You’re having one of those days or weeks. Nothing seems to be working, your motivation is all gone, and you’re daydreaming about quitting. Your confidence is running empty and you’re feeling worthless.
Breathe, because we’ve all been there. Furthermore, I want to remind you that a high growth lifestyle comes with vulnerable emotions. You feeling this way does not say anything about your character or capability.
A study by Harvard Business Review surveyed CEOs at the top of their game and revealed that most have felt imposter syndrome—questioning their abilities and worth—over the last year.
With that in mind, remember that you are not alone.
However, the longer you stay in a state of feeling worthless, the more clarity and momentum you start to lose. Because while feeling this way is normal, staying there becomes a choice.
In this article, you’re going to learn 11 things to remember and practical steps to help you come out the other side with more resolve and clarity, not less. Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Why Do People Feel Worthless?
It is difficult to rule out a single cause behind your feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. Here are a few typical explanations for why you’re having difficulty seeing your worth:
Bullying and Domestic Violence
You may have experienced a devastating childhood event that has left a lasting on your life. Neglect, abuse, and maltreatment as a youngster can all contribute to feelings of worthlessness later in life.
Children who are abused or regularly reprimanded by their parents or other family members may feel insignificant as adults. These early interpersonal traumas have been connected to subsequent emotions of worthlessness.
Moreover, there are many ways that emotional abuse can affect a person’s self-esteem. When a person feels powerless, they turn to eating disorders as a coping method to avoid confronting their feelings, which is also a symptom of depression.
Dealing With Life’s Challenges
Even though we all know that money isn’t everything, when you’re in a financial bind or went through a job loss recently, fear and stress may take over your life.
It can undermine your self-worth, cause you to believe that you are imperfect, and leave you feeling hopeless. Financial stress can have a negative impact on your mental, physical and emotional health and social well-being.
Going Through a Divorce
After your divorce is finalized, you may find yourself contemplating a question. In examining one’s emotional state, many people who go through the process ask themselves this question.
“What happened? Why was I not enough?’’
How do you deal with your sense of self-worth when the divorce is finalized, and the new chapter of your life begins?
Negative effects on your mental health and well-being can have life-threatening consequences if you have low self-esteem. You may have lost some of your former self-assurance and are now spending more time by yourself, all surrounded by negative thoughts.
“The Odd One Out”
It can be very painful when you’re left out of your group of friends. Because there isn’t always a clear explanation, Occasionally, things appear to be going well. Once this happens, you’ll find yourself isolated and feeling inadequate.
It can be devastating to be an outcast in a group of friends. Your friends are meant to be there for you whenever you need them, no matter what happens. Ideally, they should be the ones who make you feel loved, valued, and accepted.
This is why being outside a group can make it feel like your social life is in ruins.
The Pressure of Achieving Success
We are all under pressure to succeed, especially in our late teens and twenties. The pressure to achieve can damage your self-esteem, make you feel like you’re not doing enough, and make you feel guilty.
Young adults confront numerous hurdles, including obtaining an education, establishing a successful profession, finding the ideal partner, and starting a family.
While it is practically impossible to execute all of those things simultaneously, many people believe that they are not succeeding unless they achieve everything they can. One of the reasons people in their twenties often feel so disoriented is this.
Remember that everyone’s journey through life is unique, and success does not have to look the same. Nobody can do everything at the same time! Regardless matter where they are in life, the pressure to succeed can make many people feel useless or guilty.
Even if your self-esteem and worthlessness issues aren’t listed here, they can still be effectively treated, no matter their source. Although your reasons for feeling worthless are important, therapists use the same techniques to treat self-esteem issues in any situation.
6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Feeling Worthless
Is It Really About Me?
Sometimes people start personalising everything while interacting with others, which tends to be the major reason for feeling worthlessness. Not everything is about us, and we do not need the approval of others at every instance. There is no need to take everything to heart in the quest to please others.
Do I Focus On What I Have or What I’m Missing?
Being thankful for what you already possess is more rational than looking for something not within our means. Whether it is a worldly thing you desire or emotional approval from others – it makes no sense to focus on missing something. But if you still wish to do so, then be prepared to plummet deeper into the feeling of worthlessness.
Is It Bringing Me Closer to What I Want From Life?
Your present thoughts are what directs your life in a particular direction. Now the question to be answered is whether you are moving in the right direction or not? Analyse and deduce if your actions and thoughts are in sync with your life goals and direction where you want to head.
What Will It Take to Love Me?
Loving yourself is an important step that can help you get rid of feeling worthlessness. So you need to ask yourself, what would it take from you to love yourself? Love is a great healing force, and it brings the greatest joy and freedom in life.
Before you expect love and approval from others, it is important that you love yourself. Try to find out what will it take for you to love yourself.
Can I Just Let It Go?
