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BPD and Self-Worth: How to Build Confidence and Overcome Negative Self-Image

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Having borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be incredibly difficult, and those who suffer from it often struggle with low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, and a poor self-image. These issues can exacerbate other symptoms of the disorder, making it even more challenging to cope with.

In this article, we'll discuss how self-worth and confidence play a significant role in our lives, particularly for those with BPD. We'll also explore how to build confidence and overcome a negative self-image when living with BPD.

The Importance of Self-Worth and Confidence

Self-worth and confidence are important for our mental health and overall well-being because it influences how we perceive ourselves, how we interact with others, and how we approach challenges and opportunities. When we have a positive self-image and a strong sense of self-worth, we tend to be more resilient, adaptable, and self-assured in the face of difficulties. For example, if we believe that we are capable, competent, and deserving, we are more likely to take risks, pursue our goals, and assert ourselves in relationships and at work. On the other hand, if we doubt our abilities, question our worth, or fear rejection, we may hesitate to try new things, withdraw from social situations, dwell on any form of rejection, or settle for less than we deserve. But what matters most is that when we place importance on our self-worth, we will feel so much better every single day.

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

BPD self-image

Unfortunately, individuals with BPD often experience low self-worth and self-esteem, leading to negative beliefs about themselves and their abilities. This can result in feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, and self-doubt, which can make it difficult to form healthy relationships or pursue their goals. These feelings can be so intense that they interfere with their ability to function in their daily life. They may feel that they are not deserving of love, respect, or success, leading to a cycle of self-destructive behavior. They may struggle with body dysmorphia or feel that they are not attractive or desirable, leading to feelings of shame and self-loathing. They may isolate themselves from others or avoid social situations as a result. These issues can exacerbate other symptoms of BPD, such as loneliness, mood swings, impulsivity, and fear of abandonment. And since they struggle to regulate their emotions, it can lead to emotional outbursts. They may engage in all sorts of impulsive behavior, such as substance abuse or binge eating, as a way to cope with their negative feelings.

People with BPD get heavily influenced by how other people perceive and treat them. If they get rejected, they will feel bad about themselves and believe that something is inherently wrong with them. Possessing self-confidence and a strong sense of self-worth enables individuals to resist having their self-worth determined by external factors. This way, they maintain their belief in their abilities and worth as a person when faced with setbacks or failures. It can also help overcome any hard emotional challenge, including heartbreak, which is notoriously difficult for individuals with BPD. When they have faith in themselves, know that they have done their best, and understand that they are deserving, everything in life becomes more manageable.

''Your value doesn't decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth.''

The good news is that it is possible to improve self-esteem, self-worth, and self-image in people with BPD. Lifestyle changes, such as exercise, healthy eating, and self-care, can be effective ways to improve it. Exercise, in particular, can be a powerful tool in improving body image and boosting self-confidence. A healthy diet can also provide the nutrients and energy needed to support mental health and well-being. However, improving self-esteem is not easy, especially for those with BPD. It takes time and effort, and progress may not always be linear. They struggle with black-and-white thinking, which can make it difficult to see the grey areas of change and improvement. It's important to remember that setbacks are normal and that it's a journey. It takes a long time not to judge yourself through someone else's eyes. Loving yourself takes years.

My BPD and self-worth

As of the time of writing this, there are people in my life who do not reciprocate the love and effort I put into our relationships. Some of them lead me on, some do not make an effort to meet, and others ignore my texts. It is very hard not to let their behavior affect how I feel about myself. I experience thoughts of feeling unimportant, ignored, and as if I am not a likeable person. However, I need to remind myself that they probably have their reasons, which are completely unrelated to me. What truly matters is that I am putting in sincere effort and doing my best. I should trust in myself and avoid doubting myself. I'm doing much better in all my relationships than I used to, and I've learned so much the hard way, which is why I should feel proud of where I am now.

''When you start seeing your worth, you'll find it harder to stay around people who don't.''

Over the past few months, I've come to realize the immense importance of feeling confident and knowing my worth. It impacts every aspect and moment of my daily life, shaping how I perceive and experience myself and the world around me. Despite not always feeling it, I have become aware of my self-worth and built confidence in my positive traits as a person, which I couldn't recognize before. I have confidence in myself as a friend and partner, and if someone fails to recognize or appreciate that, it is not immediately a reflection of any inadequacy on my part.

I've discovered that taking care of my physical health, like going to the gym and staying in shape, has remarkably improved my mental health and boosted my confidence. So, I recommend that to anyone. Although rejection still affects me, I've learned how to mostly manage these thoughts and feelings, and that makes all the difference in the end. I believe that the most effective way to build confidence and recognize your worth is through learning the painful way. This involves going through failed relationships and friendships and dedicating years to working on yourself. But most importantly, it means not giving up and continuing your journey.


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