8 Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem
People often talk about the importance of having a positive self-esteem. But what is self-esteem? Well, self-esteem is a person’s overall sense of his or her value. Essentially, one’s attitude of oneself. This attitude can be influenced by a number of factors such as life experiences, genetics, personality, social interactions, health, and age, just to name a few.
So, why is having a high self-esteem important? Well, various studies have confirmed that a high self-esteem is directly related to our overall well-being. So, the more positively we view ourselves, the better we feel overall. Makes sense right. In fact, accepting yourself for who you are is an important factor in success, relationships, and happiness. It not only allows us to believe in our abilities, but also motivates us to achieve those things we are capable of.
People with high self-esteem tend to:
- Act assertively
- Have loving and respectful relationships
- Know their values
- Accept challenges, solve problems, and take risks
- Handle criticisms with minimal reactivity
- Appreciate themselves and others
- Speak their opinion confidently and kindly
- Recognize and accept emotions
People with low self-esteem tend to:
- People please
- Act reactively
- Struggle to say no
- Find it hard to maintain healthy relationships
- Have a negative world view
- Avoid trying new things and taking risks
- Doubt decisions
- Take things personally
If you are someone who struggles with low self-esteem, there are things you can actively do to help build self-confidence. Try one or all of these strategies to help you move to a happier and healthier you.
- Keep a compliment jar. Make an effort to write down at least one thing you like about yourself or that you are proud of every day and put it in a jar. You can also include compliments you receive from others. It will feel great as the jar fills up with positive sentiments. It can be so easy to focus on all of the perceived negative feedback we get and forget about all of the positive. The compliment jar is a good visual reminder of all of the good.
- Surround yourself with positive people. It is hard to be positive if you spend your time around others who are also self-critical or who are judgmental of others. Mae a choice to surround yourself with people that not only lift you up but are positive about themselves too.
- Journal. One way to help release feelings in a healthy way is to write them down. Freeform journaling is a good way to get all of your thoughts and feelings out on paper and gives you time and space to reflect. You can also keep a separate positive journal to keep track of positive moments, affirmations, coping strategies, and things you are grateful for.
- Know the impact of your negativity. We often develop negative thinking habits that can distort reality and lead to feelings of self-doubt and anxiety. The more we become aware of these negative thoughts, the more likely we are to be able to start to change them. Next time you catch yourself catastrophizing, blaming, or generalizing; stop, challenge, or replace the thought with a positive one.
- Ask yourself what you would tell a friend. Ask yourself how you would respond if one of your friends was saying negative things about themselves or feeling down. Would you agree with them? No, of course not! You would remind them of all of their positive qualities. You would not want a friend to be self-critical, so why is it OK that you are?
- Learn to let it go. A little anxiety is healthy. It motivates us to work harder and do better. Too much, however, can be paralyzing. Carrying around unhealthy amounts of self-doubt, self-criticism, and judgment rarely motivates us to improve. So, as the adage goes, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
- Be the change. Developing a healthy self-esteem takes work. If you want to feel better about yourself, you have to wake up everyday and make the decision to view yourself in a positive light. Start every morning with a positive affirmation and end each night reflecting on a positive from the day. Learn to accept compliments instead of shrugging them off or disagreeing. Challenge negative thoughts. Focus on your strengths.
- Recognize effort not outcome. Often times we can get caught up in the end result. We want to get straight As, perfect reviews, or first place. But, sometimes, we can try really hard and not get the A, the trophy or the positive feedback. Does this mean we aren’t good, smart, or talented? Of course not. What really matters if the effort we put in to things. Even if things don’t turn out the way you hoped, recognize the effort you put forth.