Your self-worth and self-esteem have a huge impact on your life. Knowing your worth makes a big difference in how you respect and treat yourself as well as how you interact with other people. Your self-worth affects your behavior, habits, actions, and emotions, all of which make up a good chunk of your life, so it’s important to put in the effort to improve your self-worth and self-esteem.
Even if you have high self-worth and self-esteem (which is wonderful!) there is always room for improvement.
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Important Disclaimer – I am NOT a trained medical professional or qualified therapist. If you are struggling with feelings of depression, anxiety, or suspect you may be suffering from a medical illness, please consult a trained medical practitioner or professional counselor or physiologist as soon as possible.
Let’s dive into 10 powerful ways you can improve your self-worth and self-esteem.
1. Get to know yourself better
How well do you know yourself? You probably know your favorite foods, favorite television shows, and the like. You might know if you are an introvert or an extrovert.
You can probably name some of your bad habits and make a list of things you are good at in your job.
But do you know how you react under different types of stress and pressure? Do you know how you respond under circumstances like grieving, disappointment, or sadness?
Do you know what makes you happy? What brings you joy? What gives you a sense of personal satisfaction? Do you know what you value most in life?
This isn’t about something being right or wrong or about passing judgment on yourself. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. It’s about knowing yourself and being brave and courageous enough to dig deep past the basic (and let’s face it sometimes more superficial) side of ourselves.
Get to know yourself better. Dig deeper. Knowing yourself better is a good way to help improve your self-worth and self-esteem.
Related post – 10 Ways to Have More Confidence
2. Take a deep dive into your identity
Imagine if you constantly tell yourself – I’m a lazy person.
When the loungeroom needs cleaning and you would rather watch television, you might find yourself debating in your head about what you are going to do. Which voice do you think is going to win that battle, the one that’s saying, I’m a lazy person or the one that is saying you should clean up.
What chances do you think you have of getting your loungeroom clean?
If you often feel like you are fighting a battle with yourself this could be why. On one hand, you have – who you want to be. On the other, you have – who you believe you are.
Notice I didn’t say who you are but who you BELIEVE you are.
More times than not you will take action based on the person you believe yourself to be.
You will take action based on your identity or self-image.
I recently discovered Jim Fortin online and started to listen to his podcasts. Jim is a very recent find, so I’ve only listened to 2 podcasts so far but I’m really enjoying what Jim has to say about how our identity affects our actions and more to the point how we have such a hard time changing our behavior, no matter how strongly we want to change our lives.
For another excellent insight into how changing our identity can change our lives for the better, James Clear, the writer of Atomic Habits (a brilliant book about habits) has two great articles on identity that are a fascinating read.
- How to Change Your Beliefs and Stick to Your Goals for Good
- Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals this Year
Since I’ve only started to research this particular topic, I’m looking forward to learning and writing more about identity in the future, so stay tuned.
3. Forgive yourself for low self-worth
One of the things that can stop us from fully embracing our self-worth is holding onto the times when we had low self-worth.
An example of this is when you stayed in a bad relationship too long because you didn’t want to be alone or you put up with bad behavior from your partner.
Believe me, there is no judgment here because I have done all of the above and sometimes more than once (going back to bad relationships), so this isn’t about judgment, it’s about understanding.
I know now that when I was making some of those bad decisions, my self-worth was rock bottom. I thought I was staying with someone because I loved them and at the time it really, really felt like that.
Because back then I believed I was unlovable, I choose men who were a challenge because hey if I could get one of them to love me, that would prove beyond a doubt that I was loveable, right? Wrong.
What it proved (though I didn’t know it at the time) was that I needed to work on my self-worth.
I have forgiven myself for thinking and acting the way I did in the past. I have forgiven myself and I have grown from my experience.
So should you.
You might be thinking but I have low self-worth right now! That’s okay, don’t beat yourself up about. Make a pact with yourself to start working on your self-worth and self-esteem now – you are in the right place for that here 🙂 – and forgive yourself, even if what you are forgiving yourself for happened today or an hour ago.
Journaling can be a great way of tracking your feelings and emotions. Hindsight can reveal insights that help you make improvements.
When I read back over old journals from my earlier relationships, I see myself thinking I couldn’t live without a particular person in my life but I also see the evidence of how I felt about myself then. Back then I loved my partner a LOT more than I loved myself. Is it hard to read my old journals (particularly knowing what I know now)? Yes, sometimes it is.
But again that is where forgiveness comes in.
The good news is now I can laugh at my lovesick, ‘I can’t live without him’ journaling. It shows how much I have grown. Turns out I can live much better without him! For more on my journaling experience, read my earlier post – Lessons in Journaling and Realizing how much you have grown.
