“Your problem is you’re … too busy holding onto your unworthiness.” – Ram Dass

If you’re sitting around feeling like you really don’t measure up, know that it’s not all that uncommon to experience a feeling of unworthiness on occasion.

For some, this occurs when trying to measure up to the unrealistic expectations others have for us. For many of us, however, we most feel unworthy when we are overwhelmed by an intense emotional feeling for one person and, due to a variety of reasons, feel that we just aren’t worthy of that person’s love and affection, if not respect or admiration.

The truth is that holding onto such negative emotion is completely counter-productive. Not only does it do nothing in the moment to change anything, it also has a cumulative negative effect on the body and the mind. The more you believe you are unworthy, the less you think of yourself. Consequently, you fail to take actions you might otherwise engage in, neglect relationships because of fear, shame or guilt, and internalize all this negativity to the point where your body suffers real medical as well as psychological consequences.

Consider the fact that everyone experiences unworthiness at one point or another. So, it isn’t the feeling of being unworthy that should cause concern but the inability to deal with such feelings when they do occur.

No one is perfect. No matter who you are or what you’ve achieved in life in terms of financial gain, prestige, fame, celebrity, number of friends, or material possessions, sometime you’re going to feel inadequate. What can you do to get past this decidedly uncomfortable and potentially debilitating feeling?

Acknowledge the emotion you feel

Before you can attack the problem of unworthiness, you need to give it a name. Acknowledge that what you feel, this sometimes-crippling emotion, is unworthiness. Remember, though, that acknowledging an emotion isn’t giving in to it. On the contrary, once you identify and acknowledge the emotion, you can then take steps to move beyond it. Furthermore, when you acknowledge unworthiness or feeling unworthy, it no longer has any power over you.

Have a plan

Give yourself a leg up by doing a little preparation. Figure out ahead of time what steps you can take to move past the fear and the negative emotion and onto doing something constructive and proactive. This may feel awkward at first. You might be tempted to forget your resolve or distract yourself with other activities. Don’t. To be successful in any endeavor takes planning — and a workable plan.

Get help from your friends

Another proactive approach is to enlist the help of your friends, loved ones and allies. Listen to the suggestions of others and mull them over with what you know you’re capable of. Construct a plan of action, along with contingency approaches, identify your resources, lay out a timetable, and get to work. Be sure to circle back to your network of friends, loved ones and allies from time to time to check in with your progress, receive additional emotional support and encouragement, and share any success stories resulting from your efforts.

Vow to do your best at everything you do

Instead of wallowing in the feeling of being unworthy, show yourself your worth by working to the best of your ability at something, anything. Put all you have into the effort and you will be surprised and pleased by the results. Gradually working to chip away at the negativity caused by feeling unworthy, you’ll find that you no longer feel this way after all.

Be justifiably proud of your talents and strengths

Everyone has things they’re good at and confident doing. When thoughts of unworthiness creep into the mix, however, all that competence and proficiency tend to disappear. It’s important to remind yourself, and take justifiable pride in, your talents and strengths. These will go a long way toward helping you restore and rebuild your self-worth.

Let go of feeling unworthy to feel worthy again — first and foremost to yourself and then to others.