There have been times in my life (after certain relationships especially) that have tanked my sense of self-worth.
It’s happened from being in situations where I felt taken for granted, was treated poorly or flat out abused, or was told in one way or another that I was “too much.” It’s happened from being in relationships with people who didn’t show up, made me and my experience wrong, or continually showed me that I didn’t really matter. It’s happened from situations that made me doubt myself and my power, caused me to question whether or not I deserved support, or led me to gaslight myself in crazy-making ways. It’s happened with family, friends, partners, and in work.
It happens to all of us at some point in our life, to some degree.
That’s just the nature of being human in this world.
But while there are many circumstances, relationships, and situations that can actively lower our self-worth, the truth is, we’re usually the ones who drive it into the ground.
We do this when we continue to stay in a relationship despite knowing it’s not right or healthy, when we make excuses for people who treat us poorly or don’t show up at all, or when we tolerate the intolerable for longer than we should.
This isn’t to suggest that extricating ourselves from traumatic and abusive situations is easy or that we’re to blame for the effects of that treatment. Not at all. We are never to blame for abuse or the damage it causes—but we are responsible for our healing.
There are lots of ways we can tell when our self-worth is low. We stop taking care of ourselves, begin feeling very “what’s the point” about everything, and it feels incredibly difficult to make things happen. We feel apathetic, even depressed, and we don’t go after what we want because we don’t believe we deserve it.
If this is you, don’t worry.
There are plenty of proven ways to raise our self-worth quickly, and today I want to share 12 things you can start working on right now!
1. Focus on self-care like whoa.
Make pleasure and self-care a cornerstone of everything you do, especially the things that aren’t enjoyable by nature.
Have something boring you have to work on? Light some candles, wear your favorite fuzzy slippers, and listen to upbeat music while sipping on a special beverage and snacking on a beautifully plated tray of nourishing goodies.
Commute making you tired every day? Download some audiobooks, have your car detailed, and reframe that as your time before and after work. Get a massager for your seat back and spritz the car with an energizing scent like peppermint.
Have to deal with someone that drains your energy and you can’t get out of it? Schedule a spa treatment for right after, or head to the bookstore to get yourself something new to read or a stack of magazines to soak in a bubble bath with.
It feels pointless when you’re not feeling worthy of good things, but it helps.
It brings joy and pleasure to every experience of our life, and that in turn begins to make us feel delighted every day. And it’s a way of showing ourselves that we are worthy and deserving of care, which we are. We deserve pleasure, and we’re worthy of breaks and pampering. Even better, it shows the people around us how we like to care for ourselves so they can (hopefully!) learn and do better for us as well.
This is about raising our standard for ourselves and our life.
Which brings us to the next point.
2. Raise your standards.
Do it across the board, and be unapologetic about it.
What people bring you down or make you feel bad about yourself? Distance yourself or cut them out, and never have relationships with people like them again.
What experiences are draining and tiresome? Set boundaries, or stop doing them, participating, and even working there (if you can), and be clear about what you will and will not tolerate in those types of environments going forward. You also want to get clear on what the consequences are if things sink to that level again.
Get clear on what your non-negotiables are, then exit or say “no, thank you” when the very first red flag shows up (heck, even an orange or yellow flag!) Do it without the need to explain yourself or “try” because someone wants you to. You don’t have to see how it plays out if you get even the subtlest no in your body. You get to raise your standards and walk away from anything beneath them.
Buy better underwear, go to a higher-end hairstylist, and upgrade your gym membership to that really awesome new place. If you can afford to do something better or higher quality, do it because you deserve the best.
Raising our standards explicitly states: I’m worth more.
It says. “I’m worth more than how you treat me or where you’re asking me to shrink and fit. I’m worth more than ‘good enough’ or ‘it’ll do.’ I’m worth higher quality products and treatments. I’m worthy of comfort and care. I’m worthy of support.”
You know what you can do and where you need to do it, so do it.
3. Live your joy like it’s your job.
This is one of my favorites to focus on and really dropped in more deeply for me this year.
What if instead of pushing and hustling or grinding and burning yourself out to get to where you want to be, the path looked primarily like joy?
This falls in line with self-care because it’s about prioritizing pleasure and joy.
Yes, you could hustle and get more done on your to-do list, but what if you took an hour and spent it reading at the park and splashing in the lake? What if instead of cramming that disgusting and chalk-like macro-appropriate nutrition bar in your mouth so you can “get back in shape,” you found a delicious, healthy recipe and cooked it while listening to jazz and drinking wine with your favorite friends?
What if joy was your job? How would your life be different?
Well, first of all, it would be more joyful. ????
Beyond that, you’ll be in a constant state of love, gratitude, and appreciation, all of which magnetize more toward us with ease. Gratitude especially is one of the quickest ways to raise our vibration and align us with the things we want.
It’s totally possible to create more for ourselves by doing less, as counterintuitive as it seems, because we’re in a more magnetic state. So live your joy like it’s your job!
