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5 Steps To Build & Strengthen Self-Esteem & Self-Worth!

Your problem is you’re afraid to acknowledge your own beauty. You’re too busy holding onto your unworthiness – Ram Dass

Self-esteem and self-worth are how you feel about yourself, or the opinion you have about yourself. Everyone has times when they feel a bit low or find it hard to believe in themselves. However, if this becomes a long-term situation, this can lead to problems. Including mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.

Your self-esteem and self-worth are often the result of a lifetime of experiences, and particularly what happened to us as children. It’s possible to improve your self-esteem and therefore your self-worth at any age. Many of us recognise the value of improving our self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. When our self-esteem is higher, we not only feel better about ourselves, but we are also more resilient.

Brain scan studies demonstrate that when our self-esteem is higher, we are likely to experience common emotional wounds such as rejection and failure as less painful, and bounce back from them more quickly! When our self-esteem is higher, we are also less vulnerable to anxiety; we release less cortisol into our bloodstream when under stress, and it is less likely to linger in our system.

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Fluctuation Of Self-Esteem

Our self-esteem is rather unstable, it can fluctuate daily, if not hourly. Further complicating matters, our self-esteem comprises both our global feelings about ourselves as well as how we feel about ourselves in the specific domains of our lives. For example; as a father, a nurse, an athlete, etc. The more meaningful a specific domain of self-esteem, the greater the impact it has on our global self-esteem. Having someone wince when they taste the not-so-delicious dinner you prepared will hurt a chef’s self-esteem much more than someone for whom cooking is not a significant aspect of their identity.

High Self-Esteem Is Not Always A Good Thing

Having high self-esteem is indeed a good thing, but only in moderation. Very high self-esteem, like that of narcissists, is often quite brittle. Such people might feel great about themselves much of the time but they also tend to be extremely vulnerable to criticism and negative feedback and respond to it in ways that stunts their psychological self-growth.

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Self-Esteem vs Self-Worth

Similarly, there is not a huge difference between self-worth and self-esteem, especially for those who are not professionals in the field of psychology. In fact, the first definition of self-worth on the Merriam-Webster dictionary website is simply “self-esteem.”

Similarly, the World Book Dictionary definition of self-esteem is “thinking well of oneself; self-respect,” while self-worth is defined as “a favourable estimate or opinion of oneself; self-esteem”

“Self-esteem is what we think and feel and believe about ourselves. Self-worth is recognising ‘I am greater than all of those things.’ It is a deep knowing that I am of value, that I am loveable, necessary to this life, and of incomprehensible worth.”

The Importance of Self-Worth in Relationships

Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself—no on else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are—completely; the good and the bad—and make changes as YOU see fit—not because you think someone else want you to be different – Stacey Charter

One of the most common mistakes you see people with low self-esteem make is to base their self-worth on one aspect of their lives. Often, that aspect is a relationship. It’s an understandable to let someone else’s love for you inspire you to feel better about yourself. However, you should work on feeling good about yourself whether you are in a relationship or not.

The love of another person doesn’t define you, nor does it define your value as a person. Whether you are single, casually seeing people, building a solid relationship with someone, you are worthy of love and respect. Make make time to practice self-acceptance and self-compassion. This is true for people of any relationship status, but it may be especially important for those in long-term relationships.

Avoid making the mistake of thinking your partner’s love is what makes you worthy of love. If anything ever happens to your partner or to your relationship, you don’t want to be forced to build up your sense of worth from scratch. It can make breakups and grief much harder than they need to be. Although this aspect could be enough to encourage you to work on your self-worth, there’s another reason it’s important: Having a healthy sense of self-worth will actually make your current relationship better too.

When you learn to love yourself, you become better able to love someone else. People with high self-respect tend to have more satisfying, loving, and stable relationships than those who do not. Precisely because they know that they need to first find their worth, esteem, and happiness within themselves. When two people who are lit with self-worth and happiness from within, they are much brighter than two people who are trying to absorb light from each other.

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The Risks of Tying Your Self-Worth to Your Job

Similar to the dangers of anchoring your self-worth to someone else, there are risks in tying your self-worth to your job. Like a significant other, jobs can come and go, sometimes without warning.

You can be let go, laid off, transitioned, dehired, dismissed, downsized, redirected, released, selectively separated, terminated, replaced, asked to resign, or just plain fired. You could also be transferred, promoted, demoted, or given new duties and responsibilities that no longer mesh with the sense of self-worth your previous duties and responsibilities gave you.

You could also quit, take a new job, take some time off, or retire. All things that can be wonderful life transitions, but that can be unnecessarily difficult if you base too much of your self-worth on your job. As previously mentioned, your job is one of the things that don’t define you or your worth. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of what you do, finding joy or fulfilment in it, or letting it shape who you are. The danger is in letting it define your entire sense of self.

