Finding and feeling self-worth is a skill to be practiced and constantly improved upon. And while self-worth may mean different things to different people, it has an immeasurable positive impact on every aspect of our lives. You can't appreciate your own accomplishments or continue making progress toward your goals if you don't feel validated and deserving of being where you are and open to opportunities to come.
When it comes to feeling worthy, some days are harder than others. Whether because of self-doubt, low self-esteem or comparison to those around us, it can be hard to feel confident in yourself and your abilities. Practicing self-worth takes inner work. Feeling worthy comes from within, not from those around us (no matter how much we think a job offer or professional win will be the key to feeling worthy and proud of yourself). Self-worth can't be found in external factors. It's about looking within and changing internal thought processes and behaviors in order to feel more comfortable and confident in yourself.
Our thoughts literally influence our actions. That much is clear. Whether you believe in "manifestation" or not, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that the way we think about the world, ourselves and our actions attract things accordingly. This explains why, when you are absorbed in self-doubt and low self-esteem, it's hard to feel anything but confirmation of your doubts and fears. When we're in a particular mindset, we attract and interpret things in accordance with what we have decided is true: in this case, that we're unworthy of opportunity, love, good fortune — you name it.
Self-affirmation — the process of practicing positive, constructive self talk — helps reframe your thoughts and feelings to make yourself feel better. It's not that you're creating artificial self worth, either. You are choosing to see things in a positive light and recognize the productive things you've done and aspects of your actions that you're proud of. Being affirmative toward ourselves is essential to fostering self-worth.
Making and sticking to habits is how you create change. In order to change patterns of thought that are creating self-doubt and negativity, make a habit of committing to practices that remind you of your worth.
Keep a list of your accomplishments, things you're proud of. When you feel down, it's hard to remember the times when you felt valid and worthy and proud — but they happened! Keep a journal or document to take down those experiences, so when you're in need of a reminder that you're capable of great things, you have some evidence to look back on. Too often, we get caught up in to-do lists, drowning in tasks we haven't done yet. Balance out that dread by focusing on things that you have done.
Spending a lot of time on social media rarely makes you feel better about yourself. Chances are, it will remind you of where, who and what you wish you were, instead of appreciating where you are. That kind of thinking takes you out of the present and leaves you in a constant state of comparison to others. Remember, the content that makes it to social media often reflects the best and shiniest possible angle of someone's life. Don't put too much stock in what you see there or any feelings of insufficiency it might bring up.
To keep yourself from getting sucked into Instagram or scrolling through Facebook, limit your social media apps. Some smartphones even allow you to specify screen time limits for the apps you want to cut down on. Use this feature to your advantage, or create your own regulations!
Whether or not they happen to be your thing, you can make use of the power of mantras. Having a saying you repeat to yourself when you're feeling down, anxious or stressed can have calming and inspiring benefits. It gives you something to come back to when you lose control of your thoughts, and It can also help you stop negative thought processes in their tracks. This is important, because harmful thoughts only lead to results that perpetuate your feelings. Find a mantra that works for you, or develop your own!
Recognizing the worth in other people is actually a good way to increase your own feelings of self-worth. We often hold ourselves to higher standards than we hold other people to, so taking a minute to look at the things we admire in other people and how grateful we are for positive people in our lives can help you recognize the context of your own worth. Taking a step away from being absorbed in your own anxieties and self-criticism broadens your perspective. Plus, it's always good to express the gratitude we feel toward people outwardly, and that alone will make you feel better.
If you're caught in a spiral of feeling bad about your decisions, insecure about your potential or doubtful in your abilities, you can change the way you think. Actively choosing to reframe your thoughts in a more positive, constructive way will help you get out of the cycle of negative thinking that only limits your potential further. Try to identify harmful thoughts and adapt them into constructive resolutions. For example, if you're feeling like you've made too many mistakes in your life, focus instead on thinking about what you can change in the future to avoid making the same choices. You can also focus on the good choices you feel like you've made instead. If you practice self-love instead of ruthless self-criticism, you can only move forward, instead of dwelling on the past.
The path to feeling worthy and confident in your abilities is rarely a linear one. Creating habits and interrupting patterns of thinking takes time, so if you slip up, don't be hard on yourself. Culturing self-worth is a long game, but with the right tools and determination, you can get there.