Dear fellow human being,
So you are experiencing a sense of worthlessness.
Worthless means unworthy, without worth, useless, without value or not valuable.
Perhaps you already know why you feel like you have no worth. Or maybe you cannot pinpoint exactly. Humans experience such feelings in different ways and because of different reasons. For others it lasts for a short time while for others feeling worthless becomes so severe that they lose interest in life.
You can get out of that worthlessness pit. Because you are worth it. Worthlessness is a feeling and like other feelings, it is temporary. You are not a good-for-nothing. You have weaknesses and you make mistakes, but you are worthy.
First, you have to identify the core reason why you feel worthless before you can realize your worth.
Why you feel worthless
Many things in life determine our experience of being worthy. The main reason you feel worthless is that there are certain standards that you personally believe determine how worthy you are. So, when you fall short of them you experience this negative feeling of worthlessness.
Some influences of worthlessness include
- being insulted
- making mistakes
- comparing yourself to others
- a lack of identity.
When people insult you and you take their negative criticisms to heart, think about them and digest them, you may start to believe them. Hence, you define your worth based on how others define you. You forget your own value and let other people rate your worthiness for you. It’s worse when the insults come from people who you value or look up to e.g. parents, friends, or boss.
You make a mistake (or mistakes) and feel bad about it. It affects how you see yourself. You start to value yourself less because you can’t shake off the guilty feeling. Mistakes are normal, you make them, you will make them, you will learn from them but you need to shift your perspective and not let them define you.
Irrational comparisons with others can make you feel worthless. It not wrong to compare yourself with others sometimes. You can learn from other human beings and emulate them in a positive way. The problem is when you compare yourself to the point where you only see their successes but when you look at yourself you only see your failures. Circumstances differ, you can never be the same as other people. You can only be you. If you must compare, compare your previous self to your current self. Then, aim at being better than you are now, rather than making your life about being better than other people.
Worthlessness has been listed as one of the negative symptoms of depression. You feel worthless for no reason at all. You can’t pinpoint the exact cause. It happens because you have lost interest in everything that once interested you including yourself. Certain factors may trigger the feelings of worthlessness including the mental illness itself. This can be dealt with. All you need to do is seek professional help.
Lack of identity
You feel unworthy when you lose a role that you had strongly identified with because it gave you a sense of belonging. This is unavoidable in life, at some point you will lose something or someone who helped a great deal in determining your self-worth. Divorce, being laid off, a breakup, demotion or the like. But, your status does not define who you are. You are a separate person from things, roles or other people. It’s critical to know your self, be self-aware so that a loss of some other important aspect of your life does not alter your self-worth.
No one can change how you feel about yourself but you. Hence, you are the only one who can fix how you feel about yourself. Worthlessness is a deep negative emotion which can lead to disastrous consequences if you continue to wallow in it and let it control you.
It’s one thing to think you’re worthless, and quite another for somebody else to tell you that you are.—
How can you cope and deal with worthlessness?
- Change your perspective. How is this done? Look at yourself and focus on self-improvement. Just because someone called you useless doesn’t mean you are useless unless you chose to believe them and be useless. So if there is some validity to what people criticize you about, make amends. Just because someone called you a cow doesn’t make you a cow, and even when you believe that you are a cow, as they say, that doesn’t make you a cow. So, don’t let other people define you. Define yourself.
- Help other people. When you are capable of helping someone, do so. Volunteer, serve people, donate, encourage others. Not only will you brighten someone’s day, but you will also have a sense of achievement that is greater than doing things for yourself only. Selfishness is an enemy of being worthy. Making other people feel worthless doesn’t make you worthy. Insulting people will not make you worthy. Instead, it will cultivate in you a fake sense of self-importance and when the illusion fades you will feel unlovable and be unlovable. In short, help others to feel worthy.
- Stop looking at yourself through the eyes of other people. Those insulting you likely do so because they are feeling worthless themselves and it is their way of making themselves have a pseudo sense of being worthy. By criticising others they put themselves in a superior position. They are in fact spreading their worthlessness so that they can feel good about themselves. Stop comparing yourself to others and competing with people out of jealousy. Other people have their own internal battles to fight that you don’t know about. Fight your own battles. Be you. Be in touch with who you really are. You look different, you think differently and you have different circumstances. Yes, you are different. That’s it. You are different from other human beings in many ways but you are still worth it.
- Identify with the aspects of you which will never change about yourself. You will always be you -the person within. Tying your self-worth to your status, your job and other factors visible to the world can make you seem so insignificant when you lose them. Who are you when you put aside all the roles that you are? That is the person you should focus on improving. Changes will always happen and things will go against your plans often. Your positive mindset despite these will make you maintain your sense of worthiness. Read: How to adapt to changes
- Seek professional mental health help. If you can’t shake off worthlessness for a period of three months or more, seek the help of a psychotherapist. Sometimes we need help from a professional who will be objective and help you to process your psychological needs.
Being worthy is a personal thing. Letting external factors to shake your perception of yourself is the greatest threat to your perception of your significance. You cannot avoid this feeling completely because at times there is a valid reason. The idea is not to focus on this negative thinking and make it a cycle. Choose to define your worth positively. When you are experiencing worthlessness pause and identify what you can do to change and change it. And if you cannot change it accept yourself the way you are. You are precious. You are human. You are alive and you are worthy.
Your life is worth living. Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.