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How to Cultivate Self-Worth

Isabella Tsui

Picture including copy space for text1) Use Positive Self-Talk

People often times  have negative thoughts about themselves which can lead to poor self-image. These negative messages could have been told to a person as a young child or a person thought of these negative thoughts themselves. Regardless of where the negative thought came from, people can “rewrite” those messages. It can be challenging rewriting a negative comment into a more positive one, but with practice this task can become easier over time. For example, a person might have been told through the years, “You never do anything right.” This statement is extreme and not true. How would we rewrite that negative thought into a positive one? Here are some examples:

  • “I am doing my best.”
  • “I am human.”
  • “I will do better next time.”
  • “I have potential.”
  • “I do not have to be perfect.”

The way people speak to themselves internally has a lasting effect. If people speak positively, it can lead to being more optimistic, hopeful and positive. If people speak negatively, it can lead to a more hopeless, helpless and pessimistic view of life. Rewriting negative thoughts and turning them into positive ones help people see a more balanced and realistic view. Positive self-talk can build people up, help boost confidence and increase overall life satisfaction. If you need a physical reminder of practicing positive self-talk, write down the positive thoughts on sticky notes and stick it around your room, bathroom mirror, workplace or any place you want. Having a physical reminder around you can help reinforce this positive self-talk practice.

2) Connect with Friends, Family and/or Loved Ones

Connecting with the people you care about and love is a wonderful reminder of what matters in the world. Regardless of how well a person does at work or school, relationships are key to forming an attachment to life. It is encouraging to have the people who care about you remind you of your strengths. The people who are closest to you can speak highly of you when we need it the most. Connecting with friends, family and/or loved ones provides a safe place for you to reflect and share about your experiences. Often times, people who know your value can remind you of the wonderful qualities you have because it is easy to forget them when a person is feeling down.

3) Acknowledge that You Are Enough

You sitting here and reading this is enough. Your worth is not earned by performance, grades, salary or any other thing. The core of who you are is enough and nothing can take that worth away from you. Humans have worth and that does not change. Having a higher grade, higher salary or better car does not make us better. It is challenging for most people to feel or even see their own worth because we live in a physical world where people find worth in external things. However, worth is already in you. Take time to recognize your worth already exists and you can accept it now. Remember: your worth is never in jeopardy. You are enough and you matter.

4) Recognize Worth is Not Defined by Externals

People often use externals to define how much worth they have. The worth a person holds is independent of these externals:

  • Appearance
  • Education
  • Talents
  • Family image
  • Race/Ethnicity/Skin Color
  • Wealth
  • Mistakes
  • Behaviors
  • Decisions
  • Clothes
  • Net Worth
  • Sickness/Health
  • Power
  • Productivity
  • Others’ approval or acceptance

That is a short list of externals people can use to measure their value and worth, but take a moment and recognize none of those things listed above change your worth as a person. The worth you have is consistent and stable. Sometimes it takes time for a person to fully acknowledge and embrace their worth. There is no rush because it can be a process, but remember you have worth without changing anything about you.

If you or someone you know can benefit from counseling, feel free to call the Summit Counseling Center at 678-893-5300 and make an appointment with a therapist who can help.

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