from the outside determine anything about your”self”? Does anyone other than you live with what you really love, fear, aspire to or dream about? No one but you understands what it is like to live your life.
The value of you cannot be measured by an accumulation of stuff.
Your diamond studded Cartier watch says nothing about you as a human being. Your experiences and your work are a result of who you are inside, who you believe yourself to be. In the arena of love, there are no hard and fast rules.
Yes, your best friend has had many boyfriends to your one or two. Does that tell us anything about the quality of these relationships? It does not.
As a therapist I have met so many people whose world looks terriﬁc from the outside. This facade has little to do with what is really going on inside.
I have met beautiful girls who are obsessed with their imperfections and are genuinely scared witless at the prospect of losing their so-called beauty as they age. Does this sound like a satisfying life that you would long for?
You are a combination of so many things.
Your attitudes, respect for others, and ability to love are some of these. If you allow yourself to take an unbiased look at who you are, it is impossible to find no worth whatsoever. Turn down the spotlight on the attributes you consider to be your deficits. Let it shine on the parts that are bright and shiny — I know they are there
You have no reason to devalue yourself, and if someone puts you down, head for the hills — there’s better out there.
Ruth Gordon, M.A., MSW, LICSW – www.foreverfabulousyou.com
Our self worth is predominately established by what we learn from family and society.
We interpret their positive and/or negative feedback of our behavior and judge ourselves accordingly. People with low esteem will generally be critical and judgmental of themselves; not just verbally but in the majority of their self-talk as well.
Most of us wouldn’t think of being critical to a 2-year old. We would be encouraging and supportive, loving and compassionate – speak to yourself with that same energy!
To improve your self-worth, I believe it is important to learn how to talk to ourselves as we would talk to a small child we love.
Replace mental phrases such as “you idiot” with “that’s ok – try again”; or “you’re so fat” with “you look perfect the way you are”; or “I can’t do it” with “sure you can, just practice”.
I encourage clients to create a bundle of flash cards with positive self-statements on them and carry them everywhere. Spend a few moments, several times a day going through the flash cards until you re-learn healthy self-assessment.
If you find that you are judging yourself for past mistakes, practice forgiveness!
Yesterday is over – you learn from it and move forward. Your continued punishment for a previous mistake doesn’t make any sense. You wouldn’t punish your college student today for not completing a homework assignment in 6th grade – would you?
Stop punishing yourself for learning lessons as you experience life – that is what life is for… learning!
At birth, you were perfect in every way. Today, you are still that same perfection, just experienced. Practice positive self-talk in absolutely everything you do – you will find it becomes a mental habit much more powerful than the negative trap of self criticism and judgment.
Leslyn Kantner, MSMHC, NCC – www.theharmonycc.com
Intellectually I bet you would agree that the more you love and respect yourself, the more likely it will be for single love-seekers to be drawn to you.
And you’ve likely heard that the number one element that men find alluring, attractive and appealing in a woman is CONFIDENCE.
Easy to understand, easy to talk about, but…creating and bringing forth that sense of self-love and personal confidence is another thing altogether.
The secret to loving yourself better?
Practice. In fake-it-til-you-make-it fashion, starting right here, right now. Whip out a piece of paper and make a list of The Best of You. The guy who gets to be with you? What are the goodies he can expect?
List any and all qualities that come to your mind.
What is it about you that your friends, former boyfriends and family members have appreciated about you through the years? You’re making a list of your key Elements of Appeal, or The Best of You. If you’re not sure, call or email those close to you, to find out.
And then do a sweet little meditation – study this list of qualities and characteristics that are The Best of You.
Drink them in, one at a time, allowing yourself to dwell on and celebrate each of these aspects that have served to make you truly loveable to those who do indeed love you.
As you contemplate each of these qualities, take in a deep breath and allow your entire being to be filled with this quality, so that it expands into each cell of your body and deeply throughout your entire life force.
Feel and experience yourself as truly being this quality, deep in the core of who you are and then let the glow radiate outward, enlivening your senses until it brings a lightness to your spirit and a smile to your face.
How we talk to ourselves makes all the difference.
And there is always an inner voice talking, sharing some good, plenty of bad and far too much of the ugly. Offset and counterbalance the bad and the ugly self-talk by starting each day with a quiet meditation, somewhere peaceful and lovely in your home or outside, away from the world’s distractions.
Meditate on these qualities that are the Best of You and allow your inner voice to remind you in a very real and profound way that you are indeed loveable.