4. Focus more on your health and fitness, but do it for the right reasons.
Don’t do it because you think you’ll be more worthy of love and good people if you’re shaped differently.
All that does is reinforce the lie that our worth is tied to how we look, external circumstances, or that someone else gets to defines it for us.
Focus on your health to raise your standards for yourself and feel really amazing in your skin every day. It’s about having more energy for the things that bring us joy and feeling more comfortable, strong, and steady.
Exercise is always something I return to when my self-worth is low because getting stronger makes me feel more solid in myself and in my life.
The “looking better” is subjective and is a byproduct, not the goal.
I also get really focused on taking the right supplements, drinking enough water, eating clean foods that make me feel good, and getting enough sleep. When we feel like garbage mentally, it doesn’t help to feel that way physically. So start focusing on the things that make you feel amazing physically, even if you already consider yourself in “great shape.” It’s not about your shape; it’s about how you feel.
Even better, find yourself a fun and challenging goal like finishing a race!
5. Cultivate more confidence.
Confidence is about owning it, whatever “it” is for you.
That means you’re totally and completely at peace with who you are in every moment, interaction, and experience, regardless of what other people think.
When you own it (your shoes, choices, truths, career, beliefs, etc.), other people actually fall in line, and you receive more acceptance, respect, interest, appreciation, and support. If you lack confidence in yourself, other people will reflect that back, creating a vicious cycle that drags you down.
On the flip side, if you have total confidence in yourself, completely owning who you are in every moment no matter where you are, other people will reflect that back, and your confidence will continue to flourish.
Really sink into the vision of who you would be with more confidence.
What would you own more fully and unapologetically in every area of your life? What would you wear, eat, say, or do? How would you show up in your relationships or at work? What would you feel brave enough to do or say?
Once you see it, go out and be it. Show up in the world as that person right now, really embodying that way of being in every single way.
6. Spend more time with aligned people.
This is especially important after relationships that make us feel unworthy, unimportant, abandoned, or rejected.
This isn’t only about romantic relationships, but toxic friendships, bad bosses, feuding family, or catty coworkers that drag us down and make us feel terrible.
Spending time with our right people resets things quickly.
I have the most incredible humans in my corner, and they’re so good at reminding me of who I really am when I need it most. They remind me that I’m “just right” and not “too much,” as well as loved for exactly who I am. They help me see that I deserve more and better in every way. And they help me anchor back into my truth when feeling low has caused me to begin questioning myself and my experience.
The right people breathe life back into us, so spend more time with those people or make a conscious effort to seek them out.
Go to different networking events, join meetup and social groups, and connect with other people online. They’re out there, I promise. You just have to commit to showing up fully as who you are, not contorting yourself or trying to “fit in.” That’s where we go wrong, so commit to being yourself completely.
7. Show up for yourself.
If other people can’t show up for you, show up for yourself.
Start by always having your own back, no matter who agrees or understands.
Make decisions that are right for you. Set boundaries when and where you need to without consulting anyone else or caring what they think. Speak up and tell your truth, always and often, leaving anyone who can’t hold space for it behind. Be a loud, fierce advocate for what you need, especially within the systems that frequently ignore and harm us (education, healthcare, patriarchal, etc.)
Put yourself first and organize your life around the things that matter most.
When we really work to cultivate a loving, supportive, and expansive relationship with ourselves, we begin to feel more fulfilled and content in exactly who we are and where we’re at. If you’re really struggling with low self-worth, ask yourself how you’d show up for your favorite people. What would you do or say? How would you be? Then start consciously being that person for yourself, right now.
It can feel odd and silly at first, but it shifts things quickly!
8. Process out old stories and wounding.
Process work is life-giving and creates massive freedom.
And, it’s a great way to clear out old stories, beliefs, traumas, and experiences that have left you feeling worthless. Often, when something happens or someone treats us poorly, it’s actually just reinforcing old, old stories and traumas from childhood. It’s activating our attachment anxiety and triggering our core wounds.
Our core wounds come in many flavors and combinations but tend to fall into one of these four categories: I’m unlovable, I’m broken or damaged, I don’t belong or fit in, I’m not ____ enough.
Once we know what our core wound is, it becomes easier to separate out the stories from what actually happened. If someone was mean to you, all that happened is someone was mean to you. If something happened that hurt your heart, all that happened is something that hurt your heart. If your relationship ended, you “failed” and missed the mark, or someone’s feelings got hurt… that’s all that happened!
It doesn’t mean we don’t feel the feelings that are there; emotions are healthy and important. It means we don’t go into the story. They weren’t mean to you because you’re unlovable. You didn’t fail because you’re not good enough at anything. Your relationship didn’t end because you’re broken or damaged.
Focus on what happened and start to filter out the stories that just make you feel like a worthless piece of garbage—because they aren’t even true!!
