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Lack of Self-Worth

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In the simplest of terms: how does one get over a fear of positivity and goodness in one’ life? If I set out to achieve anything, internally I am self-destructing, though externally I am fairly successful in what I can manage to convince myself to try. People suggest meditation or mantras or positive thinking, but all these will cause me to panic. Kind words, kind thoughts…all of it feels like a trap, a setup, a lie. I want to change my negative thought processes, but the starting bar of “tell yourself it will be a good day”or whatever variant might as well as be the same as telling a beginning instrumentalist to play the whole range of their instrument right off. Doesn’t matter if I technically know how to, the attempt is discord and sometimes painful to hear. What are some smaller steps I can look into or research?

Lack of Self-Worth

Answered by on -


There seems to be a discrepancy between the objective aspects of your life and your subjective opinion of yourself. You stated that you are “fairly successful in what I can manage to convince myself to try.” I take this to mean that even though you have an internal negative dialogue, essentially telling you that you’re no good, it doesn’t hold you back from trying new things and when you do, you tend to succeed. You seem to have the desire to succeed, the drive and the motivation to do so, and it doesn’t necessarily hold you back. What seems to be the problem, is your negative internal dialogue.

If I have correctly identified the problem, it would suggest that you are struggling to see reality clearly. It could be that you are simply unable to see it or you are stubbornly refusing to see it. If you are succeeding objectively, then the evidence indicates that your negative internal dialogue is wrong. You may be guilty of allowing yourself to believe in things that are not real or true. You should not allow yourself to do that. It’s a matter of forcing yourself to believe in objective reality.

Incorrect thinking can lead to misjudgments and mistakes. Mistakes can be costly and cause a great deal of distress in one’s life. It’s important that you come to the correct conclusions. If objectively you are successful, then your thoughts about yourself should be in line with the objective reality.

You might consider reading Abraham Maslow’s book about self-actualization. He writes about the importance of being correct in one’s thinking. Pay special attention to his characteristics of self-actualizing individuals. You might find it very useful in attempting to correct your thinking.

In one instance, he quotes an English psychoanalyst, who says that “the neurotic is not emotionally sick he is cognitively wrong.” Neurotic is an older term that was often used to describe individuals who were stressed, anxious, or had low self-worth. Individuals who were previously labeled as neurotic might, in more modern times, be diagnosed with anxiety or depression. “Cognitively wrong” indicates incorrect thinking, not perceiving the world accurately or as it is. Individuals who are cognitively wrong are making misjudgments about reality and are likely feeling distressed because of it. Perhaps you are guilty of misjudging reality. Objectively, you seem to be doing well but cognitively, you are judging yourself harshly. Your subjective view of yourself does not seem to align with objective reality. The solution to this misalignment is correcting your thinking to be in line with reality.

You are an ideal candidate for counseling. This is exactly the type of problem frequently dealt with in a counseling setting. Research could help as well but counseling might be what you need to properly realign your thinking in an expeditious fashion. Good luck and please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Lack of Self-Worth

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). Lack of Self-Worth. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Jan 2020 (Originally: 20 Jan 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 Jan 2020
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