Practice reminding yourself by bringing to conscious awareness these aspects of your being. Stay in your meditation until you do indeed feel the love for yourself, and then bring this inner peace and confidence with you throughout your day’s journey.
Whenever life throws you a blow (and you can count on this!) find a quiet place to revisit your list.
The Ladies Room works for me… as does the car, a park bench. Practice daily and often during the day, revisiting the Best of You and allow these qualities to grow and become more and more real and dominant. Practice loving yourself – and watch who shows up…
Julie Ferman, B.A. – www.julieferman.com
Do you agree that you can’t love others, unless you love yourself first?
After all, if you don’t feel love, you don’t know love. But, if you think about it, loving who you are is the most wonderful and generous thing you can do for yourself and those closest to you. Here’s why. When you feel good and display self-worth, those around you pick up on the positive energy.
If you appear to be a fulfilled, satisfied person who is enjoying life, people want to be around you. In other words, when you care about yourself and understand your important value, you express a quality that is both attractive and life enhancing.
What can you do to feel better about yourself?
1. Allow special time to be alone.
This nurtures, centers and relaxes you so you can handle challenges more easily and effectively.
2. Make choices based on the joy of giving, rather than on the guilt of obligation.
When you do this, you feel good about your behavior and are rewarded with personal satisfaction and contentment.
3. Be responsible for creating your own happiness.
You do not need anyone to MAKE you happy, because you have the necessary elements for happiness to come to you.
4. Get rid of negativity, including the people and situations you find toxic.
Surround yourself with lovely things, supportive people, joyfulness, excitement, peace and harmony.
Watch you life change once you realize your self-love is spilling over to others, attracting quality men into your life and bringing you the blessings and happiness you definitely deserve.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
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 – www.revelationcounseling.com
As a psychotherapist for women and teenagers, exploring identity and self-worth is something that I do every day with many of my clients.
Here is what I have found to be consistent:
The key to improving self-worth is recognizing that self-worth is not something that can be obtained or earned. It already exists. You are valuable. The questions is, are your thoughts and actions consistent with this truth? Are you living your day-to-day life as though you are a unique and lovable person of worth?
It is common in our society for the individual to base her value on something that she does, something she possesses, or something that someone else recognizes as desirable about her.
Even if you think you are exempt from these societal pressures, be careful to consider how you often may be tempted to base your self worth on something external.
You may also be accustomed to a self-defeating way of viewing your actions.
Focusing too much on the past, (whether because of guilt, bitterness, or fear of repeating it) is harmful to our self-concept. Focus on what you can do, instead of what you “can’t” or “didn’t” do. Focus on the things that make you feel the most alive and/or at peace. You are then getting in touch with the self-worth that already exists in you.
How do we know if our actions are honoring our self-worth? It may take some persistent checking-in.
At least once a day, stop for a moment and consider something along these lines, “I know I am valuable, lovable [whatever words are most meaningful to you]; is what I am doing right now consistent with that belief?”
If you aren’t quite ready for that, try “I want to believe that I am valuable and lovable; is what I am doing right now helping me strengthen that belief?”
Kristine Gottesman Tye, M.A. LMFT – www.kristinemft.com
Look at the glass as half full.
People who are able to see the positive side of things are more attractive to others. We all want to spend time with people who are able to turn lemons into lemonade, so when you catch yourself with a negative thought about yourself or a situation, find a way to turn it into a positive.
If you really want to put this into practice, try thinking three positive things for every negative. It’s not a long-term suggestion, but something to help get in the habit of finding the positives in life.
Find hobbies you enjoy.
Becoming well-rounded allows you to meet a variety of people. Meeting more people means making more friends who share similar interests, and can teach you new things. Sometimes we can’t find time for the hobbies we used to enjoy, so make a point to schedule time in to reconnect with your previous passion.
If you haven’t found a hobby you love, look into introductory classes through the local community centers or recreation centers. They often have affordable classes that allow you to try new things without a length time or financial commitment. With so many options, you are bound to find something you like and you may discover strengths you never knew you had.
Balance your life.
Life is busy. According to the American Psychological Association, only 37 percent of Americans feel they are actually doing an excellent or very good job of managing their stress. Stress takes a toll on your self worth because it will always seem like you aren’t doing enough.
Take inventory and figure out where you need to adjust. If you are working too much, take some of your vacation days and go on vacation- what a concept!
If you are slacking off in your health, plan some prep time to make healthy meals for the week and set the alarm on your phone to remind you to take a break and walk around the office building each day. Balance relieves stress and allows you to take care of yourself, which is the most important part of building self worth.
