Growing up with hardships can often leave us feeling unworthy and inadequate. It can be difficult to overcome these negative and damaging feelings, leaving us feeling trapped in a space of negativity and low self-esteem for many years.  I see people who have been trapped in this space for over 30 years, sometimes more, sometimes less. It is possible to break free from this cycle and regain a sense of worthiness, no matter how difficult the journey may be. By recognising the strength that comes from adversity and learning to love and value yourself, you can start to build a strong, positive sense of self-worth. Through cultivating resilience and understanding, you can take ownership of your story and create a life of worth, joy, and fulfilment.

What is the sense of unworthiness?

Self-worth is a sense that you are valuable, worthy, and deserving of love, acceptance, and appreciation. It is the experience of feeling worthy of being loved and valued. Self-worth is a learned sense of self-identity, identity based on the value you give to other people. It is a sense of your inherent value that comes from within, not externally from others.

Marilyn Monroe once said, “I need the whole world to love me because I can not myself”

Self-worth is a complex, but essential, human experience. It can be the source of much pain and suffering when we are trapped in a cycle of low self-esteem. It can also provide us with the confidence, strength, and energy we need to create a meaningful, fulfilling life. Low self-esteem can manifest in many ways: as feeling unworthy, inadequate, insecure, or unimportant. It can also manifest as low self-confidence, not feeling good enough, procrastination, or even a sense of hopelessness.

The impact of hardships during youth

Adversity when young can have a lasting impact on our self-worth and self-image. Often, when we are faced with troubles and problems as young people, we may feel powerless and overwhelmed.  When we feel powerless, we often feel that we couldn’t fix the problem, so that also translate to ‘ we are not good enough, because if we were good enough, we ought to have been able to fix it’, and then we repeat, over and over again until we believe it.    We create the story around what we believe from our lived experience rather than the rational truth around the event. The feeling of powerlessness can make us feel like we are to blame, which can create intense shame and guilt. Our shame and guilt can cause us to lose faith in ourselves, negatively impacting our self-confidence and self-worth. If we feel ashamed of our experiences, we may lose motivation to seek help and support. This can cause us to feel stuck in a cycle of shame and low self-esteem, perpetuating the cycle of unworthiness.

Recognizing the strength gained from adversity

When you have experienced hardships, you come out the other side with a slightly different perspective. No matter what hardships you have faced, you are a valuable person. You hold the strength and power to overcome them and create a new, more empowering life. When you have gone through adversity, you gain a different level of understanding and compassion. Rather than viewing yourself as weak or broken, you may see your experiences as a valuable opportunity to build a stronger, more resilient self. Rather than feeling shame and guilt for your current circumstances, you may view them as a sign of strength. Rather than feeling like a victim of circumstances, you can see yourself as an agent of change.

Taking ownership of your story

When we look closely at the events and experiences that have shaped us, we begin to recognize the strength behind them. Rather than feeling ashamed or guilty for your current circumstances, view them as a valuable opportunity to grow. Rather than feeling like a victim, take ownership of your story by examining what you can learn from it. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about others? By taking ownership of your story, you can begin to break the cycle of unworthiness, remembering that when you are young, we make the belief ourselves around the event that has happened, and usually it is not the truth, it is just your interpretation. Always remember, in fact, write it on your mirror and say this out loud to yourself everyday at least once, “I am enough” – why? because our mind learns by repitition, just as it did when you set your believe years ago.

Learning to love and value yourself

It can be difficult to view yourself in a positive light when years of conditioning have taught you that you are unworthy.

That’s why Margarita gets back to the root cause of what initiated this thought, and changes it around. 

It can be hard to believe that you are worthy of love and acceptance when you have felt this way for so long. However, self-worth comes from within, not from external sources. It is a sense that you have the capacity to be great and create significant change in your life. It is not based on what other people think of you, but on the truth that you hold within. You are worthy of love and appreciation because you are a valuable and special person, regardless of what has happened or what has been up to this point in your life. Self-love is a powerful tool for breaking the cycle of unworthiness. It is important to understand that loving yourself does not mean accepting yourself just as you are. It means recognising your worth, acceptance, and value. It means understanding that your worth does not come from what you have done in the past, but from who you are in the present moment.

Cultivating resilience and understanding

Understanding the psychology of self-worth can help you to cultivate resilience and strength, as you continue to face hardships and challenges throughout your life. Self-worth is not based on external sources, but on who you are as an individual. Therefore, self-worth is entirely dependent on what you do with your life. Understanding the power of self-worth and self-love is the first step towards reclaiming it. When you begin to shift your perspective and view yourself as valuable and worthy, you begin to notice that you are doing things differently. You begin to notice that you have more patience, compassion, motivation, and energy. You begin to notice that you are choosing to be proactive, rather than reactive. Understanding the cycle of unworthiness can help you to recognise the signs of trapped shame and guilt early on. By recognising these signs, you can take action to begin breaking the cycle.

Strategies for overcoming the sense of unworthiness

When you begin to reclaim your sense of self-worth, it is important to take action and put in the work necessary to build a strong, positive sense of self. There will be times when you feel like you are not worth the effort, but it is important to persevere and keep moving forward. – Recognise the signs of trapped shame and guilt – By recognising the signs early on, you can begin to break the cycle. – Be authentic – When you are authentic, you are truly experiencing your feelings, thoughts, and emotions. – Speak up – When you speak up for yourself, others are more likely to listen. – Take action – By taking action, you are living in the present moment and creating change. – Be proactive – When you are proactive, you are taking control of your life and leading an empowered life. – Notice your small victories – When you notice your small victories, you are more likely to see them as victories. – Take care of yourself – When you take care of yourself, you are more likely to be present for others and feel empowered and energetic. – Know your worth – When you know your worth, you are able to recognise when others are trying to put you down and maintain a positive attitude. – Remember to value yourself – Remember that your worth does not come from others, but from within.

Creating a life of worth, joy, and fulfilment

When you take the time to value and love yourself, it can make a significant difference in your life. It can help you to cultivate strength and resilience as you face challenges and hardships throughout your life. It can also help you to improve your self-esteem as you take action and make changes that are aligned with your authentic self. When you value yourself, you will be more likely to be kinder to yourself and make healthier decisions. You will also experience greater levels of joy as you create a life that is aligned with your authentic self. Self-worth is not something that can simply be bestowed upon you from above. It is something that must be cultivated and nurtured from within. When you take the time to value yourself, you will notice that you have more patience, compassion, motivation, and energy. You will also notice that you are choosing to be proactive, rather than reactive. Self-worth is not something that you will have at the end of your journey; it is something that you will experience every step of the way. It is something that you must cultivate and maintain throughout your life in order to experience joy, fulfilment, and a meaningful life


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