There are occasions when you start to feel worthless when you cling to a particular situation or thought. Wouldn’t it be sensible just to let it go, if possible? Whether it’s about forgiving someone or forgetting something, if you cannot control the outcome, then it’s best just to let it go and move on with your life.
Is Now a Good Time to Forgive?
Just like clinging to a thought or person, you can trap yourself in isolation or loneliness if you do not forgive. Ask yourself, is it worth staying imprisoned to the hatred or problems? Rather it would be wise to forgive and forget simply. Empower yourself with love by learning to forgive.
11 Things to Remember When Feeling Worthless
1. High Growth Equals High Vulnerability
You wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t someone committed to their personal and professional growth. And let’s be clear here—a high growth life requires dealing with messy emotions.
Well, for starters, you’re leaving your comfort zone. You’re working on yourself. You’re no longer a “talker” but someone who is actually doing it. It’s important to remember what you’re going through now is a natural part of growth.
2. You’re Exactly Where You Need to Be
One of the biggest misconceptions in psychology is that you should feel bad if you’re feeling bad. There couldn’t be anything further from the truth; ”negative” emotions are as healthy as positive ones.
It is our reaction to negative emotions that can cause harm. But the emotion alone is a healthy and normal part of life.
Todd Kashdan, a psychology professor at George Mason University who wrote the book The Upside Of Your Dark Side expands:
“There is a not so hidden prejudice against negative states, and the consequence of avoiding these states is that you inadvertently stunt your growth, maturity, adventure, and meaning and purpose in life.”
This means that feeling worthless can be a catalyst to growth, not a roadblock.
3. Zoom Out to Step Away From the Trenches
Often, we can be in a momentary valley—the place where we feel worthless and wonder what it’s all for. In this place, we can’t see clearly and quitting seems like a great idea.
Bestselling author and marketing guru Seth Godin calls this the “dip,” and Scott Belsky of Adobe calls this the messy middle. However we choose to name it, I want you to remember that growth is never linear.
A breakthrough leads to a plateau, leading to a breakdown and vice versa. There are ups and downs and last-second challenges we never expected.
This is when you must zoom out of your current valley. Expand your time horizons, and recognize how far you’ve come during the last six months or three years. This reminds you that you have grown, and it provides some much-needed perspective.
4. This Feeling Is Temporary
Feeling worthless usually comes with an emotional storm that can leave us disoriented, lacking confidence, and not wanting to do much of anything. But remember: emotions are like the weather: scattered, random, unpredictable.
Sure, the weather can be intense—a random thunderstorm with howling winds, but the next day, the sun comes back out and everything is peaceful and normal again.
Your emotions work this way, too. Remember that your current state is temporary.
In fact, brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor argues that any emotion lasts much shorter than we believe. According to Taylor, the chemical process of emotion only lasts 90 seconds.
What does this mean to you?
You will feel better. You will feel worthy, motivated, and excited about life again. The acceptance of this state, instead of resistance, leads to a sense of peace.
5. The World’s Most Successful Feel This Way Too
The role models, mentors, and people you look up to have felt exactly what you’re feeling right now. It can be easy to put others on pedestals due to their accomplishments. Surely, they never feel worthless, right?
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone in this world—especially those who are growing—feels this way. Regardless of their social media highlight reels and online personas, they struggle like you do.
Some of the most successful people on the planet feel worthless at times.
A recent documentary, The Weight Of Gold, featured stories of Olympic athletes such as Michael Phelps, Bode Miller, and others who felt depressed for months after the Olympics.
Think about that—these are the highest achievers on the world stage who have hundreds of millions of eyes of admiration and respect on them. And they, too, struggle with feeling worthless.
6. There’s So Much That Is Working
Being in a vulnerable state can shift our awareness to stack all the ways life isn’t working for us. We think of the people who betrayed our trust. We think back to being fired after giving time and energy to an organization.
We overanalyze a comment on social media and obsess over how our goals aren’t happening fast enough.
Remember, you woke up today—50,000 people didn’t. Your heart’s still beating to the tune of 2,000 gallons per day.
You likely have access to shelter and clean water. This is a simple perspective shift that allows us to lower the bar on gratitude and remember what is working.
7. Contrast Creates Perspective
We live in a culture that emphasizes 24/7 positivity. We must present our best selves—we must find the ‘silver lining’ in every circumstance. And while these are great aspirations, they’re not real life.
Enter contrast in life—the experience of something different. Hard moments, unsettling emotions, and experiencing conflict in our lives all lead to a newfound perspective we wouldn’t have otherwise had access to.
With “contrast,” we ask better questions. We seek better answers. We ask for help, creating a deeper connection. We become empathetic to others’ struggles. We may even get an idea for a change in our lives that could only be accessed in the contrast.
With that said, stay curious. When we are curious about our emotions and what we’re going through, we are compassionate instead of judgmental. We stay open to new insights instead of labeling ourselves. All of these lead to healing.