Kelli Korn, MSW, LCSW – www.cofamilycounselingcenter.com
Do you notice how you speak to yourself inwardly?
One way of improving your self worth is by building your self-compassion and speaking to yourself as if you are worthy of kindness and compassion.
We all know what compassion is and are usually able to be compassionate toward others, but rarely are we compassionate toward ourselves.
Many people are not aware of their inner voice at all, so that is the best place to start. Become aware of how you are speaking to yourself (in your head). Just check in with your thoughts every once in a while throughout your day.
When you become aware, or if you have been aware of your inner dialogue for some time, start to take notice of the tone in which you speak to yourself and the words you choose.
When you are aware of negative self-talk, try separating the voice out of your head and put it in front of you as a separate person.
Would you want to be around this person? Would you allow this person to be your friend? Probably not.
Now, try taking what you are saying to yourself and try to see the situation differently. If your best friend were talking to you now, what would she say? If your best friend were going through a similar situation, what would you say to her? I highly doubt it would be what you are saying to yourself, would it?
Whenever you notice this nasty voice talking to you in your head, as often as possible, try replacing it with something more compassionate and kind toward yourself.
Try being your own best friend. Remember, you do not have to be perfect. You will not catch yourself very often at first, but you will become more aware with time. Even if you can make this conscious change once a week or once a day, you’re cultivating more awareness. There are not giant leaps here, just baby steps.
Kimberly Atwood, M.A., LPC, LCAT, MT-BC – www.kimatwood.com
“Every person born into this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique. It is the duty of every person… to know and consider that he is unique in the world in his particular character, and that there has never been someone like him before.
For if there had been someone like him before, there would be no need for him to be in the world. Every single person is a new thing in the world and is called upon to fulfill his particularity in the world.”
Consider the above from Martin Buber passage and allow it to sink in.
As you ponder your own self worth, recognize that there is no one else to compare yourself against, and that your intrinsic value is inborn. It is already there. In order to improve your worth, A) champion what is good in you and B) exercise your unique gifts.
Simply practice these two things fully.
If you compare yourself to others, try to be like others, try to form yourself to what you imagine is “the ideal”… you are veering off course.
By trusting your instincts, honing your craft, and being intimately engaged with life; you are doing everything you need to be doing. If you want a perfect partner, a dream job, a happy life… all are spawned from your most vibrant authenticity.
If you work on being the best version of yourself and nurturing what is good, there is no need to chase after those things.
They will arrive as a result. There is no need to acquire, only polish what you already possess. Be you. The more authentic and pure the diamond, the greater the value. Your gift is your own, and others will recognize it once you do.
Elizabeth Baum, M.A., MFTi – www.elizabethbaumintegral.com
Self-worth is something you gain by accomplishing things in your life.
By setting goals of what you want to achieve and working hard at reaching them is one way to obtain self-worth. It is having a feeling of self-acceptance regardless of your faults. Too often women can be too hard on themselves and comparing themselves to other women.
What makes me unique? What do I have to offer the world? Look at your strengths and know you have worth as a person. Carefully monitor what you are telling yourself, what messages you are saying? Are you telling yourself, “I’m not good enough” “I don’t like myself”?
Our thoughts affect how we feel.
By replacing your negative thoughts to positive ones you will start to feel better about yourself and who you are. Telling yourself “I am good enough” and “I like myself for who I am” daily will start to change how you feel.
Daily exercise can dramatically improve how you feel about yourself.
It will improve your mood and the physical changes you will see can help build your self-confidence. As you get stronger physically and work on liking yourself from the inside, you will become unstoppable!
Chris McDonald, MS, LPCA, NCC, DCC – www.pathtohopecounseling.com
Positive Self Talk is the easiest way to improve yourself and your life, as you live it.
Positive Self Talk is the most portable, easy to use, self improvement tool there is. It is always with you wherever you go. You do not need to take even 20 minutes out of your day to use it. You can use it on the fly. You get the benefits and positive effects of it immediately with use. And you feel good while doing it.
What do you say when you talk to yourself?
Positive Self Talk makes you feel better. It releases the natural feel good chemical Serotonin into your blood stream. It motivates you. It makes you work harder. It makes you do better next time.
It improves your performance in anything you are working on. It gives you a positive outlook and improves your life satisfaction immensely. Negative self talk has absolutely no benefits of any kind. None.
