Today, I will be explaining how having a low self-worth is not your fault.
Not your fault at all!
But, even though it’s not your fault, it is still your responsibility to improve it…
(I know, life isn’t fair, right?)
But don’t worry I will be explaining everything (including how to fix your low self-worth in this post!)
Quick disclaimer: If you have mental health issues or think you have mental health issues, definitely, definitely, definitely make sure you are seeing a medical professional or your doctor.
It’s so important that you get their input, help, and advice.
Why a low self-worth is not our fault…
When we think less of ourselves or think we have low worth, we often get into the habit of blaming everything on ourselves.
You might have heard yourself thinking or saying, “Oh, it’s my fault I’m so stupid.” Or, “Oh, it’s my fault, I should have known…”
It’s so easy when we think less of ourselves or don’t think we’re worthy to just blame another thing on ourselves.
But I promise you, no matter how little you think of yourself right now, your low self-worth is not your fault!
Because I’ve identified four main reasons that are the real culprits behind your low self-worth…
And now I’m going to take you through each one so you can see which are applicable to you!
Reason One – Your Childhood
Your childhood and adolescence can easily be one of the causes of low self-worth.
That doesn’t mean you have to have had a horrible childhood or anything like that.
Not at all!
It’s just that the things we learn in our childhood tend to cement and stick in our mind as beliefs about the world.
And so if we learn things like that we’re worthless or that our worth depends on our accomplishments, beauty, popularity, etc… Then that can be a huge contributor to low self-worth.
We can learn these beliefs from our parents, close family, friends, teachers, mentors, and any other key adult-type figures in our lives.
That can even include things like television, media and social media if they were a big part of your childhood and teenage years.
While I did say earlier that you don’t have to have had a “bad” childhood to mean it negatively affect your self-worth. Obviously, having bad childhood and teenage years can definitely contribute to a low self-worth.
For example, if you were constantly told you were worthless as a child you would likely grow up believing that. Which could easily be extremely negative for your self-worth!
But even if you had a great childhood, or a normal childhood, it can still creep in and negatively affect your self-worth…
For example, it could be that your parents were very much of the belief that your accomplishments make you worthy. They might not have meant that in a horrible way, that might just have been how they were brought up themselves.
So they encouraged you to get good grades, encouraged you to go to university, all that sort of stuff. Things that are normal for a parent to do, but that can also help to cement in your head that what’s important is the accomplishments, not you.
That you, as a little bubble, are not the worthy part.
And even if your parents didn’t believe or push that, it’s really easy to slip into that mindset because you hear it a lot from teachers as well.
It’s so important for teachers to get their kids to have good grades because that’s how they know they’re doing a good job. Plus, a lot of the schools have grade targets and the teachers themselves can lose their job if they don’t hit those targets.
So, through no fault of their own, teachers have to drill this into you. That you must accomplish the next thing, the next grade and do well in the next test, which, again, teaches you that your self-worth is hinging on your accomplishments.
So have a little think about your childhood, and notice if there’s anything that jumps out at you that might be related to your low self-worth…
Reason Two – Trauma and Abuse
The next main things that can cause a lot of low self-worth issues is trauma and abuse.
I don’t think anyone will shocked to hear that…
As I touched on earlier, if someone’s repeatedly telling you you’re worthless, ugly, useless, stupid, or anything like that, your brain will start to believe it. And you’re then more likely to pull that false information into adulthood with you which can be so harmful to your mental health.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about trauma and abuse because these are really serious topics that I feel are better dealt with by a therapist or similar health professional.
But what I do want to say is that all traumas and any abuse is relevant. You are allowed to feel upset and have emotions about it.
If something has affected you or feels like it may have affected you please don’t discount it. For example, I know a lot of people discount a trauma like bullying because so many kids get bullied…
But just because it happens to lots of people or wasn’t a severe case, it still does count and can be a defining reason of why you have low self-worth.
Like I said, you’re allowed to feel upset and have emotions about anything like that. And you deserve to speak to a professional about it and to get help on working through and dealing with those experiences.
Reason Three – Societal Expectations
Our society tends to value people’s accomplishments rather than the person itself.
Similar to how our schooling seems to be more concerned with our grades than us as individuals.
In part this is because our society is based on money, so money is like the ultimate accomplishment. And so accomplishments associated with more money are often viewed as the best kind of accomplishments…
And the more money you’ve got, the higher up the pecking order you tend to be…
It might not be immediately obvious the direct impact these things have on your self-worth, but they do.
Because the way our society works is it’s just gently chugging along in the background reinforcing that unless you are doing something, accomplishing something, being the prettiest, being the richest, living the perfect American dream, etc, etc. Then what you’re doing isn’t good enough…
We’re taught we should grow up, get good grades, get a good job, get a house, get married, have kids, retire and then go on lots of cruises.
All these things that society suggests are like these gentle expectations on us.
