What is Self-Worth and How to Improve it

Dr. Ankit Sharma, PhD

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What is Self-Worth

Self-worth is the interior sense of being good enough & worthy of love & belonging from others. Self-worth is often confused with self-esteem, which relies on external factors like successes & achievements to define worth & can often be contradictory, leading to someone struggling with feeling worthy. Whereas it is significant to have a firm understanding of our strengths & areas for development, we also need to feel good even when we make errors or things do not work in our life as we had hoped. Hope we are clear about What is Self-Worth.

Why Self-Worth Matters

People with high self-worth have a sense of confidence that they will be all right & handle whatever comes their way. While they are conscious of areas in which they must improve, they don’t let their inadequacies define their identity. They are not afraid to go for opportunities & have sensible faith in their ability to deliver.

Self-worth also plays a significant role in relationships. For example, suppose someone is being treated poorly. In that case, their self-worth tends to significantly impact their explanation of the event – someone with low self-worth may blame themselves. In contrast, a person with healthy self-worth may not consider themselves to deserve that mistreatment.

Hence, having positive self-worth can help people to define how others treat them. Learning to ask for respect is what compels others to be respectful.

How To Improve Self-Worth

What is Self-Worth

1. Increase Your Self-Understanding

A vital activity on the road to self-worth is to develop self-understanding. You must learn who you are & what you want before you decide you are a worthy human being. Some simple thought experiments can be helpful to work on increasing your understanding of yourself:

a) Imagine that everything you have is suddenly taken away from you (like – possessions, relationships, friendships, status, job/career, accomplishments, etc.).

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What if everything I have was abruptly taken away from me?
  • What if all I had left was just me?
  • How would that make me feel?
  • What would I have that would be of value?

b) Think about your answers to these questions & see if you can come to this answer: “No matter what happens outwardly & no matter what is taken away from me, I’m not affected internally.”

c) Next, try to know yourself on a deeper level with these questions:

  • Who am I? What am I not?
  • How am I?
  • What do others think about me?
  • How do others speak about me?
  • What key life moments describe who I am today?
  • What offers me the most passion, fulfillment, & joy?

d) Once you have an exemplary realization of who you are & what fulfills & pleases you, it’s time to reflect upon what isn’t so great or easy about being you. You can ask yourself these questions:

  • Where do I struggle?
  • Where do I need to improve myself?
  • What fears often withheld me?
  • What usual emotions hurt me?
  • What mistakes do I be likely to make?

e) Lastly, take a moment to look at the reverse; ask yourself:

  • What capabilities do I have?
  • What am I good at?

2. Understand The Power of Your Attitude Toward Yourself

How you distinguish yourself, talk about yourself, & how embody yourself eventually becomes a reality for you. If you’re putting yourself down, denigrating your worth, & making light of your talents in the face of others, then you will be seen as self-effacing, low in self-esteem, & almost unworthy or unimportant. There is a difference between humbleness & self-denial.

On the other hand, if you overstate your qualities, talents, & skills, you’ll be seen as egotistical & arrogant. This is not about overestimating your self-worth but about misleading yourself. There is a middle pathway & it is the one in which you identify the fact that you are a valuable person, equal to everyone else, & that your talents & thoughts are exclusive & worthy. Attaining this belief can be difficult if you have spent a long time underestimating your worth, but it is always possible to alter your thoughts & learn to value yourself.

3. Learn To Overcome the Fear of Self-Love

Self-love is often associated with narcissism, egotism, & some one-way trip to a negative form of coyness. This is most likely partly because the English language has difficulty dealing with the word “love” – it must cover a lot of regions for the many different types of love.

The confusion also hinders people’s feelings about the message from doing good unto others, always being generous, & to give of oneself. While these are noble intents, they can often be taken out of proportion & used to downplay putting one’s requirements & wants beneath those of others out of a fear of being alleged as selfish or self-centered. This is about getting the balance right through self-care.

4. Consider a Meditation Practice

Through compassion meditation, we can learn to foster feelings of compassion towards ourselves & others. By learning not to be so fast in judging others, we are not as hard on ourselves. Often practicing self-kindness in this way, one slowly discovers ways to discard negative mental chatter & recognize how intrinsically valuable we are.

When we are using meditation to improve self-worth, we should not substitute negative thoughts with positive thinking. Instead, meditation is about seeing through the nature of thought altogether. So it doesn’t matter what thoughts crop up in mind – positive, negative, it’s not significant. Either way, we learn to let it all go, giving those thoughts no acceptance or power.

Noticing when we have stages of low self-worth & low self-esteem is half the battle; it is that consciousness that adds separation between ourselves & the thoughts we are having. By noting our thoughts, we can see them as just thoughts without adding extra weight or meaning. It is an inner explanation we can consider, like choosing to neglect that one negative coworker who never has anything good to say.

5. Use Affirmations the Best Way for You

Positive affirmations can be constructive in case you are wondering What is Self-Worth & how to develop it. The correct way to use affirmations when starting with low self-worth is to make them positive but credible to you.

So, for example, if you wanted to get a job for which thousands of people have applied, telling yourself you are going to get the job might feel too confident for you to take in. Instead, you might use some affirmation like, “I deserve to get a good job like this, & I will keep trying until I get one.”

6. Do What You Love

People usually put aside what they want to do. Instead, they may take a job that seems stable & offers financial security. But each day you spend at work, you are deciding what’s significant to you. How you spend your time denotes where your priorities are. If you want to develop your self-worth, do what you love & rest easy knowing you are chasing your passion.

7. Stop Criticizing Yourself

Sometimes, we are so anxious about being criticized that we criticize ourselves before anyone else gets the chance. Remember that there is a big difference between recognizing areas for improvement & criticizing yourself. The first is a problem-solving job. The second has only one function, & that’s to make you feel bad about yourself.

Constructive Criticism will always help you to identify your weaknesses & will inspire you to go ahead & mend them. On the other hand, negative Criticism will rob your motivation & will make you feel that you are good for nothing.

8. Find The Good in Yourself

When something awful happens to you, you can reconstruct your self-worth by looking for how you are good in that role or circumstance. You might feel like a bad parent because you missed your child’s school program. Rather than defining yourself as a parent by that one example, look for more deep reasons that suggest you are a good parent.


Before looking for your Self-Worth, you need to know What is Self-Worth. Babies are born with the knowledge of their self-worth; as life moves on, the comments, expectations, & attitudes of other people can change this ordinary sense of self-worth. Self-worth allows us to believe that we are competent to do our best with our talents, contribute well to the community, & deserve to lead a fulfilling & prosperous life. Building it up again is, therefore, expected, vital, & healthy.

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