An important part of what fuels addiction is a lack of self-worth. If we don’t know who we are, we don’t know how to treat ourselves, and we can’t see another for who they are. We’ve been told about how important self-esteem and self-worth is, but not how to build them.
Self-Esteem: how you feel about yourself based on your actions. It’s what you have control over and how you feel about yourself from the inside/out.
For example: When you feel good, when you drive a nice clean car and when bills are paid.
Self-Worth: related to your identity, your sense of self, your overall feeling of importance and value in this world.
For example: When all of those things listed above are gone—self-worth keeps us away from doing those things to get that car back (lying, stealing, committing crimes)
It is common to think you’re good at something, yet still not feel convinced that you are lovable and worthy. Self-esteem doesn’t last or “work” without self-worth. While self-esteem is geared towards doing vs. self-worth is more about being. Both have tremendous value and serve a purpose in your life.
How to Improve Self-Esteem and Self-Worth
- Set Goals
When we accomplish small tasks, we build momentum to gain more confidence in our abilities. By setting goals that are clear and actionable, you have a clear target of where you want to be. Each completed task is a building block for overcoming life’s challenges and accomplishing larger tasks.
For example: clean your desk, organize your papers, or pay your bills.
- Use healthy motivation habits
Identify and challenge any negative thoughts that you may have about yourself, such as “I never do anything right,” or “I’m not worth sobriety.” If you can change your mindset and how you talk to yourself, you will experience immediate changes in your life.
- Eat healthy
Eat good food as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Turn off the TV or radio, set the table, and take time eating and savoring each bite. By practicing a routine, you are practicing mindfulness or becoming aware of your surroundings. Focusing on what nourishes your mind, body and soul increase the positive feelings you have towards yourself.
- Be kinder towards other people
When you are kinder towards others you tend to treat and think of yourself in a kinder way too.
For example: Hold the door for the next person, encourage a friend or family member when they are uncertain or unmotivated, or help another person struggling with addiction by listening to them vent or by taking them to a meeting.