Feeling Worthless? 10 Ways to Improve Your Self Worth

Rachel Sharpe

Feeling worthless might make you seem inferior to others. Not because that’s how they see you, but because that’s how you see yourself. When you feel worthless, the actions you begin to take end up showcasing those negative feelings to others. And slowly but surely, you’ll start to become even more mistreated, neglected, and left out. Fortunately, you can and will overcome feeling worthless by following the steps in this article outlined to help you improve your self worth. 

Why Am I Feeling Worthless?

1. Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is often a huge cause of feeling worthless. The people who raised us played a huge role in shaping who we are today. If we grew up in a negative environment, we’re more likely to be negative. If our parents or even teachers put us down, shamed us, or made us feel worthless, we might still have vivid memories of those hurtful words they hurled at us thirty years later. Learning to sort through childhood trauma will likely require some professional help to learn how to break through that suffering and finally move forward in life.

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2. Recent Failure

A recent failure in your life can cause you to feel worthless. So much of our self worth comes from validation, praise, and even the like button. When someone tells us that they don’t like us, it often deflates us instantly. If a post doesn’t get any likes, we become disappointed. However, failures are packed with so many lessons that allow us to move forward in life. And to truly reach our potential. Instead of looking at a failure and feeling worthless, ask yourself, “what can I learn from this? What’s my next step?”

3. Negative Feedback

Sometimes, we begin to feel worthless because of negative feedback we hear from others. We value others’ opinions more than we value our own. If a co-worker is promoted, we instantly feel like we’re not growing even though their promotion has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them. Why is that? Does it really need to be so hard to be happy for the successes of other people? Even if someone gave you negative feedback about how you were worthless, why would you choose to listen to that opinion in the first place? Have you considered how happy they are? Because happy people lift people up, depressed people put people down. Maybe this person is struggling in life and puts you down because they have a poor mindset. Do we really want to put all our validation in someone who isn’t at their best?

10 Ways to Improve Your Self Worth

1. Practice Meditation

When feeling worthless, it’s important to notice those feelings surfacing in your mind. What are the exact thoughts in your mind right now? Take a moment to find a positive thought in your mind. You couldn’t find one could you? Don’t evaluate your self worth when your mind isn’t clear. If your mind feels cluttered with negativity, your mental health is likely suffering right now. This isn’t the time to determine your value. Instead, use this time to work on regaining control of your thoughts. A meditation practice is all about giving yourself a focus point outside of your mind so that your screaming loud and toxic mind silences itself. You can try a guided meditation to help you work through this, like the one below. 

Guided Meditation to Calm the Mind (15 Minutes)
Guided Meditation to Calm the Mind (15 Minutes)

2. Express Gratitude

A quick way to undo feeling worthless is to express gratitude. Right now, stop for a moment to reflect on all the wonderful things going on in your life. Can you wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care? Are you able to speak to other people? Do you have access to shelter and food? There are so many little things we take for granted of each day. Another thing that we often fail to realize is that when we treat others poorly, they’ll treat us poorly too. Thus, creating a toxic environment. If you’re feeling worthless due to others, it’s important to elevate a sense of gratitude within yourself for that person. What does that negative person do that’s absolutely wonderful? By shifting your focus on the good things your loved ones, friends, and colleagues do, you’ll naturally start bringing out the best in them. And thus, also bring out the best in you too. And it all starts with gratitude. If you’re finding this exercise hard to do, try this loving kindness meditation down below. 

10 Minute Guided Loving-Kindness for Difficult People Who Have Hurt You (Voice Only, No Music)
10 Minute Guided Loving-Kindness for Difficult People Who Have Hurt You (Voice Only, No Music)

3. Remember The Story’s Not Over Yet

We often begin feeling worthless before the story is complete. Maybe you’ve just experienced a defeat in a competition or someone was promoted over you even though you have seniority. Ultimately, you’re still alive. And as long as you’re alive your story isn’t over yet. You can look at moments of defeat or hardship as the destruction of your worth, or you can use those moments to push you to work harder to bring out the best in yourself. You’re the author of your life’s biopic, if you want to be the hero in the story, you can still build yourself into that. But remember, the hero always faces a rival, obstacles, and skeptics. The reason why the hero’s journey is so interesting in the first place is because at first they didn’t have a chance but then they did something miraculous and achieved what others thought was impossible. So, look at setbacks that cause you to feel worthless as you being in the middle of your story. You haven’t had your big win yet but you still can. 

4. Do Good Deeds

Woman helping elderly man in wheelchair

Whenever you find yourself feeling worthless, climb out of your negative and toxic mind and live a little. The easiest way to add value and achieve self worth is by helping others. What can you do to make someone smile today? How can you improve someone’s life? Is there an opportunity for kindness when you’re on social media, at the grocery store, or in a drive thru? Making other people feel good makes you feel good about yourself. And so, by going out of your way to make others happy, you instantly stop feeling worthless. It’s an easy way to add value to your own life while uplifting yourself to feel good about who you really are. Don’t underestimate the power of a good deed. Often, when we’re at our lowest points, we become obsessed about ourselves: our pain, our unhappiness, and even our worth. But the transition from me to we is what gets you out of your head so effectively you’ll wish you tried this sooner. 

