Self Worth: What Is It & How Do We Improve It?
Self worth often gets confused with self esteem or self confidence, but it is its own unique, important concept. Understanding more about self worth, and how you can improve it, can help you learn to truly believe in yourself.
Think of things that have worth to you -- things that make you truly happy. Consider how that makes you feel… warm and fuzzy? Smiley? The things that we truly value says a lot about who you are. But do you feel the same about yourself? That’s where self worth comes in.
Essentially, self worth is the value that you assign to yourself. It’s about how you feel about yourself, instead of how you think people feel about you. Self worth is driven by all of your internal dialogue, for better or for worse.
Your self worth is also the foundation for developing self love, self acceptance, and self respect. If you don’t value yourself, it’s likely that other people won’t value you as well. It has to start with you.
Here are a few signs that you may be dealing with low self worth:
- Feeling extra sensitive to criticism and seeing it as a judgment of who you are and not what you’ve done
- Finding it difficult to accept compliments
- People pleasing
- Constantly feeling like you’re not good enough
- Putting up with unfulfilling or even abusive relationships
- Needing frequent validation from others
How Self Worth Differs From Self Esteem
Self worth and self esteem are similar, but not exactly the same. The main difference between the two is where the value that you see in yourself actually comes from.
Self esteem is developed through your abilities and what you can accomplish from the outside. When you have self esteem, you feel great about how you look, how you perform your job, how well you can cook, etc.
With self worth, your confidence comes from how you feel about yourself on the inside. You see who you are as the value, not what you can accomplish.
When you can effectively combine the two, it can make a huge difference in your life.
Why Self Worth Matters
The effects that self worth, whether high or low, have on your entire life may surprise you.
A good example of that is a study performed in 2002 that showed that people with low self worth were more likely to define themselves by the material things that they own. Specifically, this often shows itself in big ticket items like cars, homes, electronics, etc. Researchers believe the reason behind that behavior is that, without a good sense of self worth, people try to find it from external sources and how people view them. Unfortunately, it turns into a vicious cycle.
Research has also shown that self worth can have a major impact on the recovery process. When people believe that they are worthy of having good things in their lives, they are more likely to be able to be successful at their recovery process.
People with low self worth frequently allow themselves to be treated poorly, likely because they don’t see themselves as someone worth basic love and respect. That’s not to say that those in abusive relationships are at all to blame for them, just that it can be harder to recognize them as abusive and leave without believing that they believe any better.
How You Can Improve Your Self Worth
Self worth can be trickier to improve than self esteem. When you work to improve your self esteem, you can work out, buy clothes that make you feel good about how you look, earn compliments from peers, etc.
Self worth is so much more than that, which makes it more difficult to achieve. In fact, experts have shown that self worth needs to go beyond just simple appearance.
To improve your self worth, you have to start taking inventory. Take a look at how you feel about yourself right now. What are you proud of about who you are? Try to view this separately from how “marketable” your skills are. What makes you really feel good?
After you’ve done that, think for a moment about everything that makes you feel bad about yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over it, just think about it. Then, forgive yourself. It’s much harder to develop a healthier sense of self worth if you are holding yourself back due to old mistakes and shortcomings. They don’t matter now, but you do.
Also, while self worth isn’t related to how other people feel about you, surrounding yourself with happy, positive, supportive people really can help. Negativity often breeds more negativity, so reducing that in your life can help you shine, too. Part of that process is also learning how to set and hold healthy boundaries, and not letting people who don’t have your best interests at heart control how you feel about yourself.
It’s important to recognize that improving your self worth is in the journey. You’re not aiming for perfection, because that doesn’t exist in reality.
Self worth is how you feel about yourself and who you are, regardless of how you look or what car you drive. It’s essential to develop your self worth so that you can set healthy boundaries and believe that who you are on the inside is worthy of love and respect.
We all have little slips from time to time, that’s part of the roller coaster of life that we’re on, but learning how to improve your self worth and reducing moments of self doubt can be a real game changer.
PYM Mood Chews can help you push through the dips so that you can learn to see them as the real, temporary bumps in the road that they really are.
You’re worth it, you just have to see it yourself.