Process work is a cornerstone in my own healing and growth, and something I bring to my clients in a variety of ways if you need support.
9. Build a support system for a more grounded and fruitful perspectives.
Even if we consciously know we’re in a spiral or how we’re hooked in, we may still need support to move beyond it.
This is where having support is essential, regardless of who it is (friends, family, coaches, therapists, healers, etc.) I have a mentor, coaches, and healing team, and they all have their own mentors, coaches, and healing teams.
That’s because when our core wounds are involved, we can’t always see the forest for the trees, and that can cause us to get stuck or stall out.
It doesn’t have to cost money or involve a one-on-one relationship with another person; it can be listening to podcasts, reading books, or joining support groups. It’s about having a container with people who can cleanly help you step outside the spin so you can feel more grounded and navigate what’s happening. (Cleanly meaning, they don’t project their stuff or push their views onto your process or journey.)
After my loss and the abusive relationship that followed, I took a “full-court press” approach to my healing. I had more than one coach, an amazing therapist, a chiropractor and acupuncturist, did process and energy work, saw a nutritional therapist, and had a fantastic crew of friends on standby at all times.
I didn’t heal and come home to myself alone.
Sometimes we need a lot of support, sometimes just a little.
Either way, start building out your support system and trying different modalities!
10. Anchor into your purpose.
Purpose is one of the most powerful ways to create more meaning and feel a sense of value and contribution.
Purpose is a wildly polarizing topic, but it’s actually very simple: show up, be who you’re here to be, and contribute to the world in the way that only you can. No contribution is too small, and all of it matters.
Knowing your purpose gives you a deep sense of self.
It makes navigating challenging chapters and big life transitions (or the aftermath of hurtful situations and harmful human interactions) less destabilizing to our sense of self-worth. Maybe you don’t like me, think I’m “too much,” or don’t feel like I’m worthy of your time or energy, but my life still matters. My work in the world—who I’m here to be and how I contribute—can’t be taken from me.
I’m clear on my assignment in this life, and that keeps me in motion.
Anytime I feel down and out and like I’m worthless, I do something to move my visions forward. I re-engage in my work even more deeply, create what I feel called to create, and live how I feel compelled to live. It’s not an overnight cure-all, but it grounds me back into myself and this life and business I love.
Purpose is my purpose, and I’m excellent at helping people identify theirs. Book a consultation call now to see how we can get you more aligned with who you’re here to be in this life! I promise you already know, and it’s already within reach! ✨
11. Push your edges and have fun and challenging new experiences.
When we put ourselves in a place of continuous growth and expansion, it’s hard to forget who we really are.
Divine, magical, and capable of so many incredible things!
It’s easy to forget how powerful we are and how much potential we have to actualize in this life. We’re seriously limitless! And when we consciously choose to push our edges regularly, that’s when really incredible things begin to happen for us, and we anchor into just how amazing we are.
Make it a point to push your edges.
Do that deeper healing and growth work.
Make something happen that feels impossible.
Go out on that first date or attend that new networking group.
Create and launch the thing you’ve always wanted to do.
Write the book, start the website, or get started painting.
Buy the bike and start mountain biking before you’re ready.
Go on the adventure, even if you have to go alone.
Take a class and learn a new skill.
You get the idea…
Do something that will expand you, especially if it’s challenging, scary, or hard!
12. Know where you need to take your worth off the table.
We can have the same core wounding and trauma but tie our sense of self-worth to different things.
A good friend of mine is the same personality, and basically the same person as me. We have similar core wounds and traumas and are constantly working on the exact same thing. The difference is, for them, it’s focused around their work, and for me, it’s focused around relationships. My sister and I experienced the same things growing up in the same vein, but her triggers manifest around authority figures while mine manifest around the partners I choose. This is so common!
I tie my worth to romantic relationships with my core wounds while others tie it to work, creativity, authority, getting things wrong, etc.
We have to understand where our worth is on the table and remove it.
Meaning my worth is not on the table in my business. If you criticize my writing, hate my branding or programs, or think I’m an awful human for doing the things I do, it doesn’t affect me. Not in the least! It’s like a superpower at times.
But, historically, if you tell me I’m too much, judge me or how I live, don’t like how I look or reject me in some way as a partner, it can be crippling.
I’ve had to actively work to take my worth off the table in relationships.
That’s looked like adopting the same mindset and mentality: you don’t get to affect me. What you think ultimately doesn’t matter, and I decide what feedback is worth considering or taking action around. I’m always lovable, worthy, and deserving of good things, even if you disagree or actively try to sway me into believing otherwise.
Where is your worth on the table?
How will you start raising your self-worth and loving yourself more?
What will it look like today, this week, and this month?
What boundaries do you need to set, and what people are no longer aligned and supportive? Where will you get support, and how will you begin the deeper work to free yourself from the old core wound stories? How will you care for yourself?
If you need support, here are some ways I can help!