Try this: Notice negative self talk, change the statement turn it around 180 degrees and turn it into a positive statement.
Repeat it 3 times either out loud or to yourself whenever the negative statement occurs. The negative statement will go away, the positive statement will replace it.
How do we formulate Positive Self Talk Statement?
1. Always make the statement in a positive form.
Example: I always eat small portions of Healthy foods.
versus: I don’t eat cake.
Try this… “Don’t think about the Peach.”
What are you thinking about? … the Peach. Right?
Your subconscious mind does not do negatives. Put all statement in positive terms.
2. Alway put statements in the first person.
Example: I will, I am, I do, My life is,
3. Always in the present tense, as if the goal is already accomplished.
Example: I always eat healthy.
I sleep straight through the night.
I always make the hills on my bike.
I am happy, relaxed and healthy.
Best Times to Use Positive Self Talk:
Right before you fall asleep.
Right when you open your eyes in the morning.
Amelia Hasenohrl, LPC, CHt – www.grandtraversehypnotherapy.blogspot.com
Many women struggle with self worth and self esteem issues, which can contribute to challenges within interpersonal relationships, romantic and otherwise. If a person wants to attract positive people who enhance her life, she must believe that she is worth it.
Some ways to increase your self esteem and self worth include:
1. Do positive things for yourself.
Schedule time just for you! Get your nails done, join a book club, enroll in a yoga class, go for a run, start a new healthy eating regimen. When you prioritize yourself, you remind yourself that you are worth that time and energy. That tells other people that you’re worth that time and energy, too!
2. Make yourself a priority.
It’s easy to forget to put yourself on your to do list. With all of the tasks required of us every week, it’s hard to justify spending even an hour on yourself. Again, when you make it a point to worry about you, you remind yourself that you are deserving.
3. Manage your expectations.
Perfectionism can only set you up for failure; no matter how hard you try, perfection is not an attainable goal. Remember that you are not defined by your shortcomings unless you allow yourself to be.
4. Banish negative self talk.
We all have internal “tapes” that we play in our minds. Listen to your self talk and pay attention to the way you treat yourself; if you find yourself making negative or punitive statements, work toward rephrasing them to be more positive.
Instead of thinking, “I am always such a mess at work,” think, “I am working toward being more organized.” Framing feelings and thoughts in more positive ways not only can help to enhance self worth, but empower you to move forward toward your goals and plans.
5. Look your best.
Just like mood impacts behavior, so too does behavior impact mood. Therefore, when you’re having a hard day or feeling bad about yourself, doing something simple like wearing an outfit you feel confident in can make all the difference in your mood.
6. Create and maintain healthy boundaries.
You can choose who you allow in your life. Recognize that you deserve positive people in your life and that you do not need to allow other kinds of behavior in your life.
And remember, your sense of self comes from inside of you, not from the opinions of others. People treat us the way we teach them to treat us, and a person with healthy self worth teaches people to treat them with respect, consideration, and trust.
Sandra DiWilliams, MS, LPC – www.sandradiwilliamslpc.com
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines SELF WORTH as “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect.”
Pretty simple, right? WHAT IF you could really believe, deep down in your heart, that you ARE a good person who deserves to be treated with respect? Not just by your best girlfriends and your family, but also by someone you are romantically intimate with (or would like to be)….
With no disrespect to Merriam-Webster, MY definition of self worth is about having self esteem and self-respect, even when no one else is around (watching, listening, or paying attention). It’s being able to look in the mirror, and know that you are worthy and deserving of being loved, unconditionally, exactly as you are.
NO MATTER WHAT. It’s not what you know you’re “supposed” to say to other people about feeling good about yourself, it’s what you actually DARE to believe.
And don’t we find that quality attractive in someone else?
When someone exudes confidence, cares about themselves in a healthy – rather than an arrogant or entirely selfish – way, we can feel that person’s positive energy vibrate through our bodies in a way that says: “YES! THIS is a person I’d like to spend more time with!”
And imagine if we were to become “That Person,” who loves and respects ourselves enough for someone else to want to spend more time with us?
We’re not striving for “perfection.” We all have those days when we feel yucky, frustrated that our favorite jeans are just a little too tight today. However, when we consistently do our inner work to feel pretty darn good about ourselves most of the time, that’s what we’re working towards. It takes practice and time, and more practice. It takes at least 21 days to rebuild a new, healthier habit.
Why not start today?
My strongest suggestion for improving your sense of self-worth: Fill your mind, body, and spirit with positive messages, EVERY DAY.