8. Dig Into the Truth About You
Years ago, I started keeping a digital file that someone advised me to call “the truth about you.” It is a simple document where I keep screenshots, emails, comments on compliments, and reminders from those I respect.
We all have a folder in our minds where we can remember the truth about ourselves—the places we showed up and followed through. The accomplishment someone else is amazed by.
The consistency we showed when it was easier to quit. You may not have this folder available, however, I highly recommend you start building it.
But even without it, remind yourself of the truth. To do so, you’ll have to transcend your current circumstances and emotional state and dig deeper.
9. This Is Why You Do the Work
If you’re reading this article, you’re interested in maximizing your potential and living a productive, fulfilling life. This means you have a toolkit at your disposal—practices, routines, and actions that are designed exactly for what you’re going through right now.
Remember that the tough times are the best times to use these tools, whether meditation, time in nature, doing some journaling, or going for a long walk—don’t forget the power of these tools.
Recognize that most people don’t do this work. They’d rather give their time, energy, and attention to distraction or entertainment. But you’re here, and this is when the “work” really pays off.
10. Emotional Agility Is a Superpower
Because negative emotions don’t feel good—like feeling worthless and lost—it’s easy to distract and avoid them. It’s easy to binge-watch Netflix, spend hours on social media, or even drink and eat our way out of the issue.
Harvard psychologist Susan David talks about the need for emotional agility, which is a skill that can be trained, defined as:
“An individual’s ability to experience their thoughts and emotions and events in a way that doesn’t drive them in negative ways, but instead encourages them to reveal the best of themselves.”
Consider what you’re feeling now as an opportunity to practice this skill.
11. Breathe, Play, Lighten Up, Help Others
When you’re emotionally contracted, you also tend to be physically tense. Body language tends to be less open, shoulder slump forward. It’s easy to tighten up and even enter fight or flight.
We often forget we possess the number one tool to release overwhelm and get back to the center—our breath.
By engaging in a breathing practice—taking some much-needed deep inhales or box breathing—you can manufacture a state of clarity and peace.
Another tool when you’re feeling worthless is to help someone else. It sounds crazy, right? We must focus on ourselves. We must fix the issue and do so now.
Oddly enough, by taking the focus off ourselves, we find healing. It doesn’t have to be anything grand—but encouraging an old friend, a random act of kindness, or dropping off snacks for a person on the street pays dividends.
All of these can create what psychologists call the “giver’s high,” and shift your perspective.
When To Get Help?
According to the American Psychological Association, one of the most common symptoms of depression is “feelings of guilt or worthlessness.” Depression can cause a person to suffer from feelings of self-worthlessness as their primary symptom. 
Those feelings may encourage the sufferer not to seek help or lead someone to believe that they “deserve” the way they feel. This can be a difficult and intense mental illness and requires medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
It’s critical to seek help if you’ve had depression in the past. Your self-esteem will suffer, and it will be difficult to get through your daily tasks if you let those feelings grow.
To put it another way, depression and self-doubt are often difficult to break. Seeking mental health professional counseling as soon as possible is the best thing you can do once you realize that these feelings are not your fault and recognize that they are real.
What Do Therapy Sessions Constitute of?
Psychotherapy that focuses on changing one’s ideas to alter one’s feelings and actions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), has been demonstrated to be useful in treating low self-esteem and other emotionally draining medical conditions.
Treating the underlying issue that causes feelings of worthlessness can also be beneficial. Treatment for depression, for example, can help alleviate feelings of worthlessness.
Many people choose online therapy over traditional in-person counseling because it is more convenient, cheaper, and allows them to work around their schedules.
What if Feeling Worthless Led to Your Next Growth Cycle?
There is nothing wrong with the way you feel. Judging our emotions is like running into the rainstorm with anger and demanding the sun come out—in other words, a total waste of energy.
Instead, use this time wisely. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if it seems far away. Often, it is much closer than you think. Use these reminders and practical ways to shift perspective to create some much-needed breathing room.
Be kind to yourself. Minimize the chatter of the inner critic. Unplug from the negativity and chaos of the world and make small steps in the right direction.
As you do, celebrate tiny progress along the way while remembering you are worthy and you have plenty of proof to show yourself that.
As time passes, you’ll wake up and back in a thriving state. You’ll wonder what took you so long to get over this feeling and be equipped with a new perspective and empathy.
More to Remind You About Your Self Worth
- 10 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Feel Worthless
- Symptoms Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes of It
- What Is Self-Worth and How to Recognize Yours
Featured photo credit: Joshua Rawson-Harris via unsplash.com
|||^||Harvard Business Review: Everyone Suffers from Impostor Syndrome|
|||^||Psychology Today: The 90 Second Rule|
|||^||Washington Post: In Michael Phelps documentary, Olympians share how system pushed them into mental health issues|
|||^||Harvard Business Review: Emotional Agility|
|||^||Scientific American: How to be Happy by Giving to Others|
|||^||American Psychiatric Association: What is Depression?|