5. Train Harder

If you’re feeling worthless because you failed at something or are struggling to reach high goals, consider training harder and longer. For example, if you feel worthless because you didn’t get promoted, start studying what traits the people who get promoted have. Or if you’re self worth is tied to your success in school, spend more time reading books and watching YouTube videos about the topic of your class. Instead of obsessing over the memorizing of facts, focus on the element of truly learning and understanding the material you learn. Sometimes a simple change in approach is what will help you turn things around to achieve success again. If something isn’t working for you and causing you to feel worthless, ask yourself who are the people I should learn from. Become curious about those people and emulate their best traits. Then, you’ll start to build yourself back up. 

6. Kill Your Ego

Man looking at his reflection in a shard of a broken mirror

The ego can be a destructive part of who you are. If you’re feeling worthless because your ego is bruised, consider killing your ego instead. We often want to win, be better than those around us, and dominate the world *muah-ha-ha* but then you start succeeding and you instantly realize you’re actually miserable. You’re miserable when you fail and when you succeed. That’s because life isn’t about you, you’re just one tiny, tiny part of it. You have this wonderful experience of living it with billions of people and animals. So, why are you obsessing about being the best? You can still be a person with life goals without it being tied to an ego. A desperation to be the best only proves that you’re way off the mark. Because it’s actually those who don’t care about being the best who end up flourishing. And you’ll catch them smiling throughout all of the highs and lows of their lives. Your ego is making you miserable and feel worthless, maybe it’s time to look at the bigger picture instead. 

7. Look for the Lesson

When you’re at your lowest point, feeling worthless, it’s time to look for the hidden lesson. Sitting at rock bottom is a wonderful yet painful experience. You already know the painful part of it. Yet, the wonderful part of this difficult journey is that you have the big opportunity of building yourself up in a new, stronger, healthier, and happier way. In this low point, you might choose to invest in some books about mindset, such as Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman, Personality Isn’t Permanent by Benjamin Hardy, or Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. Learning what causes negative feelings like feeling worthless can help you learn how to rewire your brain and set you off in a more positive direction. 

8. Reflect on Your Accomplishments

Woman looking at path, reflecting on journey

When feeling worthless, take a look back through your life and think about all of your accomplishments. Believe it or not, you’ve accomplished so many positive things that you likely forgot all about. For some reason, our brains are wired to remember negative events much stronger than positive ones but that doesn’t mean the positive ones never happened. Maybe you planned a birthday party, and everyone you invited showed up. Or you aced a test that you studied really hard for. Maybe you found out that a good deed you did rippled out and helped more people than you thought it would. Or you spent years volunteering to help people who needed some extra support. You might’ve even done the scariest thing in the world, proving to yourself that you can face your fears head on. Write down all of the positive things you’ve accomplished in your life. Think long and hard about it. If you’re unsure, ask around to the people you love the most and ask for some suggestions on how you’ve helped them. 

9. Replace Toxic Thoughts

Feeling worthless is a negative feeling that can and needs to be replaced. What are the thoughts cycling through your mind right now? Write them down on a piece of paper. For every negative thought, write the exact opposite positive thought. Also, don’t forget to look for evidence for your negative thoughts. Many times, when we have a negative thought, we make up stories or “facts” about it but the truth is there isn’t any evidence proving that you’re what your toxic thoughts are saying about you. Focus on repeating some of the positive thoughts you’ve replaced with. By repeating them each day, several times a day to start, you’ll slowly find your life transforming. It’s impossible to feel worthless if your mind is constantly thinking positive thoughts. 

10. Seek Professional Help

Woman talking to a therapist

A professional counsellor, social worker, or psychologist can help you work through any trauma, relationship abuse, or familial problems, which cause you to feel worthless. By getting the professional help, you’ll learn how to let go of difficult relationships and experiences. You’ll also learn how to stop feeling worthless because you’ll have someone in front of you disagreeing with the thoughts about yourself. For example, if you tell a counsellor that you’re worthless, they might flat out tell you that the thought is not true or they’ll ask you for evidence that you’re worthless and show you how it’s untrue.

Conclusion

Transitioning from feeling worthless to improving your self worth isn’t challenging. You can definitely do this and master it in only a few months. However, your first step is to regain control of your mind instead of letting negative thoughts wander through your brain. Your thoughts can make you cry or laugh. They can also make you feel worthless or make you feel like you have a huge impact in your life. Ultimately, with the help of meditation, a gratitude practice, some professional help, and some different approaches to look at the world, a new you can emerge and finally know your worth.

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