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How to Maintain Your Value and Self-Worth at Work Even When You Feel Disrespected


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Today’s employment climate can present many challenges where your self-worth and value can be damaged. From taking orders to contributing to meetings, to taking on additional responsibilities, it is possible to walk into the workplace every day and feel stretched, overworked and/or undervalued.

On one side, you are grateful that you have a job. On the other side, you know they could show you the door at any moment. There are times when voicing your concerns with HR doesn’t feel safe. Of course, they are there to protect the company…not you.

Now, let’s not get into the interpersonal relationships. If you don’t have a certain “title” there are some that treat you as if you don’t matter. There are some individuals who value the higher titles in an organization and treat those beneath them as if they are insignificant. Remember, just because a person may devalue you because you don’t have the same title or higher title, doesn’t mean that you have no value. You are of infinite value and your self-worth is not defined by your title. ALL work is important and valuable.

I once had a situation at work where a coworker wouldn’t come to me. This person would always go to my colleague and ask about my work. My colleague told me that they would send this person to me but they didn’t want to address me. At first, I was offended. I was hurt that this person would disrespect me in this way but I realized that I didn’t need to make their issue my own. I know my value comes from God not them.

I watched my parent have 30/40 year careers and those jobs were a part of who they were and gave them a sense of your self-worth. Today, we live in a totally different world. With downsizing and responsibility-sharing within the workplace, our workplace identity is often changing, and can feel unstable to us.

Increased demands on employees, and a faster-paced workplace environment all equate to less acknowledgment of excellent work. The employee feels as if they can never accomplish what needs to be done and overwhelm sets in while taking a look at the workload. We are working longer hours, bringing work home, and losing touch with other essential parts of our lives like time spent with friends, family, and being alone. I’ve even experience chronic illnesses where each month there was some sort of sickness I was dealing with.

Maintaining a strong sense of self-worth while all of this is going on can be challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible, and it’s very important to your psychological health. It’s done a little bit at a time, each and every day, consistently, to help keep a healthy level of self-worth.

Here are three specific strategies that you can put into motion during your own workday that will help create balance and a strong inner peace that can help see you through especially tough times.

1. Replace Negative Thought with Positive Thoughts and Affirmation

In my last blog post, 21 Affirmations You Need to Speak Over Your Life Daily, I provided 21 affirmations that should be consistently spoken over your life. It may seem overwhelming to do this daily but dealing with negative thoughts can be all-consuming. This one habit for saying affirmations can totally change your life and perspective. Once you’ve gotten rid of the negative thought patterns, start with unloading those negative people from your life. There are probably a few in your office that you can do nothing about. You can’t do anything about their negativity, but you can choose to respond to it with a positive outlook.

2.  Make Sure You Have a Self-Care Routine. Every Day!

This is the best thing you can do for yourself and is much needed for your personal sanity. Even if it’s just five or ten minutes a day, believe that you deserve it, and take that much-needed time to and for yourself.

3. Keep Track of Everything at Work – Success and Failures

I love Google Drive. Actually, I love all of Google’s products but Google Drive has been a saving grace for me and my family. We keep everything there. I document everything. The good, the bad and the ugly. You never know when you will need to reference something. I just recently showed a friend our Google Drive and she was so impressed with how organized everything was. If you prefer a small notebook in a drawer, then record things there. However, for each success you see, write them down in the book or created a list in a document in Google Drive. This will help give you something “concrete” to look at when you begin to feel as if things aren’t going your way. For your failures, it will allow you to look back on what didn’t work and where you need improvements.

I really want to stress the importance of you knowing how much you are loved and valued. Don’t let anyone take it away from you with their narrow thinking. You can still treat everyone as valued human beings even when you don’t receive the same treatment back. No one defines your actions but you.

What strategies do you have to maintain a greater sense of value and self-worth at work?

Tags : knowing your worthself-worthtaking work ordersvaluable employoeework demandswork relationships
Kesha Holloway

The author Kesha Holloway

Kesha Holloway is the founder of Living in Your Sweet Spot. She is passionate about being a wife and mother and desires to align herself with women equally passionate about their families. She believes the woman is the backbone of the family unit and it's her mission to help lift women to achieve their purpose.


  1. This is an amazing post!! So insightful and significant in the world we live in! Thank you for sharing these tips!

  2. i was depressed at work for a while and your tips are awesome. i will try those. i’ve been working for this company for so long, but they do not value me. they always demand more and more. we’ve been working over time every day, six days a week aand if there is someone who is not coming to work, i would most likely absorb all that work assigned to that employee who is absent, but when it’s my turn to not come to work or be absent, they would make me feel guilty and ask all these questions. there was one incident when my mom fell and i had to bring her to the hospital and they were asking if i could still work that day. that was an emergency and my boss was really angry and insisting that i should work that day because there were so many jobs. i feel like i was a robot.

    1. Hi Angel! Thanks so much for sharing about your experience. I’ve been in a similar situation and I totally understand what it is like working for someone who doesn’t understand that “family comes first.” One thing that I had to realize was that like is too short to put your job before the family. Now, that’s not to say that you can take advantage of your employer. They do hire us to do a job. However, they can’t replace a family member once they are gone. You have to take care of your family and yourself.

  3. For one to be productive at work, he/she needs to be composed and feeling positive. I currently feel down in our workplace. This is timely. Thank you.

  4. Although the points are good and valid. I never give anyone the chance to disrespect me. And if by any case that happens I make sure to turn the tables.

    1. I think it’s so important to stand up for yourself. I think we can all do it in a way where it’s not “an eye for an eye” but with a mutual understanding that the disrespect will not be tolerated.

    1. True. Unfortunately, it does happen whether it’s intentional or not. I think we should always assume the best in people and ask questions or address the issue at that time if you feel disrespected.

  5. I have never experience to disrespect by anyone from our workplace but if any case that its happen I will definitely ignore it and apply all of these!

  6. EXCELLENT post! I caught myself nodding my head in agreement while reading. I remember those days when I worked in corporate america. At one point it got so bad, it showed up in my physical health. Where my doctor told me I am not going to give you anymore medication, you need to make a change in your life and it starts with your job. That was the wake up call I needed. Some things I did was the following: 1. Write who did I want to be known for after I left this world, 2. Get involved in activities that I cared about that did not involve my career

    1. This is so good. Some times you have to just change you and the situation. I’ve actually seen this happen to someone and they didn’t get better until they changed jobs.

  7. It is horrible to feel disrespected. It happened to me at my job too. I remember I used to have a colleague who got an internship for a big company, so she reduced her hours to part time. But the thing was that she would come to the office after everybody else has left and don’t do any work. I raised the issue with her and she was very rude and disrespectful.

  8. I love these ideas. I try to make sure that I have a routine every day for self care. I also like the idea of keeping track of both successes and failures.

  9. Employees should feel valued and respected in the workplace. However, it’s definitely good to have the tools we need for when we are not respected.

  10. It can be such a delicate balance between maintaining self respect and bringing home a paycheck. I remember being a young single mom and struggling with this very thing. Great suggestions for how to handle this situation!

  11. I wish I had this a few years ago when I was in a TERRIBLE working situation. Self-care routines are so important.

  12. I work in a field that has been traditionally men. Sometimes I wonder if I’m treated a certain way because of that. Overall I am thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given and know I should focus on the positive.

  13. This was great – short and sweet, but packed with a lot to contemplate. Negatives into positives, self care and tracking the highs and lows, goods and bads. Now to learn how to implement this personally.

  14. Great tips! There are a lot of toxic work places out there. I think it is important if the workplace is truly toxic to keep records, report it to HR and the labor board, and find a way to move on.

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