If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking (or even saying out loud), “I feel worthless” did you know what was at the root of it?
Did images in your mind remind you of past failures or the shame imposed on you by others?
Or are they on constant replay in your head, making you feel unworthy of love, forgiveness, or even basic kindness?
And would you like to know how to stop thinking,”I’m worthless,” so you can move on and grow into the person you want to be?
Because you can.
Even if, by using the tips in this article, you become more aware of the things that make you feel unworthy, you can learn to accept your whole self and act more like a fully-integrated and powerful human being.
In other words, you can’t make yourself perfect, but you can learn to embrace yourself as you are and make the most of your own unique potential.
- Why do I feel worthless?
- Signs of Feeling Worthless
- How to Stop Feeling Worthless
- 1. Own the parts of you that you don’t like.
- 2. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
- 3. Stop saying “yes” to everyone.
- 4. Get enough sleep.
- 5. Stop the negative self-talk.
- 6. Try new things.
- 7. Allow yourself to fail.
- 8. Practice self-control and self-discipline.
- 9. Forgive yourself.
- 10. Do more of what you love.
Why do I feel worthless?
At the root of worthlessness, you’ll find one or more of the following:
None of these have to be permanent, though.
The tips below can radically change the way you see yourself and, consequently, how you relate to others.
Signs of Feeling Worthless
You may recognize some of these signs when you are stuck in a cycle of feeling useless and worthless.
If you recognize yourself in any of these signs, take heart. You don’t have to live this way forever. You can take actions to help you improve your self-worth and confidence.
How to Stop Feeling Worthless
The tips that follow deal with the question of how not to not feel worthless, but none of them are quick fixes.
All of them deserve to be practiced daily as habits, and I hope you make them part of your life from now on.
But, for starters, take one or two to focus on today.
Choose those that feel most doable right now, and pay attention to how you feel when you’re doing them. Pay attention to your self-talk and what you take away from the experience.
The more mindfully you practice the tips you choose, the more you’ll benefit from them.
1. Own the parts of you that you don’t like.
I don’t mean just owning your mistakes and taking personal responsibility for your words and actions. I mean embracing and accepting them.
While it is necessary to take responsibility, you also need to acknowledge the parts of you that make you recoil inwardly and make you feel useless and unworthy.
The key is recognizing these things don’t define you. You have the power to see them differently and to change them if you wish.
Don’t use the negative aspects of your actions to describe your character based on those perceived failures.
For example, if you acted out of cowardice, it doesn’t follow that you will always be a coward. You might have acted out of weakness, fatigue, or terror; it doesn’t mean you always will.
Acknowledging your weaknesses is difficult, especially when you feel they make you less deserving of love and acceptance. But acknowledging is the first step toward self-acceptance and recognizing that you, like everyone, are worthy in spite of your flaws.
2. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
It’s one thing to say, “Nobody’s perfect,” but no one likes to feel exposed to scrutiny.
It’s especially hard when some of the people to whom you expose your weaknesses use them against you — making you feel more worthless.
Maybe they try use them as proof that you have a bad character — or that you don’t deserve to be forgiven or treated with kindness.
In other words, they consider themselves morally superior to you. And maybe they need to feel that way to hide from their own feelings of low self-worth.
But genuine, caring, and authentic people will appreciate your willingness to be vulnerable and to expose your weaknesses to them. Because they see those same weaknesses in themselves. And you make them feel less alone in the world.
When you are vulnerable with those who deserve your confidences, you reveal your true worthiness. You reveal that you understand the human condition and are willing to share your connection to it.
Your vulnerabilities become your source of strength and honor.
3. Stop saying “yes” to everyone.
You’re not obligated to convince anyone you’re worthy of their love, friendship, or acceptance.
They will either embrace you for who you are, or they won’t. If it’s the latter, then they are not worth your time and energy.
Some people just want to take advantage of you because they recognize your insecurities. And no matter what you do for them, it’s not enough.
Saying “yes” to people like this only further convinces you that you aren’t deserving because these people don’t respect you or your boundaries.
But you’re not obligated to always say “yes” to anyone, even those whom you love and respect. Your worthiness doesn’t hinge on constantly pleasing others.
Say “yes” to the things that help you become more of who you want to be.
Say “no” to the things that keep you stuck in the past — or that compete with more important things.
The more you pratice implementing your own boundaries and needs, the more self-respect and self-worth you’ll possess.
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4. Get enough sleep.
Feeling worthless is exhausting. It might sound trivial, but if you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s harder to not get stuck in the downward spiral of regret, shame, and self-hate.
A well-rested body and mind are better able to focus on the bigger picture and to choose the words and actions that will lift you up and out of the darkness.
It doesn’t mean the feelings go away, but it does mean you have the energy to turn your mind to better things.