They will impact our worth, especially if we don’t fall in line with these societal expectations.
If, naturally, what you want to do and what you love doing is that “perfect” life. Then societal expectations are probably going to affect you less than someone who doesn’t want to live the standard American dream…
(And to be clear, if what you love and want to do is the classic, “perfect” American dream then that’s totally okay and amazing! I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was suggesting that that was a bad path or anything like that. It’s an amazing path as long as its what YOU want and makes YOU happy!)
But if you’re someone whose values and traits are not those society values as much then you can easily start to feel less-than.
And when you start to pull away from what society expects, and want something different for yourself, it can make you question if there is something wrong with you… That if you can’t achieve that, then what’s the point of you and are you even worthy?
Which of course, when you write it out like that makes it clear that no, of course that doesn’t make you unworthy. But that constant background society’s expectations, when you’re even slightly going against the grain, can seriously affect your self-worth.
And even if you’re everything that society wants, that can still leave you feeling less than because you might not feel “perfect” enough (if that makes sense…)
This expectation can hurt us all no matter what we want for ourselves.
So society expectation is a really key part of what could be impacting your self-worth, but it’s also a really huge subject and there’s lots of nuances. Plus, it will affect you very differently depending on your lived experiences.
But while it might affect everyone differently, it will have an impact somewhere on your self-worth.
Reason Four – Media and Social Media
The fourth and final reason that could be affecting your self-worth through no fault of your own is the media and social media.
Most of us have at least one, if not three or four social media accounts. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok… The list goes on and on.
Then you’ve also got things like television, magazines, the radio, etc…
When you combine all these medias, that is A LOT of information and opinions being thrown at us almost constantly!
And most of these medias are pushing ideals for us to aspire to…
These ideals are similar but not necessarily the same as societal expectations.
For example, there was a big trend on Instagram for van life, where people would post wonderful pictures of themselves traveling around the world while living in vans.
It all looked incredible and would make you feel like you *should* want to live in a van too, and that your life was pretty mundane if you weren’t doing something so exciting…
And so the medias act in a very similar way to societal expectations (although they’re a lot less gentle) in that they push a trend or an ideal for you to live up to.
I don’t think anyone can deny that if you’re scrolling through pages and pages of Instagram of beautiful people doing amazing, cool stuff that you’re going feel a bit rubbish about yourself…
That’s why social media has such a bad name, because it’s so easy to feel bad about yourself…
And it’s also so hard to remember that social media is a highlight reel.
I mean, how many of us post a picture of ourselves slobbed out on the sofa watching Netflix? No. We put a picture of ourselves on holiday or doing something amazing.
But, obviously, you tend to be scrolling on social media or consuming media when you’re not doing those amazing things.
It’s when you’re sat slobbed down on the sofa that you’re on your phone…
It’s not when you’re on an amazing beach in Bali because then you’re on the beach. You’re enjoying the beach, and if you scrolled on your phone then, it wouldn’t actually be that interesting because you’re on a beach in Bali!!
Do you see what I mean?
So you see all these these perfect, beautiful images all the medias throw at you when you’re not at your very best and (unsurprisingly) it can make you feel less-than.
And that’s so normal, and especially because things like television is so unrealistic…
I personally love action, fantasy, sci-fi type television shows and there’s lots of cool fight scenes in those sorts of programmes. But the women in these shows have perfect makeup, they’re in heels, maybe even in a bikini and it’s frankly ridiculous!
Who would really have a successful fight in a bikini and heels, while their hair and makeup stayed beautiful…
If I just walk out to the next room my hair turns into a bush!
It’s not realistic, but it’s so easy to get stuck in your head that that’s what you need to become, that’s what you should be. And it’s also easy for people to put that expectation on you without even meaning to because they’re used to seeing it too.
So that’s where social media and the media in general can really, really pull down your self-worth.
Because they are constantly showing a level of perfection that you’re both meant to aspire to, but is also completely unattainable!
No wonder you’re not feeling great about yourself!
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So how do I fix my low self-worth now I know what’s behind it?
Those are the four main reasons that we can have really low self-worth without it being anywhere close to our fault.
However, now we’re aware of these things it does become our responsibility to deal with them.
In the same way that if you’re an adult and you choose to drink alcohol, it’s your responsibility to make sure you can get home from the bar without drink driving…
So now you’re aware of these things, it’s time to put things in place to keep your self-worth safe from further harm and improve it to a healthy level!
Luckily, I’ve already done a blog post on this, so that makes it super easy for you!
In this post (that you can read here) I go through eight really simple daily actions you can do that will build your self-worth and negate those four things that happen in the background bringing your self-worth down!
Plus, I also made a FREE, printable checklist that you can download that list those actions on it. So you can print that out and have it to hand so it just reminds you to do those actions each day!
Just click the button below to download that checklist for FREE!