Working On Worth

By Amy Brightman, LCSW

Guilt, inadequacy and humiliation are all-powerful, uncomfortable emotions that are part of an overall sense of shame. Many people want to get rid of shame, and sometimes when we want to get “rid” of something, it can actually be helpful to ask yourself, “What can I add?” You can think of it as similar to dieting. For example, if you want to reduce your carb intake, you may want to plan what you will eat instead.  I like to think of shame in the same way. So instead of cutting down on shame, think about what you can develop. And self-worth can be a great place to start. 

Developing a Sense of Self-Worth
Self-worth includes a realistic view of oneself, that truly acknowledges your strengths and accomplishments. Self-worth incorporates self-esteem, confidence and having a sense of your own value. It is being able to reduce how much weight you give to approval from others and increase approval from yourself. 

Why Self-Worth?
So what is the motivation to work on developing self-worth? Increasing your self-worth can positively improve your well-being and health. As you build confidence and value in yourself, you are likely to invest in things that are good for you. Worth can also improve the way you interact with others and improve your social life by reducing the pressure you put on receiving approval from others.

I encourage you to think about how you can build a foundation of self-worth to tackle your shaming voice. Below are some ideas:

  • Take care of yourself
  • Respect yourself
  • Don’t let others disrespect you
  • Remember that you deserve to be happy
  • Believe in yourself
  • Reinforce healthy and helpful thinking
  • Invest in yourself
  • Be there for others and yourself
  • Accept yourself
  • Exercise your abilities

How would you practice these suggestions?

Amy Brightman, LCSW is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy.  If you are looking for support with developing self-worth, visit to learn how therapy might be able to help.