Reclaiming Your Self-Worth

Published June 1, 2021, The Young Catholic Woman

by Jean Mondoro

“I praise you, because I am wonderfully made.” -Psalm 139:14a

A couple years ago, I found myself struggling with a habit of degrading myself for every little mistake I made. Overcome with incessant guilt, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my mistakes—both real and perceived—were proof that I just wasn’t good enough. It felt right when others blamed me; it corresponded with the blame I put on myself.  In a matter of days, I had thrown myself into a trap of belittling myself to a point where I could no longer see any of my good deeds. I took the negative and degrading attitude of some of the people around me at that time and I started treating myself in the same way. 

This is a very lonely place to be, and it took me a long time to come out of it. I am still fighting relapses into this same trap, a place which cripples me so that I can’t love others as God has called me to. I know the quiet agony that comes with not truly believing in your own self-worth, but I also know that it is possible to carry this cross.

If you, too, are working to reclaim your self-worth, I’d like to offer a couple ways I’ve found to concretely address this struggle.


My first move in fighting this battle is to pause and remind myself that I am a child of God. Sometimes I need to pause a few times in a day; other times, once a day or a few times a week is enough. I simply reflect on how much God loves me. He loves me as His daughter, and a father’s love for his daughter is one of the deepest and most beautiful forms of love. 

If you’re struggling to believe in God’s love, it helps to remember someone who has shown you love in your life. For me, a personal touchpoint of comfort is reflecting on how much my own dad loves me. If my earthly father loves me this much, how much more must my Father in Heaven! Find a touchpoint of comfort that’s meaningful for you—who in your life has reflected God’s love? 

When it comes to a setting for this reflection, pick a place that makes you feel calm and relaxed. I often just go for a walk, because seeing the beauty of nature gives me a peaceful reassurance which I like to think of as God holding me in His arms to comfort me. If I can, I also love to go to a church or chapel and sit with Jesus in the Eucharist. Go to a place that is peaceful for you. Give God any mistakes or fears that trouble you in the moment. Remember you are loved by a very awesome God, and let this thought quiet you.

Often, while I’m sitting in this quiet space contemplating God’s love, I look at or hold a crucifix. In dark moments, I’ve looked at the crucifix and asked, “Why did you die for me?” In those moments, it’s hard to fathom why He cares about me so much. At other times, I wonder, how is it possible that I ever forget, even for a moment, that He loves me so much? A simple look at a crucifix reminds me of His extraordinary love. Looking at a crucifix is also a ready reminder that I, too, carry a cross. In uniting my struggle with self-worth to Christ’s suffering on the cross, I’m not only connected to Him, but to every person who struggles with this particular cross. I take comfort in the fact that we do not carry our crosses alone. 


Another practice for remembering how much you are worth is to ask for help. I don’t just mean from the people around you––although it is very important to share the battle of self-worth with trusted friends and family members who can support you––but your heavenly friends who have had their share of crosses too: the saints. 

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of turning to the saints to ask for help with specific trials. I have always loved the saints, and over the years have gathered a good number of them to call on for guidance and prayers. If you have a favorite saint or someone in mind to help you treat yourself better, run to him or her with outstretched arms and ask for help! I know it can be intimidating to be told to “find a saint,” and if you feel that intimidation, don’t worry. Below, I’ll share a few saints who may help you on this journey. They endured plenty of suffering and, I imagine, even the temptation to believe they were not good enough.


St. Joan of Arc is the patron saint of soldiers, particularly women soldiers. Her story is one of martyrdom, as she followed God’s will for her and, eventually, died for Him when she was executed for heresy. But she continued to fight, even when people didn’t believe her and belittled her words and actions. Every cross we are asked to carry may lead us into battle. As women, we can turn to St. Joan to help us fight our battles with faith and courage, even the battles we may be tempted to believe are insignificant, such as struggling with self-worth. Because this is a cross we are asked to carry, it is therefore a heroic battle to fight. If you feel like you are fighting the devil as he tries to convince you that you are not good enough, ask St. Joan to pray for you and teach you to be courageous and faithful. She will become your companion on this battlefield.


Another saint who suffered a great deal from those who trivialized or disbelieved her words and actions was a young girl named Bernadette Soubirous. She saw Our Lady at Lourdes and was ridiculed for spreading the message given to her by the Blessed Virgin. I imagine that Bernadette faced tremendous loneliness and low self-esteem to be so put down by those around her. However, she continued to pray and turn to her heavenly Mother for help in overcoming this trial. St. Bernadette will be your friend and support when you feel looked down upon as well as on those days when you look down on yourself.


Next, I want to introduce a saint who is very dear to me. St. Therese of Lisieux is now a Doctor of the Church, but she started out as an incredibly sensitive child. She often cried a great deal over small mistakes and struggled tremendously with scrupulosity and believing everything that she did was wrong. What most inspires me about Therese is her unwavering belief that God loved her so intimately and profoundly that, even on her darkest days, she found comfort in the truth of His love. Turn to St. Therese when you’re feeling bogged down by scrupulosity and ask her to help you truly believe in our Father’s love for you.


Finally, there is one lady who will help you with literally anything you ask, and that is our blessed Mother Mary! I will often turn to her and pray something like, “Help me with this, Mary! I leave it all in your hands.” Mothers long for their children to run to them for help. They live for comforting their little miracles and walking with them through their trials. When you are discouraged and too weighed down by fighting the battle to believe your self-worth, run to Mary! She will take you in her arms and never let you go.

As women, it can be very challenging to avoid the temptation to believe that we are not good enough for whatever job we are doing, for the people we are loving, and even for being children of God. When we fall into this trap, we may even convince ourselves that we are not good enough for ourselves either. The devil knows that many of us struggle with self-esteem and believing in our worth as human beings, and he relishes opportunities to inflame this wound. Luckily, God gave us the tools to fight back. 

So take as much time as you need for simply reminding yourself that you are loved deeply by God. Commit to praying daily through the intercession of Our Lady and the saints for timely help. 

You are not alone in the struggle to know and experience your self-worth. I am fighting it, too, and I hope and pray these small things which have helped me tremendously will also help you. You are a precious child of God, and you are loved! Never forget that you are worth dying for. He thought so. 

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