Guided journals that guide you through questions, are a great way to start journaling in case you are sitting there thinking – ‘but what the hell do I write about!’
Or you might prefer a lined notepad where you can free write whatever you are thinking. I love freewriting but a pretty notebook always makes it more pleasant too!
4. Improve your boundaries
Oh, how I love me some boundaries!! I have an earlier post – 10 Signs You Need to be Setting Better Boundaries in Your Life so make sure you check that out if boundaries are an issue for you.
If you want to improve your self-worth and self-esteem improve your boundaries.
One it will help your relationships with other people but it will also help the relationship you have with yourself. Boundaries aren’t just for how you deal with other people, you need boundaries for yourself as well.
On the topic of other people and boundaries, our self-worth can be affected when we allow people to constantly violate our boundaries. More to the point, when we don’t stick up for ourselves and tell people our boundaries in the first place, that can negatively affect our self-esteem because we are not communicating our needs.
Not communicating our needs makes us feel powerless which is not how we want to feel (and the opposite of knowing our worth).
Want to dive into setting boundaries, these popular books can help.
- Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of your Life
- Boundaries Workbook: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
5. Be more compassionate and supportive
You might be thinking but I am very compassionate and supportive with my family and friends! That’s great, keep up the good work.
But this isn’t about them.
This is about you.
To improve your self-worth, be more compassionate to yourself. So what does this mean exactly, here’s a few things to get you started?
- No name-calling
- No bullying yourself
- No putting everyone else first and neglecting yourself
- No beating yourself up for every little mistake you make
To be more compassionate and supportive to yourself you need to be more aware of your self-talk. You know what I mean, I’m talking about the voice that is constantly saying stuff in your head. A lot, okay make that a sh*tload of that chatter can be negative.
You have to be aware of your negative self-talk. Once you are aware of it then you can start to change your behavior.
Instead of saying negative things to yourself, reinforce yourself with positive words and statements. Sometimes it’s not about thinking positive things, it’s more about shifting your thought flow altogether. Disrupt the negative thought and replace it by focusing on what your top priority is at that moment.
I know some of this sounds basic but it’s amazing how often we just let our minds rattle off nasty things about ourselves on autopilot. Sometimes we don’t notice we’re doing it! I talked to myself this way for a very long time before I even realized.
It’s about catching your negativity every single time. You can’t just do it some of the time. You have to do it all the time. The more you start picking up on your negative self-talk and autocorrecting yourself, you will find that your negative self-talk decreases over time.
It also helps to start weeding out certain words when you talk to yourself. I have a couple of posts that can help you in this area so make sure you have a read –
- Pay Close Attention to Your Self-Talk
- 3 Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Positive Self-Talk
- Words to Stop Using to Move Your Life Forward
Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.” – Unknown
6. Work on trusting yourself more
To improve your self-worth start trusting yourself more.
Trust is a tricky thing. We know that when someone betrays us, we lose trust in them.
But what about trusting ourselves?
A big part of self-worth and self-esteem is trusting yourself to do what you promise you will. It’s about keeping the promises you make to yourself. We all know how disappointing it can be when someone promises to do something and then doesn’t follow through.
And yet we do this to ourselves all the time. We are constantly breaking promises to ourselves and they barely make a blip on our radar – or do they?
When we don’t trust ourselves to deliver on our promises (even some of the most basic ones), a level of disappointment in ourselves sets in.
I saw this great quote/statement on Mark Manson’s Facebook page that read – Personal Growth is merely the process of learning to lie to yourself less.
So how do we lie to ourselves less? Firstly, get honest about what you actually plan on doing. Don’t tell yourself you are going to do all the things if secretly you know you have no intention of doing them.
Secondly, pick your priorities and work on those. Win yourself over and gain your self-trust back with consistency and commitment.
Lie to yourself less, trust yourself more, and improve your self-worth and self-esteem.
If self-doubt is something that is holding you back, I highly recommend an excellent course run by the creative folk over at CreativeLive. The online course How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence is run by the amazing Mel Robbins. I took this course myself a while back and got a lot out of it. You can read my review on how the course can help you here.
7. Separate your self-worth from your appearance
This is a big one. It’s hard but it’s incredibly important.
Often we attach too much of our self-worth to our appearance. If we look pretty, we feel worthy of attention and love.
If we gain too much weight, our self-worth takes a dive. If we have bad skin we feel unattractive and therefore unworthy.
I speak from experience here because a large part of my twenties and thirties were focused far too much on how I looked. I focused on my looks while having little self-worth.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t focus on the way you look. What I am saying is that you also need to focus on your self-worth because no matter how beautiful you look on the outside, if you have low self-worth or worse hate yourself, no amount of beauty on the outside will make up for that.
