By definition, self-worth means that you value yourself and think you are worthy.
Which can mean feeling worthy of anything in life – from the promotion at work to the free coffee your partner bought you at Starbucks this morning.
If you continuously find yourself uttering the words “I’m not good enough” – either out loud or in your own head – this could be a sign that your self-confidence is lacking.
If you want to make a change, there are so many ways you can feel better about yourself.
Let’s explore these 9 simple ways to develop your self-worth when you don’t feel good enough – so you can ditch the negative thinking for good.
1) List things you like about yourself
Building your self-worth starts from within. When you need to boost your confidence and feel better about yourself, you need to start with some positive self-talk.
The easiest way to do this is to create a list of things you like about yourself.
Grab a notepad and a pen – or just the notes app on your phone – and start writing bullet points of everything you like about yourself.
It could be big things or even the smallest of details.
Like how your hair looks after a shower or the fact that your front teeth are naturally straight.
Or that you have good friends, a stable job, and know how to socialize with other people in the elevator.
Think deeply and write anything you like – and don’t accept the idea in your head of “I don’t like anything about myself” – because it’s definitely not true.
You can write the list in one hit or add to it as the days and weeks pass.
Once you’re done, take a photo or a screenshot of the list and look back on it regularly. You can use the list as affirmations that you can repeat to yourself when you’re feeling low.
2) Ask friends for a pick-me-up
When you’re feeling low, sometimes you just need a friend. If you can’t find the light yourself and are struggling to fill your list, ask people you know for a pick-me-up.
Reach out to some people you trust and ask them to give you a compliment or two.
It may feel weird at first, but it can sometimes be difficult to spot your positive traits yourself. Whereas the people who love and care about you probably have a big list.
If your self-worth issues relate to your career, ask your boss for a 1-1 session and an evaluation of your progress. You may be surprised at what positive things you hear about your performance.
If you don’t feel comfortable asking your friends for compliments, simply tell them you’re feeling down and ask for a catch-up.
3) Talk positively to yourself
Another simple (yet extremely difficult) way to build your self-worth is to talk more positively to yourself.
When you’re about to criticize yourself, stop.
It can take time to identify negative thought patterns. But the more you practice it, the better you’ll get at it.
Interrupt those thoughts and refer to your list of positives instead. Or simply turn the thinking around to something more positive.
For example, when you think to yourself, “I can’t do that because I’ve never done it before, and I don’t know how to do it and I’m not good enough…etc. etc” – stop.
Instead, tell yourself, “I can do it. I know I’ve never done it before but I’m willing to try my best, and that’s all I can do. I might learn something new and have fun”.
4) Practice some self-care
A little self-care can go a long way in making you feel better about yourself. And there’s a studied reason for this.
For me, spending a bit of time and money on myself always makes me feel better when I’m feeling down.
It doesn’t have to be a lot of money. But treating myself to a few new interchangeable outfits makes me feel much better about myself at work or when I’m out with friends.
If you don’t want to spend money, have a little pamper evening instead.
Soak your feet in a DIY foot spa, create a skincare routine, take a long shower, or run yourself a bubble bath.
Whatever it is that you’ll enjoy, build some more self-care into your monthly, weekly, or nightly routine – and see how much better you feel.
5) Look after your body
Another way to feel more confident with who you are is to look after your physical health.
We only get one body (unless those sci-fi films come true!), so it’s important to take care of it.
Start working out. Drink more water. Eat a healthy lunch or snack. Go for a walk in nature. Find a hobby you enjoy that keeps you active. Ditch alcohol on weeknights and at social occasions.
6) Read a self-development book
When life gets you down, the words of others can help lift you back up again.
Self-development books (good ones, at least) are written by experts, so they’re designed to make you feel better.
Depending on the type of book you read, you can build your confidence in all areas of life.
With a good book to get your teeth into, you can find the motivation, inspiration, and encouragement you’ve been looking for.
Self-help books usually focus on six aspects – collectively or individually – improving yourself physically, financially, relationally, emotionally, spiritually, or intellectually.
Find the genre that works for you and get reading – or check our list of the best self-awareness books if you don’t know where to start.
7) Listen to a motivational podcast
If reading books isn’t really your thing (or you don’t have the time to sit down and read), consider listening to a motivational podcast instead.
The great thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them on the go, wherever you are, without needing to necessarily create time.
I know when I was struggling to find alone time, I used to listen to podcasts on my commute, during gym sessions, in the car, and when I was cleaning my apartment.
It made the tips and ideas way easier to digest than if I was sitting down and reading a book.
So if listening works better for you, find yourself a good TEDTalk or other motivational listen and see how it makes you feel.
8) Find a hobby you enjoy
Another way to build your self-worth is to find a hobby that you enjoy doing.
As experts have found, when you have a hobby, it can physiologically boost your mood and improve your confidence.
It can even help with meeting new people, making new friends, socializing, and getting healthier – which can all lead to an improved sense of worth, too.
If you don’t know what you like, sign up for something completely random that you’ve never tried before. Like an evening cooking class, a climbing gym, a netball club, or a running group.
Just give it a go and see whether you like it and how it makes you feel.
9) Cut toxic people from your life
When you feel low about yourself, your own mind may not always be the one to blame.
We are a product of the people we surround ourselves with.
As studies show, when you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll feel more positive, supported, and able to reach your goals.
And likewise, if the people in your life are negative, nasty, and toxic, they could be bringing you down instead of lifting you up.
Ask yourself why you feel like you have low self-worth:
- Is it because your boyfriend or girlfriend makes you feel bad about yourself?
- Do you have a toxic friend who’s always crossing your boundaries?
- Is a family member too overbearing and tries to control your life?
If so, it may be time to cut these toxic people out of your life.
Ultimately, feeling good about yourself comes from within.
You have to make the decision to be better – and there are many, many ways to help you get there (like those listed above).
Building your self-worth doesn’t happen overnight. But making small changes every day will make all the difference.
And, eventually, over time you can find yourself feeling more positive and more in love with the person you are.
Because, in the end, you’re the one person who’s always in your life and head.
So it’s important to make sure you treat yourself well and be the best you can be – if not for anyone else, for you!