How to Increase Self-Worth in Codependency Recovery

Michelle Farris, licensed psychotherapist and codependency expert.

At the heart of codependency is a lack of self-worth.

In codependency, you may worry that other people are prettier, smarter or more capable than you are which sets you up for seeking outside approval. Looking to others for your self-esteem and self-worth becomes a habit instead of learning how to give it to yourself.

Recovery involves taking baby steps one day at a time while learning how to increase your self-worth and feel worthy in relationships.

You don’t have to feel bad about yourself!

What is self-worth? 

Self-worth is that feeling inside that tells you whether or not you’re good enough and worthy of love. It’s something you do for yourself. On the other hand, self-esteem relies on both internal and external sources of validation. 

In codependency recovery, you’re working hard on healing issues of low self-worth and self-esteem while decreasing unhealthy dependencies on others. Let me show you how!

Here are five tasks in codependency recovery that will help increase your self-worth.

1. You Need to Prioritize Self-Care 

Self-care fuels self worth because when you don’t prioritize your needs, you end up running on empty. As a result, feelings get ignored and can create issues of anxiety and depression. Life becomes a drag instead of something hopeful.

On the other hand, people who like themselves take care of themselves. When self-worth is solid, you go to the doctor, eat well and take breaks to avoid overwhelm. Saying no happens naturally because you’re committed to protecting your time and energy. 

You don’t have to feel guilty for putting yourself first.

In codependency, taking care of others means neglecting ourselves. Relationships become lifelines as you look to others for your sense of purpose and validation. Eventually, this stops working as relationships don’t last without letting yourself have needs. Eventually, you realize that no one can make you happy or take care of you.

We as recovering codependents need to take responsibility for our own happiness which can be tough to swallow but it’s a necessary step in recovery.

2. Start Acknowledging Your Strengths

Feeling worthy requires learning how to acknowledge what you like about yourself rather than obsessing about what you don’t like about yourself. Negative messages from childhood need to be challenged and replaced for self-worth to improve.

This takes time and patience because we get attached to the familiar even when it’s not healthy.

Another challenge is assuming that self-worth means that you’re arrogant or self-centered. When you struggle with codependency, it feels that way. While recovery takes time, accepting yourself exactly as you are becomes the daily practice one day at a time!

If finding your strengths is a challenge, here is a simple exercise to help you start the process.

Think about what people appreciate about you and use those positive messages to create a new template for your self-worth. Typically, you’ll hear the same compliments over and over again. Write them down and start to embrace as a form of positive affirmations or self-talk.

Sometimes other people can see our gifts better than we can. Use that to your advantage.

3. Building Self-Trust Increases Feeling Worthy 

The cornerstone of codependency recovery is self-trust. Instead of focusing on what others think and need, for us on yourself. Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and reactions throughout the day. Trusted feelings can become your guide for making better decisions about yourself and others. 

Also, when developing self-trust, notice how you receive information – is it a voice you hear, a feeling you get or something you see? Spend time cultivating your senses because they will serve you well in recovery. 

Next, you’ll need to honor your own experiences, no matter what! 

For instance, if you get a bad feeling about something or someone TRUST it, follow it and explore it. Don’t dismiss it. This practice begins the process of trusting yourself. 

4. Identify and Change Negative Self-Talk

Self-talk focuses on internal conversation that reflects a person’s private thoughts and judgments about themselves and the world. 

When self-talk is negative it impacts on how you feel about yourself. It’s important to identify any negative thoughts and old messages that are preventing you from having self-worth. 

Some examples of negative self-talk include messages like:

  • You’re being too sensitive. 
  • What you have to say isn’t important.
  • You’re not smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, etc.

Example of positive self-talk include messages like:

  • I trust myself and my feelings are valid.
  • Everything is going to be okay.
  • I’m a good and thoughtful person.

5. Minimize the Influence of Toxic People

Another way to increase self-worth involves protecting yourself from the influence of toxic people. These people thrive on making you wrong and creating self-doubt. So, to protect yourself emotionally you must find ways to minimize their influence on your self-worth.

Learning how to detach from toxic behavior and set healthy boundaries will serve as healthy armor. Remember that their harsh words and actions are a reflection of THEIR bad behavior not yours. 

Also, toxic people often use gaslighting to manipulate and control your perception of yourself. Believing their negative messages only serves to keep you feeling less than other people. Developing self-trust will decrease their influence over you because you are choosing to trust your perceptions over theirs.

Another way to minimize their influence is by detaching emotionally. This means removing yourself before a situation becomes toxic. Hurt people hurt others to get the upper hand and feel superior. Remember, what someone says about you is not always an accurate description of your true character.

Final Thoughts

While self-worth can be challenging in codependency, as you continue to work through these issues your confidence will continue to grow. You will learn how to esteem and value yourself and let go of what no longer serves you. One day at a time, it does get better!

Get Michelle’s FREE eBook – 7 Signs of Codependent Relationships (and How to Heal Them ) https://counselingrecovery.lpages.co/codependent-relationship-freebie/

1 Response

  1. Lise says:

    I accidentally clicked to NOT receive articles on co dependency BUT I STILL WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE THEM. Can you please reinstate me. Thank you.

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