We all know that low self-worth destroys your confidence and self-belief. It tricks you into believing that you are a worthless loser. It cons you into thinking you are undeserving of love and happiness. It convinces you that you are inferior compared to other people. That sucks, right?
But a largely unknown fact is that low self-worth also interferes with your health. It wreaks havoc with your emotional balance, assaults your mental health and harms your body.
And yet, it is often a self-care afterthought. A forgotten item at the bottom of an endless to-do list. Something we might eventually get to if we ever find the time. It’s just low self-worth, right? How could it even cause serious consequences for your health if you ignore it?
The vicious cycle of worthlessness
Low self-worth affects your health because it modifies your behaviour.
When you suffer from low self-worth, you perceive yourself as small, insignificant, incapable. You believe that you cannot cope with the threats, problems and stumbling blocks that life throws at you. Hence, you try to control every aspect of your life. And you are terrified that things will fall apart if you aren’t vigilant.
You believe that you are worthless, unacceptable and unlovable. So you strive for perfection to compensate for your weakness and inadequacy. You almost kill yourself trying to please everybody to deserve their approval.
Yet, you still experience criticism, rejection and disappointment. It confirms in you the belief that you aren’t good enough. So you work even harder, sacrifice even more and feel increasingly inferior.
You are trapped in an endless cycle of worthlessness, self-sacrifice and failure. A cycle that causes stress, heartache and fear.
And the strain is enormous. It shreds your mind and corrodes your body. It tears down your defences and denies you rest and relaxation. The result is illness and pain.
The behaviours, beliefs and thought patterns caused by low self-worth will aggravate most common diseases. But I want to focus on 4 health problems that can be caused entirely by low self-worth.
Which means they can be resolved. By healing low self-worth.
4 health conditions that can be improved by boosting your self-worth
Past trauma, excessive stress, mental health issues and even poor diet can cause anxiety. But one of the main triggers of generalised anxiety disorder is low self-worth.
When you suffer from low self-worth, subconsciously, you believe that you are powerless and don’t deserve happiness. So you constantly expect a catastrophe and fear the future.
You feel unworthy of people’s love and respect. So, you are under permanent pressure to outperform, impress and achieve perfection. At the same time, you mistrust your abilities and always feel like a fraud. And you almost expect people to betray and abandon you.
You are scared that other people disapprove of you. So you agonise about making mistakes and worry that other people might dislike you or criticise your actions. You don’t believe in yourself and your ability to cope with life. So, you doubt your decisions, fear the potential consequences and are paralysed by fear of change.
Your life has become one never ending, overwhelming threat. Anxiety is born, out of low self-worth.
Burnout develops slowly, sneaking up on you until it’s too late and you are dealing with a full-blown physical and emotional breakdown that requires months or even years to recover. It can be the result of excessive workload, understaffing and unrealistically high expectations.
But at its root always lies low self-worth. A deep belief that you are worthless unless other people recognise your achievements. You feel the need to justify your existence by working harder than everybody else. You expand all your energy to be whoever other people expect you to be. You can’t accept yourself unless you are the perfect partner, the perfect employee, the perfect housekeeper.
So, you work 24/7. You no longer allow yourself time to breathe. You dedicate your life to earning external recognition through continuous hard work and extreme self-sacrifice. So you can feel worthy.
The problem is that every failure, criticism, rejection will destroy the fleeting sense of external worth and you start from scratch. Worthless once again.
So you are hard on yourself. You labour on despite the pain and exhaustion. You swallow your truth and torture yourself. You sacrifice your health in the pursuit of approval, recognition and external worth.
Insomnia results from high stress levels, an inadequate sleeping environment or certain lifestyle factors (such as heavy meals, alcohol or caffeine before bedtime).
However, another common cause of insomnia is worry. If your self-worth is low you doubt yourself and your capabilities. Life feels like a random series of coincidences that you are powerless to control.
So you anxiously lay awake at night, terrified of the unpredictable future, fretting about what other people think of you and haunted by bloodcurdling visions of threats, disasters and failure.
All because you believe that you aren’t good enough to deserve blessings. That you aren’t strong enough to deal with life. And that you aren’t powerful enough to create your own happiness. All because, deep down, you believe that you are worthless.
Lower back pain
Lower back pain can be caused by injuries, slipped discs, a sedentary lifestyle or excessive weight. But lower back pain also results from bad posture. And this can be a consequence of low self-worth!
Your self-worth manifests itself in your body’s core, the centre of your sense of power and autonomy. When your core is strong, your entire spine is aligned and equally supports the weight of your upper body.
If your self-worth is low and you feel small, insecure and full of self-doubt, your core weakens. The centre of your body collapses, your shoulders start to slouch forward and your belly protrudes.
Without a strong core, your spine is forced into an exaggerated S-shape. This misalignment imposes immense strain upon your lumbar spine which is now solely responsible for carrying the massive burden of your upper body.
The result is permanent tension and pain in the lower back, intense discomfort when you stand for longer periods of time and sciatica. All courtesy of low self-worth.
How to break the cycle and heal
Our industrialised societies focus on competition, materialism, image, prestige, power, achievement, beauty and fame.
We learn that our worth is externally dictated. It depends on our bank account balance, success level, popularity or usefulness (to society).
If you don’t fulfil the criteria, you have no worth. If you work hard and achieve greatness, you gain worth. If you fail or make a mistake you lose your worth. At least that’s what we grow up believing.
The thing is though, that this is an enormous and disastrous misunderstanding. Because the truth is that you ARE worth personified. Just like every other being on this Earth.
Nothing outside of yourself can ever give you worth, purpose and value beyond the limitless worth that you already possess.
Nothing you do, no mistake, achievement, success or failure, will change anything about your worth. It doesn’t depend on your actions. It is eternally tied to your existence. You ARE worth.
Other people’s opinions about you, their criticism, bullying, rejection, abandonment can never diminish your worth.
You are worth exactly the same as everybody else! No matter what! From the day you are born to the day you die and beyond!
And as soon as you truly realise this, you can take your life back. You can follow your dreams. You can find happiness. You can be yourself. You can heal.
Because you no longer need to sacrifice your time, energy and health to gain worth. You can be free.
So, start with me now! Say it out loud. Shout it from the top of your lungs or whisper it in the privacy of your mind.
I AM WORTH!
Because that’s the truth.
Please note: This article is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Healing low self-worth is intended to support, not replace, medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional help if you feel you cannot cope.