Getting enough rest makes it possible to draw what you need from both the light and the darkness, so you can act as an integrated whole and see yourself as deserving and valuable.
5. Stop the negative self-talk.
Trash-talking yourself — outwardly or in your head — doesn’t make you a better or more valuable person.
It’s one thing to own your mistakes or flaws and another, less endearing thing to dwell on them constantly.
Stop reminding yourself and others of how your perceived flaws reflect on you.
Stop focusing on all the reasons you shouldn’t think of yourself as a useful, valuable, deserving person. Swap out the negative self-talk for truer and more positive statements.
Remind yourself that, while you’re alive, you can keep learning from your mistakes and growing in a better direction. That in itself makes you acceptable and worthy. In fact, it makes you exceptional.
You’re the only one stopping you.
6. Try new things.
It’s easy to feel bad about yourself and useless when you feel stuck in a rut. So, why not try something new to shake things up and explore an interest?
It could be something you’ve kept on the back burner for a long time or something that just recently caught your attention.
Whatever it is, make time for it. Consider it a new addition to your life experiences.
It could become something more than that, but even if it doesn’t, just doing something you don’t normally do can help break up the figurative cement that’s been gathering around your ankles and dragging you down.
Break free of what’s normal for you, and do something outside of that — even if it’s also outside your comfort zone. Challenge yourself and see what happens.
It’s harder to feel worthless when you’re having fun.
7. Allow yourself to fail.
When you’re trying something new, failure is always a possibility. But not trying at all means there’s no possibility of succeeding.
Avoiding risk is avoiding growth. You need to fail sometimes to remind yourself that failure, by itself, doesn’t kill you or make you unworthy.
And it doesn’t make you “a failure.” It makes you someone who was courageous enough to act in spite of fear.
Think about the deserving person you want to be, and ask yourself, “Would that person hold back or jump in? Would they run from the risk of failure or run toward it?”
8. Practice self-control and self-discipline.
When you’re feeling low, it’s too easy to give in to temptation, thinking, “What does it even matter?” or “I just want to forget who and what I am for a little while. I don’t deserve anything good.”
But the consequences of self-indulgence then make you feel even worse. So, don’t give your inner fatalist what it wants.
Instead of diving headlong into the arms of oblivion, look for something you can do that makes you feel stronger and more useful — even if it’s just deciding to eat a healthy dinner, spending some time working out in a gym, or helping out a friend.
Practicing self-discipline reminds you of the person you still want to be (and who you really are) in spite of your negative thoughts.
Granted, you don’t have unlimited energy and it only makes sense to respect your limits — i.e. get enough sleep, give your body the nutrition it needs, etc.
But just doing at least one small thing each day and making a habit of it can help you slay those feelings of unworthiness. You can then add to that foundation or use it as a launchpad to a new experience that wakes you up to your true value.
9. Forgive yourself.
Lack of forgiveness is often at the root of feeling unworthy.
If you can’t forgive yourself for past failures and mistakes, if you blame yourself for not being perfect, then you remain stuck in an attitude of self-recrimination and shame.
Your failures and flaws become your identity — at least to you. And they drag you down further into negative mindset of low self-worth.
Refusing to forgive and accept yourself keeps you stuck in an attitude of resentment and bitterness.
However, you can always choose to embrace the truth of who and what you are. Allow yourself to be imperfect and to learn from your mistakes.
Forgiveness makes you stronger and improves your outlook on life, as well as your self-perception.
10. Do more of what you love.
When you’re doing something you enjoy — whether it’s a new thing or something you already know you’re good at — it’s harder to wallow in unworthiness.
Doing something you love might not wipe out your feelings of worthless and loneliness entirely, but it will bring a welcome change to your self-talk.
When you’re fully invested in doing something that you know you’re good at, you remember how good it feels and how accomplished you are in this area. You remember something you actually like about yourself.
Then hope gets a bigger foothold. You start to think maybe you’re not a lost cause after all. You can do good things. You are deserving.
Maybe you don’t do them perfectly, but you can learn to do them better. Because you’re still alive, and you want to make the most of what you do recognize as worthy about yourself.
Are you ready to learn how to feel worthy again?
Now that you know how to go about improving your self-worth and appreciating yourself more, what will you do today to change your attitude and lift yourself up.
Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. You can do plenty by exercising your own free will.
That said, these tips will be more effective if you spend more time with people who love you as you are, who forgive you your mistakes, and who support you in your efforts at self-improvement.
And it should go without saying that it’s best to avoid those who are critical, judgmental, and who only remind you of reasons not to like yourself.
These people are toxic, and you don’t have to keep subjecting yourself to their hate — let alone make it yours.
You can keep growing in a better direction if you want to. And you don’t have to do it alone.
May your courage, resilience, and thoughtfulness influence everything you do today.