We are all so much more than a job. Believing that we are nothing more than a job is detrimental to our well-being and can be disastrous to how we feel about ourselves.


5 Activities For Building
Your Self-Worth & Therefore Your Self-Esteem

According to author and self-growth guru Adam Sicinski, there are five vital exercises for developing and maintaining self-worth. He lays them out in five stages, but there’s no need to keep them in strict order; it’s fine to move back and forth or revisit stages.

1. Increase your self-understanding

An important activity on the road to self-worth is to build self-understanding. You need to learn who you are and what you want before you can decide you are a worthy human being. Sicinski recommends this simple thought experiment to work on increasing your understanding of yourself:

  1. Imagine that everything you have is suddenly taken away from you (i.e., possessions, relationships, friendships, status, job/career, accomplishments and achievements, etc.);
  2. Ask yourself the following questions:
    a. What if everything I have was suddenly taken away from me?
    b. What if all I had left was just myself?
    c. How would that make me feel?
    d. What would I actually have that would be of value?
  3.  Think about your answers to these questions and see if you can come to this conclusion:
    “No matter what happens externally and no matter what’s taken away from me, I’m not affected internally”
  4. Next, get to know yourself on a deeper level with these questions:

    a. Who I am? I am . . . I am not . . .
    b. How am I?
    c. How am I in the world?
    d. How do others see me?
    e. How do others speak about me?
    f. What key life moments define who I am today?
    g. What brings me the most passion, fulfillment, and joy?
  5. Once you have a good understanding of who you are and what fulfills and satisfies you, it’s time to look at what isn’t so great or easy about being you.
    Ask yourself these questions:

    a. Where do I struggle most?
    b. Where do I need to improve?
    c. What fears often hold me back?
    d. What habitual emotions hurt me?
    e. What mistakes do I tend to make?
    f. Where do I tend to consistently let myself down?
  6.  Finally, take a moment to look at the flipside; ask yourself:

    a. What abilities do I have?
    b. What am I really good at?

Spend some time on each step, but especially on the steps that remind you of your worth and your value as a person.

2. Boost your self-acceptance

Once you have a better idea of who you are, the next step is to enhance your acceptance of yourself. Start by forgiving yourself for anything you noted above. Think of any struggles, needs for improvement, mistakes, and bad habits you have, and commit to forgiving yourself and accepting yourself without judgment or excuses.

Think about everything you learned about yourself in the first exercise and repeat these statements:

  1. I accept the good, the bad and the ugly;
  2. I fully accept every part of myself including my flaws, fears, behaviors, and qualities I might not be too proud of;
  3. This is how I am, and I am at peace with that

3. Enhance your self-love

Now that you have worked on accepting yourself for who you are, you can begin to build love and care for yourself. Make it a goal to extend yourself kindness, tolerance, generosity, and compassion. To boost self-love, start paying attention to the tone you use with yourself. Commit to being more positive and uplifting when talking to yourself.

If you’re not sure how to get started, think (or say aloud) these simple statements:

  1. I feel valued and special;
  2. I love myself wholeheartedly;
  3. I am a worthy and capable person

4. Recognise your self-worth

Once you understand, accept, and love yourself, you will reach a point where you no longer depend on people, accomplishments, or other external factors for your self-worth. At this point, the best thing you can do is recognize your worth and appreciate yourself for the work you’ve done to get here, as well as continuing to maintain your self-understanding, self-acceptance, self-love, and self-worth.

To recognise your self-worth, remind yourself that:

  1. You no longer need to please other people;
  2. No matter what people do or say, and regardless of what happens outside of you, you alone control how you feel about yourself;
  3. You have the power to respond to events and circumstances based on your internal sources, resources, and resourcefulness, which are the reflection of your true value;
  4. Your value comes from inside, from an internal measure that you’ve set for yourself.

5. Take responsibility for yourself

In this stage, you will practice being responsible for yourself, your circumstances, and your problems.

Follow these guidelines to ensure you are working on this exercise in a healthy way:

  • Take full responsibility for everything that happens to you without giving your personal power and your agency away;
  • Acknowledge that you have the personal power to change and influence the events and circumstances of your life.

Remind yourself of what you have learned through all of these exercises, and know that you hold the power in your own life. Revel in your well-earned sense of self-worth and make sure to maintain it!


Trista Sutter advocates for building up your self-worth how hard that can be in our judgmental society.
Psychologist Ralph Smart argues that cultivating self-love is the key to having a high level of self-worth
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Self-worth is an important concept for both scholars and the average Joe to understand, and it’s especially important for us to be able to identify, build, and maintain a normal, healthy sense of self-worth! Learning about self-worth increases self-esteem and can teach you how to be more happy and fulfilled in your authentic, loveable self. Allowing you a more wholesome life that you deserve.

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