Nothing is more important than how you feel and think about yourself, yet it is the biggest source of problems in romantic and platonic relationships.
Low levels of self-esteem originate from childhood experiences. We received these subliminal messages from our parents or our primary caregivers, as they helped shape our opinion of ourselves.
Some think self-esteem has to do with the way you look or how popular you are with your friends or others. Others believe that having a great body will help you gain self-esteem, while others think you actually need to have accomplished something in order to have good self-esteem.
Regardless of who you are, there is no denying that having low self-esteem can have a negative impact on virtually every aspect of your life, including your health, professional career, and your relationships. The fact of the matter is that it is virtually impossible to have a positive outlook on life if you have low self-esteem.
The difference between someone with a healthy or good self-esteem and someone who doesn’t isn’t ability, per se. It’s simply acknowledgement of your strengths and weaknesses, and moving through the world safe in that understanding.
Which brings me to the question I’m often asked — how can I increase my self-esteem? Thankfully, there are several ways to successfully improve it.
Do The Right Thing
A great way to improve your self-esteem is to do something good. It doesn’t matter if you decide to donate some old clothes, volunteer, or simply be kind to strangers. As long as you help others, you will help yourself.
By doing something good and showing gratitude, you will feel better about yourself and you’ll come to the realization that your life may have a bigger purpose than you thought. This will without a doubt strengthen your self-esteem and make you look forward to life’s upcoming adventures.
Write Three Things That You Appreciate About Yourself
Nothing will improve your self-esteem like learning how to love yourself and be comfortable in your own skin. In order to help you appreciate yourself, it’s a good idea to write down three things that you love about yourself every other night before you go to bed. You don’t have to write down a particularly huge quality.
For example, you can write how you like that you always take a minute to chat with your neighbors every time you see them.
So take a deep breath, slow your brain down and ask yourself this question: what are 3 things I can appreciate (or even love) about myself?
A few examples that have come up when I have used to this exercise are that I:
- I help quite a few people each day through my coaching.
- I love serving my community.
- I love cooking meals for my family.
So you see, these things don’t have to be big things. But you must write at least 3! Upon waking up, make sure to read the things that you wrote down, just so that you remember how much you love yourself. And keep expanding that list as your appreciate and love for yourself grows.
Stop Your Inner Critic
We all have an inner critic, who can greatly influence how we feel and how we handle certain situations. In order to improve your self-esteem, you will need to silence your inner critic and learn how to get through situations without judging yourself or other people.
An inner critic is a term used to describe that voice in your head that constantly whispers negative thoughts. It’s that voice that tells you that you are uglier or worse than your friends or co-workers and tries to keep you ‘small’. It’s the same voice that fills you up with insecurity and gradually destroys your self-esteem.
In order to remove the power that that inner critic has over you, it is important to take action. Taking action will make that voice weaker and will raise your self-esteem.
A simple but powerful practice is that of writing down your goals. Like for example getting into better shape and having more energy for your kids and the people close to you. Or perhaps you have professional or business related goals that will allow you to travel and experience wonderful new things.
When you’ve written your list, put it somewhere visible. Like by your bedside, taped to your mirror, or the refrigerator. This will help keep you motivated and will make it easier for your unconscious mind (your “goal getter”), to come up with new ideas on how to make all of those goals a reality.
In this age of social media, nothing can hurt our self-esteem more than unrealistic and unfair comparisons. “Mary has 3,000 Facebook friends while I only have 300”. Or… “Julie’s relationship with her man is ‘goals’ (she’s posted pics. to prove it!), my relationship sucks”. Do you see how this might impact your feelings about yourself when you fall into the comparison trap?
I know it’s tough, but you need to stop comparing yourself to others. The only person you should be competing against is yourself. These comparisons are unfair because most of the time what you see on Instagram, Facebook and other social media channels is not real. Most of these ‘influensters’ are flaunting a perceived lifestyle to get followers. You have no idea what it’s like to be then, and how exhausting it must be to have to stay ‘on’ 24/7 in order to be able to live up to that manufactured persona.
Handle Failure In A Positive Way
Whenever you leave your comfort zone and try to accomplish something even remotely challenging, you will be faced with some tough situations that will make you stumble and fall. While many see failing as a sign to stop what they’re doing (or in other words, give up), strong individuals see it as something that’s completely normal and expected.
A strong individual will always find a way to observe a failure from a different standpoint and use it to learn something significant. Learning from your mistakes will make you more cautious and will help you avoid the same mistakes twice.
Try Something New
It’s good to go outside of your comfort zone every once in a while. Trying something new will make you challenge yourself in a small or bigger way. Sometimes, you will become successful at what you’re doing, other times you will fail.
However, even when you fail, you’ll be able to learn some very valuable lessons. However, simply by challenging yourself and going outside of your comfort zone will make you realize just how brave you are, which will definitely strengthen your self-esteem.
Surround Yourself With Supportive People
The people that you surround yourself with can have a huge impact on the way you think and feel. If you’re constantly surrounded by destructive people, then you will most likely have low self-esteem. However, being around someone that appreciates and supports you will make you believe in yourself and increase both your confidence and self-esteem.
Having unlimited levels of self-love is not impossible for you. If you want support getting there, reach out to me. I would love to support you.