Struggling with Self-worth?
Self-worth is something that so many people struggle with in uniquely different ways.
Some people believe their self-worth is tied to their physical attributes, whether that be how beautiful they deem themselves to be or the shape of their body. These people may endlessly count calories, obsessively look in the mirror, or even struggle to go outside and engage with others.
Others may believe that worth is equal to output and productivity. These people may tend to work too much, feel guilty when they didn’t “do enough,” and be constantly pursuing ways to better themselves.
Many fall into a popular third category where they believe their worth is tied to how much they perceive being useful or needed by others. These people may struggle with people pleasing, not being able to say no even when they want to, and find they are exhausted by trying to live up to others’ expectations.
Does any of this sound familiar?
You’re not alone. Many people struggle with what is called inherent self-worth. This is the belief that you have worth just for existing, and your output or attributes don’t change your worth. Whether you did a million chores in one day or just watched TV, your worth is the same. Whether you failed that test or aced it, your worth is the same. This concept seems to logically make sense to people, especially when applied to others, though find they struggle to apply it to themselves.
As a therapist, a technique I use is having clients imagine themselves as small children. Often, I will ask they actually bring a picture of their younger selves to session. People generally have a much easier time applying inherent self-worth to children, and knowing that they are precious, worthy, valued, and loved no matter what. So I pose the question ‘what changes?’ The answer is nothing does. You still have the same self-worth and value. You are uniquely you and worthy at every age, no matter what you look like, not matter what your income is, no matter what you accomplished.
Worth is a theme that comes up often in therapy. If we continue to go through life without this sense of inherent self-worth, it can lead to many unwanted behaviors and get in the way of living the life we deserve. This is a concept that takes a long time to work through, believe, and be at peace with. Even those who have worked tirelessly at believing in their inherent self-worth will still have those moments or days where we notice equating some attribute with our self-worth.
Try starting out with the technique mentioned above for a couple weeks and notice any changes that follow. If you continue to struggle with believing in your inherent self-worth, it can always be helpful to find a therapist to work on this with. How we view our self-worth directly impacts our quality of life and how we navigate each day. You deserve to know you have self-worth, value, and are loved no matter what.
Written by Devan of SafeHeart Counseling. Devan is the founder and owner of SafeHeart Counseling, which provides therapy services to children, teens, and families. SafeHeart Counseling specializes in working with eating disorders, trauma, anxiety, and family conflict.