There are many amazing writers, websites, books, fitness programs, etc., that are all geared towards getting over our old, negative thought patterns and learning how to feel better about ourselves.
Find what resonates with you, practice being your most authentic self, and start to believe that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect. Because it’s true: you ARE.
Michelle L. Kaye, M.A., LPC – www.michellekaye.com
Improving self worth is a daunting idea because it isn’t as simple as me writing down a list of “7 Steps to Improve Self Worth”, you following them, and voilà the self worth you desire you’ve got.
It’s deeper. It’s complicated. It’s hard. But if it’s something you want that badly, start digging deep. We don’t just gain our self worth overnight; it’s something that takes times to develop.
Since it’s hard to even figure out where to begin, here are some starting points:
1. It’s not about being glam, that helps because it makes you feel good and may get some stares from the fellas, but the self worth starts with the way you view yourself from the inside.
The way you value yourself by the way you act and treat others. Leading me to the second point…
2. Men love women who are confident in themselves and that confidence is a reflection of our self worth.
Men have some sort of crazy radar detector that signals them which women are confident and those who aren’t. If you don’t think you’re worth it, he won’t think you’re worth it either.
3. Self worth does not come from sleeping around.
In fact creates the opposite; you think your only value is from the sex you provide. Hear this, you are worth so much more than what is in your pants.
4. Don’t play the comparison game.
There will always be someone who is richer, taller, thinner, prettier…you name it, someone will always have you beat. Comparison is the thief of joy and joy is found in women who know they are worth something more than what society says they are.
You may read all that and think, “you’re insane, I’ve tried it all and that doesn’t work”. I would encourage you to seek help from a mentor or counselor and really talk through who are you, who you want to be, and events in your life that may have shaped your own self worth. An outside party can always be helpful.
Haley Gage, M.A., LAPC – www.simplifiedatlanta.com
Quite often, we mistakenly equate self-worth with self-confidence.
While the two concepts are related, they are not synonymous. Self-confidence refers to the amount of faith we have in our ability to succeed at some task. A well-rounded person has a varied and realistic sense of self-confidence, knowing that we are all, at times, stronger in some areas of our lives than others.
Self-worth, on the other hand, is that basic belief that we are worthy of the same love, affection, and respect as any other person.
It has very little to do with anyone’s appraisal of your abilities and skills. It is the respect that you give yourself, by virtue of your membership in the club we call humankind.
An important part of the self-worth concept is that it is based upon the individual, hence the “self”.
The “self” of self-worth signifies much more than your personal assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. The “self” of self-worth indicates that your value is based on you and only you.
It is not based on your membership to group. It is not based on your affiliation with high status individuals. It is not based upon your role as partner, mother, boss, or lover of another person. It is not a measure of how perfect you are, or how desirable you are to others. It is based upon YOUR appraisal of the respect that YOU are due.
Because self-worth is only given by you, it can only be taken away or diminished by your own beliefs about yourself.
Being the parent of a young girl has taught me so much about my own self-worth. As I go through life learning to be her mommy, it is my job help instill in her all the positive traits and skills that I know will make her a successful adult. She/We are often successful, but there are times when we fail to reach our goals.
When we don’t reach our goals, is it because this beautiful child is not worthy or love or respect?
Most of you will understand that the appropriate response to that statement is a resounding “NO”! Why then, would we as adults become unworthy of love or respect based on our successes or failures?
In order to build a healthy sense of self-worth, we must begin to separate our successes and failures from our basic right to be loved and respected.
Dr. Kristin Stover – www.kristinstover.com
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson
The concept of women improving their self-worth is a topic that most people have a misunderstanding about. Simply put, it implies that women are void of the essential belief that they matter.
As children, we have a tremendous amount of self-worth. Children dream big. They honor their accomplishments because they value the effort that went in to overcoming challenges. They move big, take up space, and speak loudly. Children are noticed and they know they matter.
What occurs over time is that children grow up being fed messages that they are inadequate and that their belief in themselves is wrong.
Females especially become defined by the negative messages sent to them.
If women outwardly show assertiveness and confidence, they are criticized. If women grow passive by squelching their talents, intelligence, and boldness, they can feel victimized.
We innately have self-worth, power, and a sense that we matter. Develop strong personal boundaries to protect your power and don’t give it away to those who feel threatened by your greatness.
Celebrate your gifts, your purpose, and your talents.
Always be mindful of what legacy you want to leave behind when your days on earth are over. You don’t have time to play small. Be powerful beyond measure.
