What is self-worth and how can you build it?

12 October, 2022 / words by IALH Editorial Team

Written by Cloé Vaz-Wiggins

Image by @theestallion

In my opinion, and I hope yours too, valuing ourselves has become one of the most important ‘self’ concepts in a society that has almost succeeded in making so many of us believe that our value is determined by other people and external factors.

It is not. Your self-worth is based on what YOU think of YOU and not what other people think of you.

For that reason, its extremely important that you are clear on this.

What do you think of yourself and do you feel worthy, valuable?

And, is what you think of yourself consistent? Steady? Unwavering? And unlikely to change despite your flaws, challenging seasons that are sure to come, and toxic people or relationships that will try to put that in question?

It is important to be clear, it is important that you are clear.

Because we all have our moments, we all have seasons where we’re harder on ourselves and we all, will be tested at some point. But knowing that you deserve all of the good things is important, being sure that you deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, compassion and love is important and that starts with you. You knowing that and giving it to yourself first, is important and should truly be top of your list.

Building or rebuilding your self-worth will take a lot of work, a lot of reflection, accountability, honesty and courage. You have to take inventory and gain clarity on how people or external factors affect how you truly feel about yourself.

A good suggestion on where to start would be to answer this: If everything was taken away, all of the material things, your bags, shoes, your work, your titles, what other people say, your social media profiles, would you still view yourself the same way?

You have to be honest, if everything was gone, do you still consider yourself worthy? Are you still valuable? And are you still willing and able?

Answering this question or similar questions can help you determine where you stand and mostly gain insight on what you truly value within yourself. It can also help you gauge where you stand in terms of your confidence and how those two are intertwined.

You see, our self-worth and self-confidence are connected and one is not synonymous with the other. Because in truth, we can have a high amount of self-worth but have low self-confidence in certain areas, like certain activities or skills that we feel we haven’t mastered to our highest potential. Granted a higher self-worth is likely to give you more confidence in believing you can handle everything that may come your way even if you’re not the most confident in certain areas. In turn, lower self-worth may make it harder to build that confidence because deep down you don’t believe you can achieve, handle or are worthy of whatever the specific topic, situation or goal at end.

To no surprise and like most things in our self-improvement journey and yes you know what I’m about to say. 

It takes work! You have to put in the work.

You have to nurture and practice, practice and nurture and keep repeating it until that’s second nature.

The habits, rituals or exercises that bring out the best in you and make you believe and feel capable of anything usually have one thing in common even when they look different from one person to the next. They all release those magical ‘happy hormones’ – serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin.

So, when finding your flow, creating your rituals and working on building your confidence and feeling your best, maybe consider this in discovering which healthy and sustainable activities, habits and exercises you can implement in your lifestyle.

For reference:



Spend time in nature

Practise gratitude



Listen to music

Vitamin D








Cuddle, hug and kiss 

Do your own research also, it’s fascinating to see the common threads and the simplicity of the things that truly benefit us. And most of them we all know, but somehow, they fall down our priority list, we label them boring, repetitive, not cool, not fun, silly and so on.

But things like meditation, journaling, affirmations, eating healthy and balanced meals, sleeping well and moving your body in whichever way are simply key.

How you build upon your confidence and/or your sense of self-worth is to the core by choosing, pouring into and taking the best care of yourself.

By choosing to speak to yourself in a manner that is motivating, kind, loving and inspiring and with no exceptions, not even when you’re ‘joking’ or say it wasn’t serious but still called yourself stupid, or fat, or dumb. Don’t, not even joking.

It’s about what you choose to consume, what you watch, the people you spend time with and the people you follow. It’s about your habits and your routines, the little things you do every day without thinking that may not be adding at all to your life and where you want to go. It has to do with the practises and rituals you put in place to enhance and harness your confidence and sense of worthiness.

It’s about discipline and accountability, it’s about you taking responsibility for where you are and where you want to be despite anything external.

In the beginning, middle and end it’s about YOU. It’s all down to you, having the unapologetic and unwavering will to commit to yourself, choose yourself and put the effort in for yourself until you’re at the place you want to be in.

I would end with the reminder that, yes, it won’t be easy, but at this point I think more valuable is to reframe that, after all, what does easy and hard really mean? 

Easy comes and easy goes, hard goes and hard comes and through it all, you learn, you grow and you gain the confidence to do it all over again. 


IALH Editorial Team


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