You will always feel ugly no matter what you look like if you hate yourself.
When you don’t love yourself you self-sabotage, you’re insecure and you make bad decisions.
Now that I am in my fifties I am way, way less focused on looks. Health is my priority as is my self-worth. The truth is even though my looks are fading fast, I have more self-worth and self-love than I ever did. Ever.
My self-worth is no longer defined by my looks. Would I like to lose some weight and ditch some of these wrinkles? Sure.
But my outside appearance is NOT who I am. Not even close.
There is a whole different side of me that is beautiful and creative and supportive and loving and wonderful in a million ways that don’t revolve around how I look.
I hope you can find this acceptance as well. I hope you have already found it. You have my respect for whatever stage you are on with your self-acceptance journey.
I wrote a 3 part series on the importance of knowing your beauty, so if this is a struggle for you make sure you read each of the below posts.
If you struggle with comparing how you look with what you see in magazines and online, make sure you read – Why You Should Never Compare Yourself to Touched Up Images
8. Ramp up your self-worth practice when going through a difficult time
Our self-worth and self-esteem can take a hit when we are going through a difficult time in life.
Being fired can set us back as can a breakup with a romantic partner.
When our self-worth takes a hit, it’s often when we need it the most. This is why during hard times we need to focus even more on our self-worth.
If you know you are going to be facing a particular hardship, do some preparation work. Book in more downtime or schedule more catch-ups with friends if that will help. It might be as basic as making sure you get enough sleep or signing up for a home delivery service so you can get some healthy food delivered.
Reading uplifting books or blogs can help.
Unfortunately, when we are going through a difficult time, we tend to double down on our vices. I’ve been guilty of this myself, more times than I care to admit, particularly when I was young and some guy would dump me and leave me broken-hearted. Partying with my friends seemed like a pretty good idea at the time but it only made things worse in the end.
One thing I learned the hard way is that we all have to deal with and process our pain at some point, so running away from it is not an option. You deal with it now or it catches up with you later often bigger than before.
Never be scared to reach out for help. A therapist, counselor, or even a reassuring voice over a helpline phone can make a big difference when we are struggling.
Related posts –
- How to Maintain Your Self-Confidence During Times of Adversity – Part 1
- How to Maintain Your Self-Confidence During Times of Adversity – Part 2
9. Accept that self-improvement and self-esteem work together
It can be easy for people to get confused about having high self-esteem but still wanting to improve themselves.
Wanting to make changes to your life, wanting to improve your life doesn’t mean that you can’t love and respect yourself as you are RIGHT NOW.
You don’t have to have reached a certain benchmark before you start working on your self-esteem. Self-improvement and self-help can work together. More to the point, it’s the way it works the best.
When you have high self-esteem and a strong sense of self-worth, you are more open to opportunities and possibilities and you are more committed to doing the work to improve yourself.
Related post – How to Stop Waiting for Acceptance and Accept Yourself
10. Understand the importance of ongoing maintenance
This whole personal growth, know your worth stuff isn’t a one-off gig.
You don’t just read a book or a blog post and wham you’re done. Personal growth and self-worth sorted forever! No wavering on your self-esteem ever again!
Don’t get me wrong – books and blog posts can have a profound impact on you – which is great! I’m grateful to have read some life-changing books and content. But it’s the actions, strategies, and processes from that content that I have implemented that have changed my life.
Ultimately any form of improvement, whether it be improving your health, finances, or relationships, requires action.
Not just any old action, but focused action. Focused, committed, and consistent action.
It helps to find ways to make this personal growth stuff fun and interesting!
Take your journal to the park or to the beach and soak up your surroundings while nurturing your soul. Listen to uplifting audiobooks when you walk. Find books that combine personal growth with a dash of humor. A great book in this regard is You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – by Jen Sincero.
Track your progress and growth through journaling. Look back and smile when you overcome what was previously a big obstacle. Be proud of yourself for the work you have done.
Knowing your worth comes from within. I like to think of it as your core, the internal sun that shines brightly inside you. Your own beautiful, abundant power source that keeps you going, keeps you believing in yourself, even when times get tough.
It’s there shining away, even on the days that feel bleak and lonely. The power of personal growth and self-worth is knowing how to plug back into that source when you need it.
Improving your self-worth and self-esteem will have a huge, positive impact on your life. Know your worth. Always.
Make sure you grab a copy of my free Know Your Own Worth eBook (sign up form is below this post). 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this article and got a lot out of it. Please share the love with your friends on social media. You never know who might need this message of self-worth today! Sharing is always greatly appreciated.
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