Improve self-worth by valuing yourself first

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One day I was on my daily morning walk when I started to question the difference between the word deserving and self-worth. I’m not entirely sure why it came up but it was a thought that persisted throughout most of my walk that day. When I thought about feeling ‘deserving’ of something, it was associated with doing or working hard at something. Whereas when I considered the word ‘self-worth’ or feeling worthy there weren’t any actions that needed to accompany it; one simply felt worthy or not.


Deserving vs self-worth – why does it matter?

I realised then that I had been used to using the word ‘deserved’ in my vocabulary because I did work hard in life so I did feel deserving. However, did I feel worthy? It surprised me when I felt unsure about my response to this question. I wasn’t sure if I could honestly say yes. The western culture is so centred on activity (being busy, active, always on the go) that the idea of receiving anything easily and without blood, sweat and tears is looked down upon. It’s an idea that I had certainly bought into when I was younger but had been weaning myself off from for quite some time.

Then recently, I had an incident with my mum which made me question my own self value. I didn’t realise at the time that this would help me to rediscover my self-worth. As a child, I had been told that I was stubborn and strong minded by my mum. It really affected me as there had been an implication that I wouldn’t be appreciated or loved by others as a result of this. Growing up, life had felt like a fight with her. The things that I wanted to do didn’t fit in with her expectations of me. Despite continuing to do the things that I thought were best for me, I hadn’t appreciated the impact that this struggle with my mum was having on me; that it made me doubt myself and my own self-worth and value.

When I realised that I hadn’t felt valued growing up I began to explore the question of whether I valued myself now as an adult and if so, what for. As an adult, I knew it was no one’s job to value me but an even more important point was, if I didn’t value myself, how could I expect anyone else to? When I started to respond to this question, I realised that the things that I appreciated about myself weren’t things that came from doing things for others but were qualities that came from being me such as for example, being big-hearted, kind and caring and so on.

When I thought about myself in this way and felt the accompanying feelings, it was an aha moment for me. I felt a genuine warmth in my heart and tenderness for myself as a human being. I felt valued just for being myself even if they included qualities that may not have been appreciated by others. And connected with this, I felt worthy of having a good life, of having what I wanted and desired. And it had nothing to do with working hard, doing things for other people, nothing to do with ‘doing’ at all.

Is this something that you’ve ever considered? If not, try testing for yourself if you can identify a difference between the thoughts and feelings you get from ‘deserving’ vs ‘self-worth or feeling worthy’. If you can identify a difference, then I suggest asking yourself whether you feel worthy of having your dream life, one that you’ve wanted in your heart but perhaps never tried to aim and move towards. And if you answer no, then look at whether you value yourself and how, by doing the exercise below.


Questions about self-value to consider

These are the questions that I asked myself to understand my own self value. I suggest taking the time and space to really consider them. It might feel uncomfortable especially if looking at yourself in this way feels immodest, awkward or cringe-worthy. However, I really encourage you to accept these feelings, sensations and to tackle these questions. The value that you attribute to yourself and the accompanying self-worth will determine whether you decide to live within your comfort zone and a life that is okay versus daring to live a life that is aligned with your true wants and desires. When you value yourself and feel worthy, the path unfolds simply and with ease. It’s not to say that you won’t have your challenges, but there’ll be a natural flow to your journey.

So put aside some time to consider these questions and try journalling or writing out the answers to see what comes to you without censor. The idea is to get to the truth of how you feel so that you can take steps towards addressing any areas which may be holding you back. Just be honest and try not to judge yourself.

  • Ask yourself whether you felt valued as a child? Whether your answer is yes or no, ask yourself why? What were you valued for and by whom?
  • Now ask yourself whether as an adult you value yourself? If so, what are the qualities that you value? Think of qualities that are not associated with ‘doing’ anything. For example, being a hard worker requires being active and ‘doing’ something. Instead consider what are the qualities that make you, you, that make you special as a human being? For example, this could be kindness, having compassion, being empathic. Note: You might want to draw this as an image or create a value board (similar to a vision board) with all your qualities so that you have something that you can quickly refer to as visual images generally stay with us.
  • Is there a difference in the qualities that you were valued for as a child vs how you value yourself as an adult? Are the qualities that were given to you as a child still applicable today? If not, then it’s time to let these old roles go. A lot of the time we hold onto the praise or value we were given as a child and continue to play the same role even though we are adults. This exercise will help you to flesh out what no longer serves you so that you can step out of old outdated roles and value yourself for who you truly are.


Final note

I hope this exercise helps you to see your own self-value. Keep close to hand the work that you did on point 2 to remind yourself of your value when you may not be feeling good or when you’re going through a difficult moment as we all do.

If you found this exercise challenging, don’t worry, you’re not alone. It just means that some work is needed on your self-perspective and healing of old beliefs that were most likely developed at a young age. By starting to really look at your own self-value, you’re taking a great towards improving your self-worth. When you start to value yourself, you’ll stop putting up with anyone or anything that doesn’t do the same.


If there’s anything that I can do to help, please send me a message. I would love to hear from you.

You might also find this post interesting: Let Love Guide You



Julie Lee
As a holistic coach, I facilitate the process of helping people remember who they are and the gifts that they bring to the world. My goal is to bring an awareness and understanding of your core issues so that you can come back into alignment with your true and amazing self, and live a life that truly resonates with you and brings you joy and fulfillment.

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