How to Build Self-Confidence and Value Yourself More

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The most important thing you should value is yourself.

According to Dr. Kristin Neff, there is a problem with society’s belief of how to measure one’s self worth or value. The problem is that we focus on measuring ourselves against others rather than on our inherent value. 

Our competitive culture tells us we need to be special and above average to feel good about ourselves, but we can’t all be above average at the same time,” claims Dr. Kristin Neff.

The point is, when assessing your self value, you should consider yourself and only yourself. You need to believe that YOU deserve to be held in the highest regard. If you don’t value yourself or fail to value yourself enough, you’re less likely to succeed on almost every conceivable level. Learn to be yourself and be proud of it. 

Self-confidence is a HUGE part of how we value ourselves. Once you recognize exactly how you are undervaluing yourself and determine why you have low self-confidence, learning how to build self confidence in those areas will lead to a healthier, happier life.

How Undervaluing Yourself Costs You

Let’s start with 6 ways to stop undervaluing yourself and learn how to build self confidence the right way.

Truly learning how to build self confidence isn’t an easy task. But the simple fact that you’re admitting that you may be undervaluing yourself on a daily basis is the right place to start.

Once you recognize exactly how and in which parts of your life you are undervaluing yourself, turning your life around for the better by using some of the tips and resources we’ve provided, will be a goal within your reach.

1. Undervaluing Yourself Costs You Professionally

A professional man who values himself adjusting his neck tie.
Does your self-worth reflect in your profession?

Leaders tend to value themselves highly and have a healthy self-esteem. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be leaders in the first place.

In a weekly column for the Harvard Business Review, Marshall Goldsmith wrote about how he rarely sees CEOs with low self-confidence.

Goldsmith offers five suggestions to people in and outside the business world on building self-confidence and value.

  1. Worry less about being perfect and focus on making good decisions and handling the consequences.
  2. Accept that failure is part of life, and understand that the people who have tasted the most failure have often also relished in the most success.
  3. Commit to your decisions instead of continually second-guessing yourself.
  4. Even when you’re scared, act courageous so that others will be inspired by your courage.
  5. Enjoy what you do, because you shouldn’t waste a short life doing what doesn’t bring you happiness and satisfaction.

Goldsmith’s advice is solid and should be followed. To succeed, whether you’re working at a Fortune 500 company or a convenience store, you need to be confident that you’re able to do the work you’ve been assigned. If you aren’t sure of your ability to get the job done, then most likely, you won’t get the job done.

2. Undervaluing Yourself Costs You Financially

Professional abilities are far from the only factor when it comes to your income. A research study, “Self-Esteem and Earnings,” from the Journal of Economic Psychology found a positive correlation between self-esteem and how much money people make. Author Francesco Drago explains it in his introduction.

Recent research in economics provides evidence that non-cognitive skills are important determinants of earnings (Bowles, Gintis and Osborne, 2001). A relevant non-cognitive skill is self-esteem, which is usually conceived as the perception that individuals have about their own ability. From the theoretical point of view, the basic idea according to which self-esteem may increase earnings is very simple. Ability and effort are complements, so that, under the premise that individuals are uncertain about their own ability, higher self-esteem causes higher effort and earnings (Benabou and Tirole, 2002).

This applies to getting promoted at work and commanding a higher salary in your current position. If you have low self-esteem, you probably won’t risk rejection by asking for more money because chances are slim that those who don’t consider themselves very valuable at their jobs will be confident enough to push for a big raise or a high starting salary.

As nice as the thought may be, you can’t expect a corporation focused on earning and saving money to immediately offer you the amount they think you’re worth. If you learn how to build self-confidence, you can become brave enough to ask for it yourself.

Personal development in the workplace and beyond, positive feedback, and constructive criticism are all ingredients for improving self-esteem. They all help you become the person you want to be. You believe in yourself and your abilities and can achieve personal growth.

A quick note about financial self-worth — when valuing yourself financially, try to separate your self-worth from the money. To do this, find value outside of your money and understand that you are worth so much more than what is reflected in your bank account.

You should then continue to build your financial literacy and reassure yourself that you belong in a wealth-building space. Take full advantage of all opportunities that lead to positive change, and your personal value will skyrocket.

3. Undervaluing Yourself Costs You Personally

Silhouette of a woman looking at the horizon at sunset.
Has low self-worth cost you personally?

Low self-esteem also has a disastrous effect on you personally, specifically regarding your social life. In the article “How Your Self-Esteem Impacts Relationships” author Suzanne Phillips explains, “Self-esteem colors not only a person’s perception of self but impacts expectations of the partner and the tenor of the relationship.”

People with low self-worth seek constant, bordering on irritating levels of assurance from their partners. That leads to insecurities and resentment, and the last thing something as complex as a human relationship needs is one member doubting the other’s commitment because they don’t believe they’re worth being with in the first place.

Questioning the partner’s commitment causes strain in the relationship and can even decrease the other partner’s sense of self-worth. That isn’t good for anyone.

