Counseling Center


Self-worth is the internal sense of being good enough and worthy of love and belonging from others. Self-worth is often confused with self-esteem, which relies on external factors such as successes and achievements to define worth and can often be inconsistent leading to someone struggling with feeling worthy. Whereas it is important to have a solid understanding of our strengths and areas for growth, we also need to feel good enough even when we make mistakes or things do not workout in our life as we had hoped. How would you describe your self-worth right now?
Think about:
  • What words would you use to describe yourself?
  • What value did you place on yourself or aspects of yourself?
  • Were your descriptions generally positive, balanced, or negative?
  • Where did your messages around your worth come from?
Low self-worth is having a generally negative overall opinion of oneself, judging, or evaluating oneself critically, and placing a general negative value on oneself as a person. People with low self-worth often criticize themselves and abilities, brush off compliments or positive qualities, focus on mistakes, what they didn't do, or what other people seem to do or have. Sometimes, low self-worth is the result of difficult childhood experiences where a child is led to believe that they are not good enough and this narrative sticks with them into adulthood. This low self-worth may manifest in different ways for people. 
  • In school or work, may avoid challenges and achieve less
  • In personal relationships, may become upset or distressed by any criticism or disapproval.
    • They may bend over backwards to please others
    • Be extremely shy or self-conscious
    • Avoid or withdraw from intimacy, vulnerability, or social contact
    • Less likely to stand up for themselves from being abused or neglected 

There are many ways you can increase your self-worth. Self-compassion is a wonderful place to start. Self-compassion is the ability to be kind to yourself and actually say and do kind things towards ourselves the same way we would a good friend versus being self-critical. We can remember and remind ourselves that everyone makes mistakes and is imperfect as this is what makes us all humans. You have to start by noticing that you are struggling and allow yourself to sit with whatever emotions may arise from situations. The resources below may help in gaining insight into what impacts your self-worth and increasing your self-worth with self-compassion and other methods acceptance and healing.