Building Self Worth
Hi - I’m so glad you picked this topic because wanting to find out about boosting your self worth means that you-care-about-you - and that’s a huge thing. So Congratulations!
The truth is the more you value yourself, the better everything is - your relationships, friendships, opportunities, academic achievements and ultimately the rest of your life, so acknowledge yourself for being here. It’s exciting . .
First let me ask you a question - on a scale of 1 - 10 for self worth (where 1 is low and 10 is high) where are you? What feels true for you deep inside?
I’m guessing less than 10, right?
To understand why you aren’t ‘right up there’ on the scale, we need to just get a grip on some underlying factors.
When we are born we are born with a natural personality and that personality means we have some natural tendencies, like some people are naturally wired up to be leaders and others are naturally wired up to be followers - or to want to help people - or to be high flyers - or to be gentle and studious - or to be creative etc. Inevitably this means some people are more prone to low self-worth than others.
But then we have all the influences of everything around us and all the people that teach us what we get to believe about ourselves and our world - like if you’ve grown up in a house where there’s lots of criticism you’ll probably criticise yourself - and even others - yet if you’ve grown up in a house where you’ve been praised and encouraged, you’ll feel more confident and probably have more respect and regard for yourself. It’s natural.
Yet the thing is, everything we learn about ourselves and our world, right from when we are born, is stored in our brain and literally by the time we’re only 4 or 5 years old it becomes the blueprint in our brain from which we live. So if we’ve had lots of positive messages we’re likely to have greater self worth than someone who’s had lots of negative messages about themselves and their world.
But the good news is that even if on that scale your self worth is zero, you can change that. And here’s how you can start . . .
1) stop criticising yourself - or others. How can you feel good about you if you keep finding fault with yourself? Some people think “How can I improve if I don’t know what’s wrong with me?” - but seriously - do you know anyone who ‘improves’ by beating themselves up? No. Because you can’t build positives by being negative!
Stop all criticism - in fact, stop ALL judgement - be it someone else’s opinion, choice, hairstyle, or decision. It’s none of your business! But most of all stop criticising yourself. It’s just self abuse! So let’s work on shifting this now . . .
Close your eyes . . . and just imagine some typical criticism things you think about yourself - telling yourself you’re not good enough, calling yourself names, being unkind to yourself . . . Or what do you think or say that’s judgemental or critical of other people - that’s none of your business . . .
Keep your eyes closed and now imagine yourself catching those thoughts and just splatting them - like you would a fly with a fly swatter. Splat them . . . and now just gently say to yourself “I am willing to accept myself - as I am - I accept myself as I am”. Even if it feels completely untrue right now, or even extremely silly, keep switching those criticism thoughts to “I accept myself - or I am willing to accept myself exactly as I am.” Keep saying that to yourself right now . . .
Imagine it was true . . . just for a moment buy into that feeling - that you felt just a little bit more accepting of yourself . . . Isn’t that really want you want from others? Acceptance? How can you hope to have acceptance from others if you can’t accept yourself?
Keep going “I am willing to accept myself - exactly as I am” . . . over and over . . . and then, just gently come back to your room and open your eyes. Does that feel a bit nicer than beating yourself up?
The more you say that to yourself, the more you will grow into it. And don’t think “If others accept me then I can accept myself” because that is a huge trap to fall into, because you wont be able to believe others can accept you and let that acceptance in if you can’t accept yourself first!
Imagine you said “I am willing to accept myself exactly as I am” enough times so your brain took ownership of it and you believed it? How do you think that might feel? Nicer - more supportive - kinder? If you are kind to yourself as well as others you will get a lot further in life!
And as I said, even if that seems really untrue to start with, or silly, or ‘other people don’t do this’ or whatever other blocks get in your way, keep doing it, and look for the ways it shows up for you - like maybe you can realise you’re good at something, or have a nice smile, or are loyal . . . or love animals . . . just find one thing if needs be that you can think of as you say “I accept myself as I am” and even if it’s only that one thing for now, know that the more energy you give this the more this feeling will grow, which will help you feel a whole lot better about yourself.
2) Don’t Scare Yourself! How many times do you literally terrorise yourself with your own thoughts? How many times do you let a fear thought or an anxiety thought escalate into something huge - or tell yourself you’re bound to fail or that you can’t do something?
Think about it - how can you feel good about you when you are letting all those scary thoughts run around your mind? The fact is that you are the only one who can think in your mind and you are only one who can give thoughts power - or to splat them.
So again, close your eyes . . . and just think of some of the scary thought you have . . . and as you have those thoughts notice how they make you feel . . . Now see yourself spatting them . . . and then say “I am safe” and choose a nice thought instead. What could you think about that puts a smile on your face? Your pet? . . . A funny moment in a film on on YouTube? . . . A holiday or time when you were having fun? . . . A comforting image? Find a thought now that makes you feel a bit better . . .
Have you got one?
I like thinking about running free in a big field of flowers with the sun shining and a blue sky. Find your nice thought and then imagine you were just a little bit higher up on that self worth scale . . .
just one step higher up . . . and ask yourself “If I felt that new level, what would be different? . . .
Just imagine if you were one notch up on the scale . . . and because you had more self worth you felt that bit more confident and self assured. How would you handle your situation or problems? Paint the picture of being just a little bit more confident or brave or powerful and what that would look like . . . and then how you could handle things better . . .
Your brain starts to take that on board and work out your answers!
“If I felt a little bit higher on that scale of self worth - what would be different? And then when you’ve got your answer, follow through. And I promise you will always know because once you are in that positive part of your brain it is hardwired with the answers.
Once you have your nice thought . . . just come back to the room and open your eyes. Well done - now you can splat that scary thought, say “I am safe” and switch it to this nice thought!
3) Start praising yourself! Imagine a small child who is constantly made to feel wrong and bad - and then imagine a small child who is constantly praised and encouraged? Which one is most likely to feel small and insignificant and which one is likely to feel secure and valued and better about themselves? Regardless of how little praise or encouragement you get at home or at school, choose to praise yourself - for every little thing you do! If you finish some homework, tell yourself “well done” - even if you don’t then get a good grade . . . If you do some cooking, tell yourself ‘well done’, especially if it was just for fun . . If you stand up for yourself, tell yourself “well done” . . . I even tell myself “well done” when I’ve washed up a cup! The more you can say “well done’ to yourself and acknowledge yourself, the more you are valuing you!
4) Cultivate happy things for you. What do you like doing? . . . What do you like doing just for pure fun - that’s positive and healthy?If you are doing things that you can do that make you as happy as possible, and you are staying true to yourself, you are showing yourself you count too and getting to feel better by having the fun.
What can you do - even with whatever limitations there are for you? Would you like to do something creative? Is there a local club you could join where you could meet different people? Could you read more or find some other hobby? Would you like to do something that involves helping people? Maybe you could do some jobs for neighbours and earn a bit of extra money.
My point is that when you are choosing positive things for yourself, you are moving up that scale big time!
(Just a tiny word for awareness - sometimes we can decide to make a positive change and then it backfires on us! Like you offer to mow a neighbours lawn and then their mower breaks through no fault of your own, or you lose something or drop something, or get sick. I PROMISE this is a good sign - it means things are shifting! It will soon pass if you keep going. It also indicates you likely need to increase your sense of worthiness and deservability to let yourself benefit from your positive choice. Go to that Topic and work on this too!)