There are two ways to build self worth—the old way and the new way. The old way was the one I was taught. I was taught how to improve self worth by making myself better—like I was defective and needed correction. Self worth only became an issue in my high school years. In fact I really didn't know much about self worth but I was programmed to make something of myself. Once I made something of myself (like I was nothing) I could then feel accomplished and good about myself. Having no self worth is no fun. You feel ignored by your peers and less than.

If I had self worth others would look up to me and admire me—maybe even be a bit jealous. I'd be more popular with the girls and maybe have someone with whom to go steady. I thought having a car would be a big step towards getting a girl friend, but it only attracted an under age kid two years younger than me who made me feel like a big shot so I'd let him drive my car. I'm glad I didn't let him drive it alone. He decided he wanted to speed and hot rod my car as I was anxiously sitting in the passenger seat. I reached over and removed the keys from the ignition and the car drifted to a stop. That ended our friendship. I don't think you can do that with today's cars unless you put them in park.

I did get mostly A's and B's during high school thinking that would make me popular, but it didn't get me into the hip crowd and didn't attract any girls. Looking back, I guess I compensated. I had no self worth or success socially so I stuck my head in books and got A's and B's. I gave up on high school and started looking beyond to making something of my self.

College was a challenge. Even though I got A's and B's in my course work in high school, I basically flunked my SAT exam which added an extra semester to my college years. So my first semester was to take basic high school courses like algebra and English. To make things even more challenging, I flunked a basic aptitude test given in ROTC. The instructor told me that based on my results I'd be lucky to make it through two years of college.

My entire program to do well in college and make something of myself was jeopardized by that news. I ignored any social life and put my head into my studies. It was the only thing I really knew how to do anyway—socializing was alien to me. Much to my surprise, I got mostly A's in all my courses. I guess it was more of the same—I compensated. I didn't know how to socialize and still had no self worth so I put my head into the books and graduated with honors as a member of Tau Beta Pi.

Through a high school friend I met my future wife. He and she had been dating and after they broke it off, I picked up the pieces. Having a girl friend and joining a fraternity gave me a sense of being someone—finally having some self worth. After graduating college I took a prestigious position with DuPont as a start up Chemical Engineer and got married. I really felt good about myself and was very happy. I had made something of my self. My personal improvement plan had succeeded.

My mother and step dad never argued or raised their voices. I admired my wife because in her family they didn't hold back their feelings. Unfortunately my marriage was fraught with arguments and she'd lose her temper for the smallest of things. I had no idea how to deal with the constant upsets and consequently felt miserably frustrated and had no self worth.

Add to this, we bought a fix up home that I was going to remodel. It was in a neighborhood with several trouble making kids who did whatever they could to make life miserable for the rest of us. I learned what it was like to want to kill another human being. Actually I didn't look at these trouble makers as human. I was stuck in my remodeling project and we couldn't relocate. So as accomplished as I was, there was little I liked about myself—I had no self worth.

Add to that I was given a project at work that I had no idea as to how to solve it. I was given a job to double the output of a chemical plant by designing and building another sister plant. I had no experience in design and had no idea what I was doing. But I did luck out, by learning how the existing plant worked, I designed a slight modification costing a total of $400 to improve the existing process. And much to my surprise and everyone else, production was doubled. I had achieved my goal without having to build another plant—a savings of over a million dollars for a year of my employ ($10.000) and a $400 investment.

How to build self worth—luck out. It should have boosted my self worth but it didn't because I realized I had just lucked out. Yet, numerous engineers before me couldn't figure it out so I got a reputation as being a “Hot Shot Engineer” and was transferred to New Jersey to solve another problem.

Of course it was well before I finished remodeling our home. I took the transfer and left West Virginia with my tail between my legs as I lost money on our home and was a failure at dealing with the trouble making neighborhood kids--but glad to get away from them.

My life continued on for many years with similar ups and downs as I tried to figure out how to improve self worth. My wife passed away a year later and even though I felt sorry for her dying at such a young age, again I felt relieved because I was a failure at solving our explosive arguments. I never hit her or was physically abusive but I could certainly see how some women can goad their spouses into being physically abusive.

In summary, I spent nearly forty years of my life trying to accomplish things—make something of myself—so I'd have a healthy self worth and never achieved a healthy self worth with that approach. Just how do you build self worth? The irony is that we all had it when we were born. We lost it by listening to others tell us we need to be better to have self worth. No, no matter what you accomplish or how your personal improvement plan goes, there will always be disappointments—things that fall through and even question your fabric of being. In actuality you build self worth with choice—the new way is choosing to like yourself for no particular reason other than that you tap the power with which your were born and reclaim your born right of being totally OK. Everyone of us makes mistakes—my life (as you see) was fraught with them. Every mistake brings it's share of emotional disappointments which for me often resulted in binging and comfort eating. The ticket to building self worth is to feel and experience the disappointments (the anger, frustration, upset, and so on without blaming yourself) and choosing to like you in the process. Sure life provides a lot of opportunity to accomplish things and you will, so the goal is to be happy with your accomplishments and like you; and to be unhappy with your disappointments and to also like you in the process.

Author's Bio: 

Richard Kuhns B.S.Ch.E., NGH certified has been writing for the internet for over four years. He has best selling self help mp3 downloads for personal change and a personal improvement plan at and program on how to build self worth at and to stop comfort eating.