Brooke Campbell, M.A., RDT-BCT, LCAT – www.creativekinections.com
In a world full of critics, challenges, pressures and set-backs it is easy to feel insecure.
We can quickly overlook our accomplishments and become preoccupied with our perceived inadequacies.
Self-worth is something that we need to work at consciously.
Like creating something from a pile of Legos, we can build our self-confidence one block at a time. The good news is that we all possess the ability to grow and we all have blocks to build with.
Here are five tips for cultivating self-love.
1. Pursue your interests and curiosities.
Aside from your career, educational history or day-to-day responsibilities, what are you interested in? Make a list and pursue it. Aztecs, aliens, Reiki, foreign language, animal rights. Whatever it is, following our interests and curiosities can fortify us with a sense of purpose and meaning.
2. Train your inner critic to be nice.
We all have a running dialogue of thought in our minds. When we begin to cultivate awareness of this dialogue we can detect patterns, notice if our thoughts are self-critical and be intentional about becoming more compassionate.
Pay attention. If you find yourself thinking something that is not building you up, try rephrasing your thought to something more positive. This is a skill that takes practice but is very effective.
3. Honor how far you have come.
We expect more and more of ourselves and often forget how far we have actually come or where we came from. Take a moment to think about yourself five or ten years ago.
Where were you? Were you working somewhere, in school, in a relationship? What challenges have you been faced with and overcome along the way? Be intentional about identifying ways that you have grown, changed, evolved.
4. Gather strength from sources of unconditional love.
Surround yourself with people, places and environments that make your feel comfortable and loved. Visit an older relative or a good friend. Take a long walk in the woods or on the beach. Spend time around animals. Cats and dogs are great sources of unconditional love!!
5. Get physical.
Setting fitness goals and participating in physical activity can definitely boost your feelings of self-worth. You do not have to run a marathon; a simple walk around the block is good for the soul. There are so many options for physical fitness. Take it one step at a time, set small, attainable goals.
Jamie Ganger, LCSW – www.globalwellnesscenter.net
Self-worth is strengthened by creating identity for yourself.
As women, we sometimes fall trap into creating our identities outside of ourselves. Sometimes, we look for relationships, jobs, friends, family members and outside entities to tell us who we are, instead of looking inside.
Even if we look within ourselves to figure out who we are, we often name off our attributes, what we do for a living or descriptive things like our names, hair style or favorite color.
It goes like this:
“Hi, my name is Patricia and I am a teacher, who is sweet, loves the color green and recently got an ombre hair style. While that does describe “Patricia” it doesn’t get down to the essence of her womanhood.
It’s important for women to step into their power to discover who they are. It takes time by asking the hard hitting questions.
a. What makes me, me?
b. What are my likes and dislikes?
c. What do I want out of life?
d. How do I express my femininity?
e. What was I taught as a child about being a woman?
f. What are my physical, emotional and spiritual wants?
g. What can I do to take care of myself on a daily basis?
When we get to really know ourselves, we are able to come to value what is there.
Once you have a good idea of YOU, then you can start working on the areas in your life where your self-worth is low.
As you answer the questions above, if you are having a difficult time recognizing how to express your femininity, then you can come up with ways to do that.
You can read a book about addressing womanhood, join a women’s group, do an overhaul of your make-up supplies, buy a few dresses, schedule manicures and pedicures for the next six months or find a therapist who specializes in women’s issues.
Having high self-worth is about knowing your true essence.
It is about recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, and capitalizing on them. It’s about knowing that you have an immense ability within you to stand in your power. Increasing your self-worth means taking a look in the mirror, looking deep into your eyes and finding your authentic self and letting it shine for the world to see.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.browardcounseling.com
Self-worth is not etched in stone.
Life experiences determine how we feel about ourselves. If we grow up in a safe, nurturing and supportive environment, we are likely to feel confident, secure, and hopeful. If we are raised with criticism, neglect or disapproval, we are likely to feel insecure, inferior, and timid or fearful.
However, the good news is that self-worth is a fluid condition. It ebbs and flows with new experiences. So it stands to reason that we can create experiences that transform self-worth.
It starts with intention and consciousness.
1. Pay attention to your self-talk.
What are you telling yourself? When you fill your head with negative messages, you create that attitude in your entire view of self.
2. Rewrite your self-talk.
Catch yourself in the act of negative self-talk and turn it into something positive and empowering.
