Are you feeling unmotivated and unhappy? It’s an easy time, especially now, to slip into dark thoughts and to give up on dating in general. Maybe you’re thinking to yourself that a relationship is just not in the cards for you because of all of this madness happening around you. Maybe you’ve started to believe you’re not worthy of it.

Yes, we’re in unprecedented times, but that doesn’t mean that you have to lose all contact to the people you’re potentially interested in or to let the new situation we find ourselves affect your feelings of self-worth. You deserve to have the things you want in life. And yes, it’s hard to stay motivated now because everything seems to be at a standstill, but if we take this time to reflect and tap into what we want, to love for ourselves, then we can start to find some ways to develop positive habits that will build our confidence when it comes to opening ourselves up to others.

What is self-worth?

Life is filled with ups and downs, but what is the thing that grounds us even in our extreme failures and darkest times? Our feeling of self-worth. Self-worth – it sounds like an elusive thing that is on certain days strong and on others depleted, but without it, we feel small and worthless inside. Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are intimately tied to how we view our self worth and value as human beings.

The dictionary defines self-worth as “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect,” which seems simple enough. It seems like something we all have intrinsically, right? But when you live without self-worth, it’s like watching the movie of your life passing before you. You’re not an active participant in your own life. You regard the way others treat you as to how you define yourself. You’d be surprised how many people live without an awareness of their own value, and how many people place judgment on themselves and deplete their self-worth based on the circumstances around them.

There’s an incredible essay that Joan Didion wrote for VOGUE entitled “On Self Respect” where she writes, “However long we postpone it, we eventually lie down alone in that notoriously uncomfortable bed, the one we make ourselves. Whether or not we sleep in it depends, of course, on whether or not we respect ourselves.”

The problem is, many of us are not aware that our self-worth can be nurtured and is a discipline that is trained and coaxed forth. Being aware of our own character, of the standards we want in our lives, and accepting responsibility for our own lives, is where self-worth comes from. In relationships, it is an essential component. When we know our worth, we have everything: the ability to love and to remain indifferent to the things that truly don’t matter. To lack this is means we’re locked within our own oppression, we shoot ourselves in the foot. To have it is to free ourselves from the expectations of others and to give back to ourselves. The good thing is: we have the choice to nurture our self-worth as soon as today.

Know your self-worth

We all have something incredible to bring to the table and we all have our weaknesses, but we have to be fully aware of both in order to be in a healthy relationship with someone else. Knowing your self worth is not only something that you need in your dating life, but also for your sanity.

To know your self worth means to fully respect yourself, love yourself fully, and to know what you need to spend your time and energy on in order to be the happiest version of yourself. It means not selling out your morals, your values, and not compromising yourself for a friendship, a relationship, for money, or for anything. It means staying true to yourself and knowing that your time and your talents are valuable. Knowing the difference between what you deserve and what you are getting from others. Knowing when to walk away from people and situations that don’t value you.

Not everyone is going to recognize your value, and those people will come and go. If you know your self-worth, you can walk away from people and situations that aren’t worth your time and heart.

Building self-worth. 5 powerful habits

Self-worth can be nurtured and grown, as I mentioned before, so how can we start building it? Here are 5 powerful habits that you can start today.

#1: Make a list of your standards.

What is your dream girlfriend like? Aside from the outward appearances, what is it that you really want in your partner? What does respect mean to you? These are questions that will define what standards you have, and it’s essential for you to know the answer for yourself because when someone starts to treat you badly and not see your worth, you’ll be able to walk away and know for yourself that it’s not about you not being enough for them, but it’s about you choosing not to be with someone that doesn’t meet what you know you deserve.

So many men think that by giving her everything she wants, you show her your sense of worth. You don’t have to give up your self worth to fit into her life. This is where codependency comes into play – we base our self-worth on our partners, and we use someone else’s love to feel better about ourselves. You should feel that love for yourself regardless of whether or not you’re in a relationship. Someone else’s love does not define your value. The result of codependency is a lack of authentic self and feeling like you only exist through the responses and opinions of others, and this is what depletes our self-worth.

#2: Heal trauma or victim mentality.

Everyone has trauma in their life on some level, and when our self worth feels completely depleted and we allow others to define that worth, usually it is a result of a victim mentality caused by trauma. The trauma brain gives us cyclical, fearful thoughts, and unresolved trauma lives in the body. It pulls from habit and makes us unaware of our own cyclical, destructive patterns. That is when we start to behave like victims – seeing the same destructive relationships repeating, as things that happen to us and not caused by us. Victim mentality only causes you to remain stuck.

Once we become aware of these patterns by asking ourselves questions and going deeper into ourselves (whether that be through coaching, therapy, journaling, or meditation), we can begin to break victim mentality. Ask yourself, for instance, what did my earlier relationships show me that love felt like? How did this make me feel, and what qualities about this person excited me? Did my parents display the same qualities? Relationships should be a space where we heal, not a space where we relearn bad habits and define our worth through the actions of our partner.

#3: Get curious and increase your awareness.

You’ve already started this by coming to this blog today, but there are so many resources out there on the topic of self-worth. Get curious and find out the many ways you can start with positive affirmations, meditations, answering questions for yourself, starting a journal. This is actually a great time to do all these things now that we have more time to do them. There are Tedtalks, self-help books, Instagram handles with huge communities, and different programs (including here) that can help you see your self worth in a clearer way.

#4: Surround yourself with people that inspire and motivate you.

When we surround ourselves with people that genuinely love and care about us, it helps us to see our own value in an honest way. If you’re around people that don’t think highly of themselves and don’t see their own self-worth, are negative about themselves and other people, then it’s time to stop being around those people. Be around people that inspire you to be more like them; people that love themselves fully and are highly motivated.

#5: Give to others.

When we give to others, we give back to ourselves, and when we’re able to give, we also know that our cups are full. We can’t give, we can’t show love, and we can’t get in a relationship if our cups are not full. Community involvement is a great way to fill our cups because it gives us a sense of fulfillment and worth. Giving to others also allows us to see what we are grateful for, to appreciate the things that we have earned in our lives and to have greater awareness for the things that surround us, and this, too, increases our feelings of self-worth.

How to gain self-worth and get the girl

The most important relationship we have is the relationship we have with ourselves. Now that you may have more time than you usually have alone, take it as a gift. Take it as a path of healing, to reconnect with ourselves – what we want in our partners, what standards we have, what we enjoy doing, what we need to be happy, how we want to give back to the world even from the confines of our homes.

After we reconnect with ourselves, we can begin to build healthy and authentic relationships with others. We’ll be able to see our self worth for what it truly is, without even questioning it. We’ll be able to create clear boundaries with our partners, to freely express and communicate without fear of criticism or judgment.

Self-worth is important for us to identify with, build, and maintain. Learning about your worthiness can only teach you to be happier and more fulfilled. So many of us are afraid to acknowledge our own beauty, and instead, we hold onto our unworthiness. We rely on others to show us the worthiness that we don’t even show ourselves.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

Once you love yourself and know your worth, you’ll get the girl.

Your coach,

Apollonia Ponti