6 Strategies for Moving Beyond Unworthiness

the two parts of the person in conflict with each other, depicted as two different-colored versions of the same person, symbolizing the internal struggle that unworthiness can create.

If you’ve read my article “Symptoms of an Unworthiness Mindset,” then you know how unworthiness can show up in your life. You may have identified some of the symptoms within yourself. Now, you’re ready to put your feelings of unworthiness behind you so that you can experience the life you want to have.

Unworthiness can hold you back from stepping into the reality that you want to experience in the world. Through a series of self-work steps, you can start to feel worthy, develop a stronger rapport within yourself, and choose a different way of showing up in the world.

These six exercises will help you move from an unworthiness framework to one that’s based on the foundation of worthiness.

#1) Host a Dialogue Between Your Parts

So often, unworthiness sets you up in opposition to yourself. You have two parts that are operating in conflict within you, and it’s a no-win situation. Neither part seems lovable the way it is, and that undermines your worthiness.

Psychotherapist Richard Schwartz has a model that can help you work through this. His idea is that human beings are a constellation of parts. You’re not a whole consciousness; you have different parts that come online at different points in the course of your life.

Often, these parts have developed in your younger years to help you survive and make sense of traumatic or confusing situations. They stick around to help insulate you from reexperiencing the same kind of trauma that you experienced as a young person.

Each part has a positive intention for you if you take the time and have the presence to really dig in and get deep to understand it.

But there’s typically a difference between the intention that the part has for you and the methods it uses to carry out those intentions. A part might fire off warning signs and execute strategies to try to keep you safe, but that holds you back and keeps you from stepping into a certain role or creating what you want to create.

Realizing that you are made up of a company of parts can be a powerful way to start moving forward. You can practice internal negotiation.

My Story

I’ve been through this myself. When I was getting my business off the ground, I was stuck in procrastination mode. I’d be beating myself up about what wasn’t getting done.

But then, I named two different parts of myself and put them in dialogue with each other.

I know it sounds silly, but it ended up being really powerful.

I was speaking on behalf of each part and verbalizing what each one wanted for me. That allowed me to make the distinction between each part’s goal and its strategy.

The lazy slob part of me was wanting to have fun and enjoy play and ease. (And those are lovely things to want in the world.)

The master was just wanting success. That part knew that play and fun would come on the other side of growing the business.

two 'characters' facing off and label each of them - "Fun!" and "Success!"

I literally moved around the room and had a conversation between the two parts. It was a powerful opportunity to allow each part to speak up about what it was wanting.

After doing this, I immediately felt more inspired. My relationship with work changed. These days, I no longer feel that I’m beating myself up when I take time to play a video game or relax in another way.

I’ve realized that these two parts of me are in alignment. They both want freedom and play. They just have different strategies for achieving that goal.

#2) Think About a Baby

When you were born into the world, you weren’t debating whether you were worthy. Sadly, there was some later point in your life when you learned to put the idea of your worthiness on the chopping block as if it were something that could be taken from you.

So one thing you can do is think about a baby and ask yourself, “Is that baby worthy of love, affection and attention?” Almost everyone will answer yes to that question.

Then ask yourself, “What is the baby doing to get that worthiness?” The answer is nothing, of course. Babies are worthy just by virtue of their being.

You, too, are worthy just by virtue of your being.

#3) Rewire Your Old Programming

As you do the above exercise, it might bring to mind a time in your life when it was safer to say, “I’m unworthy,” than to make the world source of the problem.

People often do this in childhood. If they put a problem on themselves, then they have hope that they can be the source of the solution. But then they carry on in life and forget that they made that calculation. Eventually, they come up against that old programming.

That programming was useful at one point in time. For example, we tell kids not to talk to strangers. But if you want to grow your business as an adult, you’ll want to rewire that programming. Speaking to strangers can help you further your goals.

In other words, what was once a feature has become a bug.

This is your opportunity to rework your operating system. You can recognize that your old programming is no longer serving you well and replace it with thought patterns that align with your goals.

#4) Practice Affirmations and Visualization

Affirmations are a tool that can help you rewire your thought patterns. Through affirmations, you can take an active role in creating your world.

Affirmations tune your mind to look for certain things in the world. They prime you to notice things.

Here’s one to start with: “I am worthy.”

In conjunction with saying those words, imagine to yourself what it would be like if you 100% believed in your worth. How would you show up? What would you notice? How would others respond to you? Build that visualization for yourself.

You’ll be making little hooks that you can grab onto when you’re out in your reality. You’ll catch yourself noticing that you are worthy.

Affirmations combined with visualization can update your operating system and lead to action in how you carry yourself in the world.

#5) Excavate Your Unconscious Fears

Everything happening within you is a choice in some way. Why is your system choosing unworthiness? That’s a question that’s worth digging into.

Is your sense of unworthiness protecting you from something in this possible future? Do you hold certain values that might be keeping you back from experiencing that thing? Are there potential problems that your unconscious mind is trying to keep you from?

I had to grapple with these questions for myself as I was trying to build my business. I was having a hard time getting myself to take action. At the time, I fully believed that taking those actions would lead to creating a successful business.

But when that happened, I would be responsible to a whole bunch of people in an ongoing way. My calendar would be full, and I’d be locked into tons of commitments. That would impinge on my freedom.

I was holding myself back because I didn’t think I was ready to deal with the problems I thought were sure to come.

I worked on bringing those unconscious fears and worries into my conscious mind. Once I did that, I could start to question whether those fears were really true. For example, “Is there a way for me to build a successful business that actually brings me more freedom instead of less freedom?”

As I got really specific about excavating those unconscious fears, I found that my system had less resistance to the idea of moving forward.

#6) Make a List of the Downsides

Those hidden fears and worries point to something true: Downsides exist for everything.

Let’s say that you and I are having a coaching conversation, and I ask you to imagine your desired state. That might be a feeling of worthiness or a relationship, an entrepreneurial endeavor, or something else — you pick.

I ask what you might lose if that situation came to be. What thing that you value might you lose out on?

You answer, “Nothing. It would all be good.”

That would tell me that you haven’t uncovered the full reality of the situation. In everything, there are downsides. Your desired state isn’t the one thing in reality with absolutely no downside.

So here’s what I suggest that you do: Make a list of 20 reasons why it would be beneficial for you not to get that thing that you’re desiring.

Paradoxically, what you’ll find as you do this is that it’s helping you get clear on each of the downsides. You’ll be able to see them in a more conscious fashion. It will empower you with the choice to step into the reality that you are wanting because you won’t be blindsided by those unconscious fears.

Our brains change through practice and repetition. Which of these exercises will you put into action to help you develop a worthiness mindset?

As you think about that, be sure to listen to Episode 6 of The Shift to Freedom podcast. In that episode, my friend Clayton Olson and I have a conversation about this very topic.

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