3. Examine your body language.
What does your body say about you? Are you smiling? How is your posture? Do you appear confident and optimistic? Do others flock to you because of your positive energy? If not, change it up. What you present on the outside reveals everything about you on the inside.
4. Make a list of your strengths.
If you can’t come up with anything, ask a friend. Often, a good friend is a better judge of our positive characteristics than we are.
5. Do something for others.
Get out of your head and focus on someone else. When you shift focus from the internal to the external, you are more present and conscious. That creates space for meaningful interaction. And that translates to increased self-worth.
6. Set a realistic challenge for yourself.
Self-worth is related to accomplishment. Pick a goal, then set out to fulfill it. But the key word here is realistic. Make sure you set yourself up to succeed.
7. Surround yourself with people who support your new self-worth.
Then go out of your way to support theirs. Learning to celebrate positive characteristics in others not only builds strong relationships (adding to self-worth), but also helps you acknowledge positive characteristics in yourself.
8. Limit your contact with people who work against your new self-worth.
If your self-worth is contingent upon the expectations of others, you’re not likely to succeed.
The key to improving self-worth is exclusively in your control.
No one can do it for you. Learning to be patient, generous, kind and fair with yourself will take practice. And practice will make perfect.
Bobbi Jankovich, LMFT – www.bobbijankovich.com
What do you see when you look into a mirror?
Do you feel love and appreciation for the woman you see or do you see only imperfections, faults, and flaws? Mirror work can be used to gain insight into how we view ourselves and our lives. The mirror work exercise was developed by master teacher, Ms. Louise L. Hay. Ms. Hay encouraged her students to look into a mirror and repeat a mantra about loving themselves, even if they did not believe it at the time.
The ultimate goal of the mantra is to speak self-love, internalize it, and believe it.
Self-worth is the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; or self-respect. Our self-worth can be fluid as we experience the ever changing feedback received from others. Developing a consistent sense of self-worth comes with concerted effort and continued practice.
1. Stop self-criticism and judgment.
Each of us is striving to do our best, but inevitably we will make a mistake. Mistakes can be learning opportunities for how to make future better choices. Suspend judging yourself and calling yourself names. You can think you did something foolish, but avoid calling yourself foolish.
Just like with the mirror work of Ms. Hay, speak positively about yourself and that is how you will see yourself. Focus on what is going well in your life and that is what you will believe about your life.
2. Learn to be good to yourself.
When is the last time you did something nice for yourself? Chances are you routinely take care of the needs of everyone, but often forget about yourself.
If you are a busy person with limited time, pencil in some time each day to do something you enjoy. You are worth every moment you spend taking care of you!
3. Let go of the past.
Letting go of the past can be difficult, but not impossible. Most of us have experienced situations we wish were different, but holding on to these things create ongoing feelings of shame, pain, and regrets. Why let go of the past and forgive yourself and others?
Holding on to the past compromises your self-worth and your relationships. Reflect on the past, forgive yourself and others for not doing better, and set yourself on the course of letting go. Commit to changing how you view the past and open your heart completely.
Dr. Imani Price – www.womensinnerfitness4health.com
The fastest way to improve your self-esteem is to stop your internal voice that judges and criticizes who you are and what you do behaviorally.
Most people think if they judge and call themselves critical names that somehow this will motivate them to improve their self-esteem. Instead it only undermines their confidence and self-worth. Self-judgment causes resistance to change or improvement. Self-judgment creates performance anxiety, which will negatively impact your self-esteem.
The cure to improving your self-esteem and self-love is to accept both your assets and liability.
To replace the internal critical voice with a accepting nurturing voice. Remember no one is perfect as humans we have flaws and make mistakes. We need to accept that liabilities, which means no negative judgment. You don’t have to like your liabilities; you just don’t put yourself down for them. At the same time in order to improve your self-esteem you want to validate your assets.
Another mistake people make when it comes to self-esteem is that they globalize their value judgment of themselves.
They either have low self-esteem or high, and most people say they have low self-esteem. It seems that it’s more socially acceptable to express the negative. What I usually find with people is that they don’t have low self-esteem across their entire self-identity. It’s usual just in one area of the many hats and roles they live.
The direct approach I use in helping a patient develop or build their self-esteem is to have them pick the part of their self-identity where they believe they have low self-esteem.
The process of creating positive self-esteem is the same regardless of what part of their identity they choose. One common part of an individuals’ identity that has low self-esteem is their sense of being a lover/sexuality.
Many times it’s that they believe that they aren’t a good lover sexually because their spouse left them for someone else so they believe it’s because there is something wrong with them and that’s why their lover left them. As a result their self-esteem in this area is in the gutter.
