To start with, it’s best to define self-worth; self-worth is your value, of yourself (determined by actions not your thoughts). How you value yourself will determine whether you have high or low self-worth, if you don’t believe you deserve a lot in life or from others, you will accept negative treatment from others. You may find that you choose partners, friends and have certain family members around who don’t value you or your relationship, thus treating you in a less than acceptable manner. You may find that you may not like the treatment but you’ll maintain the relationships. It’s not necessarily what you think that determines your self-worth but the actions which follow; for example, if you believe you have high self-worth but surround yourself with people who treat you unfairly or belittle you, your self-worth is low otherwise you wouldn’t accept that sort of treatment.
Society has a part to play in determining self-worth, you’re often taught to compare yourself to others so you can determine whether you’re worthy of status, money, certain friendships etc. There is no possible way you can always be achieving more than someone else, as you’ll always have someone ahead and someone behind you, yet if you try and constantly be better than others, your fighting a losing battle. If you do find yourself doing better than someone else and you feel like you’re on cloud 9, you’ll also find you won’t be there for long as it’s unrealistic to think you could hold onto that feeling. It is always short lived and therefore means you’ll be on a rollercoaster in terms of your feelings and emotions. This happens because your self-worth is based on external factors and as you’re aware, external factors change all the time, so you wouldn’t be able to maintain that ‘good’ feeling for long.
Build your self-worth
- Stop comparing yourself to other people, everyone has a different path, you will achieve your own dreams and goals in your own time, comparing yourself to other’s won’t make anything happen quicker but will leave you feeling down, because you’re not achieving as much as someone else.
- Start challenging those negative thoughts in your mind, not everything your mind tells you is true, so stop believing it. Your mind can throw hundreds of thoughts at you a day and you know a lot of them are untrue but if you believe them, you can easily act on them and these negative thoughts can affect the way you feel in an instant. It can be difficult to challenge your negative thoughts – don’t lose hope, everything can change for the better. Start of gradually challenging your thoughts over a number of weeks, find evidence to back up the negative thoughts and if you can’t, tell the thoughts to go away (as you’ve just proved their wrong). When you first try this, it won’t work in making your thoughts go away, this will take time, keep telling them to go away and your mind will eventually listen.
- Be kind to yourself – you deserve as much kindness if not more, than what you give to others. If you’re not in a healthy place mentally and physically, you won’t be of any use to others. Taking care of yourself is essential. Notice every little good thing you do, achieve or even think, if you can notice all the negative, you can also notice all the positive. Being hard on yourself won’t motivate you to achieve more or better, however acknowledging your signs of progress and achievements will make you more determined to achieve more. If you’re down, suffering from a mental illness, show yourself some compassion. You are deserving of your own compassion, acknowledge your down days, accept that it’s here and do something positive to change it, even if it’s something small such as going for a walk.
- Do things you enjoy – focus on yourself in a positive way, undertake activities you enjoy or you used to enjoy. Try new things you’ve always wanted to try – you’ll feel so much better for it. Spend time with people who lift you up and engage in conversations with these people. The key point to remember is, never stop doing the things you enjoy, you have to maintain it in order to have time/space for yourself and your own well-being.
Work on challenging your negative thoughts, acknowledging and recognising the good things you do/say, spend more time on activities and hobbies which you enjoy and stop comparing yourself to others – you’ll find over a period of time, your self-worth will increase.