What is self-worth?
Self-worth is determined by four different factors. Imagine that your self-worth is a chest of drawers with four drawers. In these drawers are your self-confidence, your self-acceptance, your social competence and your social network and many memories of these four areas. These four areas, or the experiences and memories stored in these drawers, influence your self-worth. For example, have you just moved alone to a new city and are doubting whether you will ever find good friends here? Then you might think of your last semester abroad at university and how quickly you made good friends there with your open, friendly and trustworthy nature.
But how do these four drawers influence our self-worth?
Drawer 1 - Self-acceptance: This means that you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses. People with low self-esteem are often only focused on their weaknesses and underestimate their strengths. If you find it difficult to make a realistic assessment, just ask your family or friends. Self-acceptance also means accepting your own insecurities and not avoiding situations in which you feel insecure. The prerequisite for self-acceptance is therefore first of all to become self-aware. What abilities do I have? What weaknesses? When do I feel joy, fear, sadness or other feelings? If you have a differentiated view of yourself, it will be easier for you to accept yourself with all your characteristics.
Drawer 2 - Self-confidence: An essential factor for your self-confidence is to know your strengths, to use them and to trust in them. By repeatedly facing situations in which we feel anxious, we can strengthen our confidence in our own abilities.
Drawer 3 - Social competence: Social competence includes skills that help us communicate with other people in a needs-oriented way without losing sight of our own goals. These include, for example, the ability to empathize with others, to cooperate with others, to show feelings, to endure and address conflicts and also to lead others or be led.
Drawer 4 - Social network: This includes how involved you are in positive relationships, whether friends, colleagues, acquaintances or family. If you are connected to other people, you feel important to them, you have the feeling of being liked and are seen in your specialness. All this makes us feel valuable.
Is your self-worth in balance?
Both too low and too high self-worth can cause difficulties. People with too high a self-worth often find it difficult to give up, even when the costs exceed the benefits. They are also often unwilling to move on because they are too convinced of their strengths. People with too low a self-esteem, on the other hand, often doubt themselves very much and tend to be self-critical. They always look for the causes of failures in themselves. This can increase to the point of depression and other mental illnesses.
Many people who visit a psychotherapeutic practice have difficulty feeling valuable. Some even feel completely inadequate. Self-worth plays an important role in our mental health. Many of the assumptions we make about ourselves have been adopted throughout our lives by others around us. Our childhood experiences, upbringing and friends have shaped us. Did your parents encourage you in what you tried to do? Were they rather fearful and urged you to be careful all the time? Such things have an influence on your self-worth. Without being aware of it, we usually act according to inner convictions that were imprinted on us at an early age. "Asking for something is pushy and shows that I am weak" or "Better I don't even try. It would only go wrong anyway." can be beliefs when your self-worth is low. You could also call them self-esteem robbers. You can identify and learn to change such unconscious beliefs in psychotherapy. Our psychotherapists at WePractice can support you in this process.
But first, here are a few thoughts on how you can reformulate negative beliefs and strengthen your self-worth. Because it is up to you to strengthen your self-worth! Confucius already knew how important it is to reinterpret things and not only focus on the negative: "It is better to light a single small light than to curse the darkness". (Confucius *551 BC †479 BC). Here are a few examples of self-esteem robbers and how to disempower them.
Dysfunctional thought: "I can't do anything at all." Reinterpretation: "Today I ... (e.g. lunch) succeeded well.
Dysfunctional thought: "I am a burden to others." Reinterpretation: "Today I helped an elderly lady who couldn't find her way on her own."
Dysfunctional thought: "He broke up with me because I am not worth loving." Reinterpretation: "We went in different directions and probably didn't fit together anymore." Try to locate and disempower such self-esteem robbers by reinterpreting them.
Especially with negative beliefs, it can also be helpful to sit down in the evening and write down three things that went well during the day. This strengthens your own self-worth and well-being.
I would like to describe another small exercise that strengthens your self-worth and well-being. Feel into a pleasant experience and breathe deeply until you clearly feel a pleasant feeling. Now try to filter out what your own contribution is to this pleasant experience. What did you contribute to it? What strengths can you find in yourself in this situation? Feel them in peace and quiet. Repeat this every day with a pleasant experience.
Strong self-esteem protects you from getting discouraged too quickly and helps you to stand up for yourself. You still feel valuable, even if you don't succeed in something, because you are aware of your abilities. By trusting in your own coping strategies, you can master crises much more easily and are more resilient.
I wish you a lot of success in strengthening your self-worth, whether alone or in cooperation with our experts from WePractice. All the best!