After we have established the part of their self-identity were they want better self-esteem I have them write down the positive attributes they believe they possess that relate to that particular area of self.
If we are dealing with being a lover, I have them list the qualities that they think make them a good lover. Not what others think or say, but what they believe. If the patient isn’t sure of what qualities they have I will have them tell me what are the qualities that they think describe a good lover and then have them tell me if they have those same qualities. This same procedure can be applied to whatever part of a person’s identity that they believe they need positive self-esteem.
Dan Beaver, M.S. – www.danielbeaver.com
Identity… The great “Who am I?” question!
And why is this important for relationships? The answer to this question is a lifelong process, yet an important concept to comprehend, especially within relationships.
Many times we get caught up in superficial ideals for finding a relationship: lose weight, dress a certain way, have sex on the first date, put up with things we don’t like, etc…, but why? What does that say about who we are?
Along with superficial ideals, jealousy, insecurity, criticalness, dishonesty, over-compromise and nagging greatly pollute our identities.
Most times these exist with no real understanding of why? I find many women have either lost themselves by drowning their identity in how her partner perceives her, or she is extremely critical of her partner and their relationship. If we choose to address the roots of these issues and change them, we find ourselves appreciating who we are and the relationships we are in.
Knowing who you are is vital to successful relationships.
This is important because as you face difficulties, you aren’t dragged down by the negativity mentioned above. Knowing who you are leads you to act in ways others find admirable: such as class, maturity, wisdom and most of all with a sense of standards. Once you have an understanding of you, then others can appreciate the genuineness of you too.
Here are some suggestions to get you started.
– What do you like about yourself?
– What needs to happen so you like all of you?
– What are your standards? What do you need to feel wanted or appreciated?
– What makes you smile? What makes you feel whole?
– What needs to happen so you are comfortable with yourself?
– If you can’t answer these, find out why, what’s getting in the way? What walls have been built to prevent you from having a deep and meaningful relationship with yourself?
Don’t delay! Get to know yourself!
You have so many great qualities waiting to burst out, find them and own them. Don’t let the little things block you from discovering the real you. Don’t let shame, guilt, feelings of worthlessness, fear, bitterness, low self-esteem, or the opinions of others get in the way of you meeting you. You deserve and are made for love and connectedness. Relationships are a lot more fun when you know who you are and what you’re worth.
Tristan Beymer, MSW, LCSW – www.bethelcounseling.com
If you have a pulse, you have probably struggled with self-esteem at some point in your life.
You want to feel like a good person, but no matter what you accomplish or how many positive affirmations you recite, you just can’t seem to feel good about who you are. You graduate from college or get promoted and you feel great, but it’s not long before you’re feeling like a schmuck again.
Poor self-esteem chips away at self-worth and drives us to spend countless hours trying to fix ourselves.
We beat up on ourselves, hide the parts we don’t like, and strive endlessly to be a better person. At times we may feel better about ourselves, but eventually we come back to square one. Schmuck.
- But what if you have the problem all wrong?
- What if the problem is not you?
- What if the problem is that you believe all those negative thoughts about yourself?
I’m not saying you’re perfect and neither am I.
- But how do you know those thoughts are true anyway?
- Have you ever had a thought that you were sure was true, only to find out it was totally wrong?
- Has your mind ever been wrong about anything?
Like a machine, our minds are constantly pumping out thought after thought.
All day long they evaluate our surroundings, other people, and ourselves because that’s their job. But when it comes down to it, a lot of our thoughts are untrue or incomplete.
Like the meditation teacher, Sharon Salzberg, says in her book, Faith, the way we think about things can be like “Looking at the sky through a straw.”
Our negative thoughts about ourselves may not appreciate the full reality of who we are. Yet we buy them hook, line, and sinker.
You’ve tried to fix yourself and it hasn’t worked. So why not try something new?
Rather than believing those thoughts, acknowledge them for what they are. For example, rather than, “I will never measure up” try on “I am having the thought that I will never measure up.” Notice whether you feel different when you add, “I’m having the thought that…”
Most people tell me this helps them take their thoughts less seriously. It’s not a cure, but it shows us the first step in releasing ourselves from the grip of poor self-esteem so that we can actually start to like ourselves.
You may think being really hard on yourself will make you a better person. But that’s just a thought too. If that was true, wouldn’t it have worked by now?
Dr. Christa Smith – www.drchristasmith.com