Self-worth influences our decision-making, relationships, emotional health, and well-being. It also affects motivation because people with a healthy, optimistic view of themselves know what they are capable of and are more likely to take on new tasks. Positive self-worth is important for our mental health and motivation. If we don't have it, we're likely to feel unfulfilled.
A strong sense of self-worth is crucial for psychological survival.
A harsh inner critic is extremely damaging to our sense of self.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches ways to improve self-worth by recognizing the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Consistently practicing CBT techniques results in higher self-worth and increased motivation.
The importance of positive self-worth
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “self-worth” as “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect."
Self-criticism and self-rejection, which can be very harmful, can lead to low self-esteem and a lack of motivation. This can create difficulties in friendships and intimate relationships. Additionally, it can severely hinder academic and professional performance and increase the likelihood of drug and alcohol misuse.
A person with a strong sense of self-worth accepts responsibility for their mistakes or failures but does not judge themselves for making them. For example, when a career move doesn’t go their way, they say, "That job was a disaster," rather than, "I am a disaster." They apologize when necessary and do everything in their power to make things right.
How to boost self-worth
There are steps you can take to boost your self-worth and guarantee that you treat yourself with the respect and love you deserve as a complete, wonderful human being.
To appreciate your worth, remind yourself that:
- It is not your responsibility to please others.
- You are solely responsible for how you feel about yourself, regardless of what others do or say or what occurs outside your control.
- You have the power to respond to events and circumstances based on your internal resources and resilience, which are a reflection of your true value.
- Your worth comes from inside, from an internal standard you've established for yourself.
The power of CBT
Cognitive behavioral therapy offers outstanding tools and techniques to aid you in your personal growth. Some of these approaches work better in a therapist-client environment, while others work well in solo or "self-help" circumstances.
Cognitive behavioral therapy provides a rapid solution for changing one's behavioral traits, conscious and unconscious beliefs, attitudes, and thoughts that create significant difficulties.
10 CBT techniques
1. Cognitive restructuring – deconstructing cognitive distortions
Cognitive distortions are ways of thinking that lead us to believe something is true even though, in reality, it is not. Through cognitive restructuring, you can find the mistakes in your thinking that hold you back. Then, it helps to look into where these patterns of distortion come from to find new ways to fix them.
You can challenge a belief by asking yourself the following questions:
- Can I find a good reason for believing this?
- Do these ideas make sense? Am I being irrational?
- What proof is there that this belief is wrong?
- What are the worst things that could happen?
2. The SOLVED technique
This technique is used to learn new problem-solving skills. Structured problem-solving is a critical skill to develop. The acronym SOLVED offers a tangible, memorable tool for working through the problem-solving steps.
S: Select an issue you want to solve.
O: Open your mind and brainstorm all potential solutions.
L: List the potential advantages and disadvantages of each potential solution.
V: Verify the optimal solution; decide which choices are practical or desirable.
E: Enact the plan.
D: Decide if the plan worked.
3. The ‘pie’ technique
The "pie" technique is based on a simple pie chart and lets you see your goals and ideas graphically. The "pie" method can be used to set goals and decide timeframes. Simply divide each idea or goal into sections based on how important you think it is.
4. Graded exposure technique
Graded exposure helps you gain insight into what causes anxiety and avoidance. Fear and worry lower esteem, productivity, and motivation.
Systematic exposure can help you overcome such anxieties. It has a 90% success rate in therapy.
It involves making a list of things you usually try to avoid, i.e., a person with severe social anxiety that causes them to miss work. Gradual exposure helps you determine your anxiety level in various scenarios, then rank them according to how terrible they are. This strategy assists you in identifying your most upsetting experiences and prioritizes them.
In CBT, homework is a very important part of the process. Using what you are learning and practicing the new skills is important. This improves treatment adherence and reduces symptoms.
6. Mood tracking
Tracking your mood helps you learn how to control yourself, which helps you stay emotionally healthy. Therefore, if you track your mood over time, you can see how well you're managing it. It's the most important sign of how well you're reaching your goals. A mood tracker can go on a page in your planner or pocket journal. It lets you keep track of how you’re feeling.
7. Thought reframing
It is easy to slip into typical negative thought habits. Reframing is one approach to fighting negative thinking. Reframing is replacing negative thoughts as soon as they come up with creative, positive ones.
8. Thought records
Thought records are intended to evaluate the veracity of our ideas. When we write down our thoughts accurately, we can see if there is evidence for or against a certain way of thinking. Is it true or false in this situation? Thought records help us develop a more logical way of thinking based on facts rather than feelings.
9. Behavioral experiments
Behavioral experiments are the foundation of CBT. These experiments aim to look at how you think and find patterns of thinking that negatively affect your behavior.
By "trying out" different ways of thinking and observing what happens, you learn more about the thought patterns that may be stopping you from reaching your goals.
10. Mindfulness meditation
Meditation increases attention and imbues the mind with clarity. It is a novel CBT strategy for healing and relaxing the mind. The Buddhist practice of mindfulness meditation is an age-old method for training the mind to persevere in the face of adversity.
To improve a sense of self-worth, it is necessary to correct the faulty thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that contribute to low motivation and confidence. When using these 10 CBT strategies consistently, a person's sense of self-worth and motivation improves dramatically.