From worthless to worthy interactions
Understanding self-worth is central to achieving a fulfilling life. For those grappling with feelings of low self-worth, the journey to reclaiming self-confidence can be complex and intrinsically rewarding.
The introduction below offers insights and strategies to help you move towards a life where you treat yourself as if you are worth exactly as much as anyone else.
Understanding Low Self-Worth
Low self-worth is often rooted in a deep-seated belief that we are not deserving of love, respect, or success. This can stem from a variety of causes, including past experiences, societal pressures, and personal challenges. In turn, the feelings, thoughts and sensations may cause us to engage in prototypical low-self worth behaviours.
Behaviours associated behaviours
Recognizing the behaviours of low self-worth is the first step towards healing. You may notice a tendency to criticize yourself harshly, avoid new challenges, or struggle with boundary-setting.
- Typical behaviours associated with low self-worth include:
- Negative self-talk and harsh self-criticism
- Difficulty accepting compliments or praise
- Constant comparison to others
- Fear of failure and avoidance of new challenges
- Settlings for less romantically and professionally
- Inhibiting self in social situations
- Be overly concerned with appearance and the evaluation of others
- People-pleasing and difficulty setting boundaries
If you identify with low self-worth behaviours, know that it is possible to change the way you handle your inner experience of being worth-less. A dedicated practice – and when needed combined with an experienced psychotherapist – can provide lasting and fundamental changes in the way you engage with others and approach to life.
Therapeutic Approaches for Treating Low Self-Worth
Several therapeutic approaches offer effective treatment. For example:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely used technique that addresses dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs to change behavior. Today there are many different branches of CBT and while some are very similar others are less so. The earliest form focused on identifying and challenging trigger thoughts. Later CBT has turned towards building skills that enable the client to focus on behaviours and make space to all imaginable inner content.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): ACT is an example of a more recent development form of CBT. It helps individuals work towards building the capacity to handle and have many different thoughts and feelings. It focuses on developing acceptance and mindfulness skills, while also promoting commitment to meaningful life goals regardless of the presence of so called “positive” of “negative” thoughts and emotions. Through therapy the client is expanding the capacity and courage to engage in life in a meaningful way.
- Psychodynamic Therapy: Psychodynamic therapy examines how early experiences and relationships shape our current beliefs and behavior. By exploring unconscious patterns and unresolved emotional conflicts, individuals can gain insight into their low self-worth and work towards developing healthier ways of thinking about themselves. This approach often involves weekly sessions and can take several months or years to see results.
- Intensive psychodynamic psychotherapy (ISTDP): ISTDP is a more structured and time-limited form of psychodynamic therapy that focuses on resolving emotional conflicts and developing healthier coping mechanisms. It utilizes techniques such as identifying defense mechanisms, using the therapeutic relationship to promote change, and addressing resistance to therapy. ISTDP can be effective in treating a range of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, and personality disorders.
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): MBCT combines elements of CBT with mindfulness techniques to help individuals observe their thoughts and feelings without engaging with them. MBCT aims to increase awareness of thoughts and emotions – particularly those that may trigger behaviours associated with the treatment of self as worthless. Through therapy the client develops skills for responding to them in a more adaptive way.
Practical Techniques for Building Self-Worth
Setting and Achieving Goals
Goals can build a sense of competence and accomplishment, boosting self-worth. Setting realistic and achievable goals, both short-term and long-term, can provide a sense of direction and purpose. It’s important to celebrate even small successes in order to reinforce feelings of self-worth.
Self-compassion involves treating oneself with kindness, understanding, and acceptance. This means acknowledging and validating one’s own emotions without judgment. Practicing self-compassion can help individuals develop a more positive and accepting view of themselves.
Cultivating Supportive Relationships
Strong relationships with friends, family, and loved ones can provide a sense of belonging and acceptance. These connections can also offer encouragement and validation, boosting feelings of self-worth.
Engaging in Self-Care
Self-care involves taking care of one’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This can include activities such as exercise, getting enough rest, eating healthy foods, and engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation. Prioritizing self-care can improve self-worth by showing oneself that they are deserving of care and attention.
Seeking Professional Help
An experienced therapist can provide support, guidance, and tools for building self-worth. Regardless of approach research shows that low-self worth can be treated and improved upon.
Self-worth is a vital aspect of one’s overall well-being, and it requires effort to cultivate and maintain. By setting achievable goals, practicing self-compassion, fostering relationships, prioritizing self-care, and seeking professional help when needed, individuals can improve their sense of self-worth and lead more fulfilling lives.
I hope you will take a chance and see for yourself if you can build skills that allows you to treat yourself as worthy even if when it may not feel like it.
Feel free to contact if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment.