Yesterday I wrote about when you first learned that you were unworthy. Today, let’s explore self-worth even further. Because it can explain a lot. Maybe it can even explain everything. Because how we think and feel about ourselves and our value influences the decisions we make, the actions we take, the habits we practice, the people we surround ourselves with, the way we structure our days, the way we care for ourselves.

Below are questions to explore on paper (or talk about with someone else, if you like), which cover everything from how others treat you to whether you believe you deserve self-care to when you feel best (and worst) about yourself:

  • When you think about how you feel about yourself, what words come to mind?
  • Do you feel you need to earn people’s respect and love?
  • How do you think you need to earn them?
  • Do you believe that being productive increases your self-worth?
  • Do you think you need to be a certain weight to be worthy of another person’s love?
  • How do the people in your inner circle treat you?
  • Do they support you? How so?
  • Do you feel good when you’re around them?
  • What happens when you set a boundary with these individuals? When you say no? When you ask for help?
  • What words describe how your romantic partners have treated you?
  • How did you feel in these relationships throughout the years?
  • What does a healthy romantic relationship look like to you?
  • What do you see when you look in the mirror?
  • What do you do when someone gives you a compliment?
  • Are you able to forgive yourself when you make a mistake or have a “lazy” day?
  • Do you think you’re worthy of love?
  • When do you feel the best about yourself?
  • When do you feel the worst about yourself?
  • Do you think you deserve to practice self-care? Only after you’ve checked off your to-do list? Or maybe never?

Try to respond to each question as honestly as you can. There are no right or wrong, good or bad answers. The intention is to connect to how you feel about yourself. Once you’ve made this connection, you might start making other connections. You might connect the dots of different relationships, which have affected how you treat yourself today. Relationships with people who didn’t respect you, relationships that colored your own negative feelings about yourself.

When you’re able to connect the dots, you’re able to make better decisions for yourself. You’re able to create a life that you want, that you love. A life of meaning and fulfillment. Self-awareness, self-reflection, self-discovery—whatever you call it—is that powerful.

Photo by Ales Krivec.