If you translate Goldsmith’s tips above on how to build self-confidence to your personal life, you’ll also be surprised how quickly some toxic relationships can change for the better.

Related Reading: How to Deal With Friends Who Drag You Down

4. Undervaluing Yourself Costs You Mentally

One of the biggest impacts of self-worth is on people’s mental health. Depression, anxiety, inflexibility, addictive behaviors, and more troubles are common symptoms of low self-esteem and stop you from being as strong as you can be. You don’t see your true value but instead, focus on your weakness.

Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.

Dorothy Rowe, Beyond Fear

There’s so much research to support the negative consequences of not valuing yourself that a whole form of treatment exists to help you improve your opinion of yourself. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) examines the relationships between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Many doctors and clinics require that you undergo CBT before prescribing you antidepressants, knowing that the first step to healing is learning to build self-confidence and think more positively about yourself. That will improve your mental health and, from there, improve pretty much every other aspect of your life.

5. It Costs You Physically


When you’re down on yourself, you may even suffer from physical symptoms. Depression from low self-esteem will cause you to not take care of yourself.

If you eat comfort food for every meal, you probably won’t be comfortable in the long term. If every day is a Lazy Sunday, you’ll feel less rejuvenated each morning.

A less obvious reason for feeling worse is that your poor mental health can also directly cause you to feel physically weak. Chronic joint pain, limb pain, back pain, gastrointestinal problems, tiredness, sleep disturbances, and more kinds of discomfort are closely linked with depression, including the kind of depression resulting from having a low opinion of yourself.

You can also tell that your body language affects your thoughts. So make an effort to have good posture and start thinking and looking more confident. If you take the right steps and learn how to build self-confidence successfully, you will begin thinking more highly of yourself and feeling better.

6. Undervaluing Yourself Costs You Emotionally

As important as every other category on this list is, and they are important, in the end, most of us just want to be happy. That’s usually the ultimate goal; if it isn’t, it probably should be.

Undervaluing yourself impacts your mood dramatically and is a pointless cause of pain. Even if you believe you’re not worth anything (and you shouldn’t!), accepting that won’t bring you satisfaction.

How to Build Self Confidence

Now that we know how dangerous it can be to undervalue ourselves, let’s look at the power of positive self-talk and the importance of building self-confidence.

Look at Past Achievements

Building self confidence starts with looking at your past achievements. It is easy to develop low self-esteem if you believe you haven’t achieved anything worthwhile or of value. This kind of negative self-talk is a self-confidence issue you must work on so you can move forward.

Make a list of everything you have achieved in life and everything you are proud of. Keep the list close to you, so you can refer to it when you find yourself with low self-esteem issues. It can remind you that you have achieved things you should be proud of.

List What You Do Well

Now, let’s take a closer look at your talents and strengths. This is a good way to recognize what you are good at and to build confidence in your abilities. You can find value based on your experiences and fulfillment.

Positive affirmations can motivate you and help you change any negative thought patterns you engage in. Once you change your negative thinking into something more positive, it makes it harder for each negative thought to hold on.

Set Realistic Goals

To build self-confidence and learn how to value yourself, make sure to only set realistic goals that are achievable. These don’t have to be lofty goals. Start with a small goal with smaller accomplishments.

The Importance of Self Confidence and Value

Now that you know how to value yourself and start building up from low self-confidence, let’s look at why these steps are important.

You Will Be Happier

Confident people tend to be happier than others. They have a high self-esteem and sense of value, are more satisfied, and live with a positive mindset.

Convince yourself to be happy, including if it means fibbing to yourself. Know what you need to let go of.

If you genuinely want to get better and succeed in every way listed above, the lessons of CBT are a great starting point for you and your unique path of building self-confidence. Use whatever gets you from where you are now to where you should be.

Research has shown that positive self-esteem is linked to mental well-being and happiness. Without positive self-esteem, your mental health can be affected, and you can become anxious or depressed. Self-acceptance helps you control your emotions. Without it, you will focus more on negative self-talk, which can result in negative emotions.

We have already covered how low value and self-esteem can manifest physically. And according to Positive Psychology and research conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, we can further see how low self-esteem is associated with mental health problems and poor physical health.

You Will Find Greater Success

With a positive self image and a high level of self-confidence, you will find greater success in life. Success can make you even more confident. With a positive mindset, you can believe you can succeed and work hard to get there.

Truly learning how to build self-confidence isn’t an easy task. But the simple fact that you’re admitting that you may be undervaluing yourself on a daily basis is the right place to start.

Once you recognize exactly how and in which parts of your life you are undervaluing yourself, turning your life around for the better by using some of the tips and resources we’ve provided will be a goal within your reach.

With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.

Dalai Lama
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Quincy Seale

Quincy is KIM's editor, and has collected and shared inspiring quotes and stories since 2005. Quincy holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and lives in San Antonio with his wife Natalie, son Alex, and his dog Oban.

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