Where Do Feelings Of Worthlessness Come From, And How Can I Overcome Them?

Updated August 16, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

If you are struggling with feelings of worthlessness, you are not alone. Many people may experience these feelings at some point in their lives. The good news is there are several things you can do to overcome these feelings and reclaim a sense of worthiness.

Where Do Feelings Of Worthlessness Come From?

The first step toward learning how to overcome these feelings may be understanding where they come from.

Sometimes, these feelings can be a result of adverse experiences from childhood. As we grow up, we can be influenced by external factors such as our environment and relationships. When trauma or mistreatment occurs, it can result in mental health difficulties.

Do You Want To Reclaim Feelings Of Worth?

Although you don't have control over past events, you may have agency over your future. Even if something happened to you during your formative years, any adverse effects could be healed and released. 

On the other hand, many people who had wonderful childhoods can still experience feelings of worthlessness. Challenging experiences as an adult, such as negative relationships or financial difficulties, can also result in these feelings. 

A shift in behavior can have a significant impact on rewiring a feeling of worthlessness into a feeling of worthiness. While this may be easier said than done, it can be an essential step toward growth. Improving self-esteem can even have an impact on our future relationships. We have the opportunity to evolve into better people than we were yesterday, and small steps today can make all of the difference. 

Give Yourself Credit

If you are affected by feelings of low self-worth, make sure you are giving yourself enough credit! Remind yourself that you are worthy just by being you. Celebrating small victories can help you reclaim the sense of worthiness that you are capable of accessing once again. Remember that feelings of unworthiness may have been built over many years, so releasing them may take some time as well. Baby steps forward and small changes can be a huge win! Small actions and small celebrations can encourage meaningful growth.

While growing can take time and require dedication, celebrating these short-term goals can keep your morale high. Then, if you hit a bump in the road, you can navigate it with more ease every time. Through practice and mindful commitment to yourself, long-lasting change is well within reach. 

Lend A Hand In Your Community

The best way to tap back into a feeling of worthiness can be through service to others. If you feel unworthy or like you don't have a place in this world, community service might be an answer.

When you give yourself a job to do that helps others, you can discover purpose. You can feel proud of the things you are doing. Additionally, when you see the positive impact on others of the things you do, you may begin to have feelings of pride and purpose.

A community-based sense of purpose can promote feelings of worthiness. Your work can have an impact on others as well as on yourself. You can make a difference in your community and the world. Through actions that serve a greater purpose, you can be reminded of your own worthiness. 

Try Daily Affirmations

The internal dialogue running through your mind can offer a lot of insight into your current set of beliefs about yourself and the world. It can be quite natural to have some negative thoughts. Automatic negative thinking or internalized negative beliefs can be addressed with intention. Pause throughout the day to bring awareness to your thoughts. If you are putting yourself down and being overly critical, this could be contributing to feelings of low self-worth. 

Practicing daily affirmations can help rewire new belief systems. Affirmations are positive words and thoughts that we can give ourselves. These can be worked into your day in a multitude of ways:

  • Try practicing your affirmations at the beginning of each day. As you are preparing for the day, look in the mirror. Choose three things about yourself or your actions that you can view as worthy. You might recognize the heart of gold that your best friend points out in you. You might also recognize things you do that positively impact others. Show appreciation and validate the presence of these qualities or actions in your life.
  • If you find you are thinking negatively about yourself throughout the day, take a moment to recognize those thoughts. Even though you are experiencing these thoughts, these thoughts are not you. If they are not you, then you get to decide which thoughts you want to think about yourself. 
    • For example, if you think that you don't contribute much to the world, stop for a moment. Recognize this thought, and name three things you do that contribute to the world around you. These don't have to be elaborate or meaningful to anyone but you. The important thing is that you bring awareness to these negative thoughts and counter them with new beliefs.

With some time, these methods can come naturally to you. If you continue to use them, you may find yourself using self-affirmations with little effort. This can improve your overall self-esteem and even make you happier.

Find Peace With Your Past

Do You Want To Reclaim Feelings Of Worth?

If past experiences are causing your feelings of worthlessness, face them head-on. You don’t need to do this alone. As long as you are harboring negativity surrounding these events, your progress can be stunted.

The first step to healing may be forgiveness. You might need to make amends in your heart and extend grace to someone who perhaps doesn't deserve it. The most important thing to remember is you are doing this for yourself. The fact that someone else must be forgiven can sometimes be difficult, but ultimately, it is necessary.

On the other hand, you may need to forgive yourself. Sometimes, we have done things in the past that we are not proud of. This can cause a sense of low self-esteem, which can contribute to feelings of worthlessness. You may need to come face-to-face with the demons in your past and lay them to rest. If you allow negativity to fester inside, you might get negativity back.

Finding peace with your past can be one of the cornerstones of overcoming your feelings of low self-worth. This may not always be an easy path to walk, but it can be completely worth it. You deserve to feel worthy and have freedom from guilt surrounding things you cannot change.

Get Your Body Moving

Exercise not only makes for a healthy body but can also make for a healthy mind. When you exercise, endorphins are released into your brain—these can work to counteract chemicals that can cause negative or sad feelings.

Many people may feel hesitant to begin exercise because it can sound like hard work. In some situations, it can be. It is all about how you put the work in. If you are the type of person who likes high-impact exercises, you can do that. On the other hand, if you would rather be relaxed, you could do low-impact walking or jogging. Yoga or swimming are some other examples of activities you might enjoy doing. These can all have the benefit of being good for the body and the mind.

Make sure that you are setting aside at least thirty minutes a day to dedicate to this. Ideally, you may want this to become a part of your routine. This can ensure that you take advantage of the full benefits that exercise can offer. If you approach it with intention and a positive mindset, you can expect the results to exceed your expectations!

Have Gratitude

If you can learn to be thankful for the things you have, you can get a new lease on life in return. Look around you and find things you can be thankful for in your life.

This may be one of the easiest things you can implement to conquer feeling worthless. Even if you don't realize it, your life is filled with things that can be appreciated. Sometimes, all it takes is recognition of these things to feel better.

Sit down and make a list of all the things you are thankful for. You might even consider starting a journal that you can dedicate to doing this every day. The important thing is that you are constantly reminding yourself of the positivity in your life.

When you recognize the things you have to be grateful for, the negative thinking may begin to fall away. You can find new meaning in your life and move forward to a brighter, happier future.


If you feel you have tried everything and aren't getting the results you’re seeking, asking for help can be a great option. A trained counselor or therapist could help you navigate through this.

The therapists at Regain are trained and well-equipped to help you. The best thing about Regain is its convenience. Their therapists are fully certified and have thousands of hours of experience helping people just like you. In fact, surveys and studies have repeatedly found that online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy. Online therapy also comes with added perks like its affordability and convenience.

Many people have shown great success in increasing self-esteem with therapy. You deserve to give that to yourself! Reach out and ask for help when you need it.

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