Everybody feels down about themselves from time to time. It’s normal. But when these thoughts and feelings become persistent, it can indicate low self-esteem.
When you have low self-esteem, you generally find it difficult to love yourself, and you may even loathe yourself. You tend to have negative thoughts about your worth and value as a person.
It’s often a vicious cycle. This is how it works: Your low self-esteem makes you feel worse about yourself, so much so that you are hardly left with any motivation to build up your self-esteem. As your brain constantly focuses on negative thoughts, it cements your negative beliefs even though they likely have little basis in reality. This further deteriorates your self-esteem.
People with healthy self-esteem appreciate the way they are and take pride in their achievements. They accept their flaws, but they do not let these flaws deter their self-confidence. They generally see their flaws as challenges to adjust and improve. Thus, healthy self-esteem can make you much more likely to express yourself confidently in personal and professional situations.
The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.
Here’s are the tips to boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.
1. Stop being overly critical of yourself. Everyone has a self-critic inside them. It can either challenge you to achieve things in life or completely drag your self-esteem down. Whenever you hear your inner critic shouting destructive thoughts in your mind, say “Stop!” and practice positive self-talk or distract your mind with something else.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be someone who is better than you at one skill or another. This does not mean they are ‘better” than you as a person. The only person you need to compare yourself to is.....you. You can look to others for inspiration or guidance, but not for comparison. How far you have come and what do you choose to do to improve further. This will motivate you and also boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.
3. Surround yourself with positive people. Spend more time with uplifting people who motivate you to achieve your dreams and goals. Avoid negative and unkind people who pull you down and make you feel bad about yourself. Emotionally healthy friends will build you up and offer supportive critiques when needed.
4. Practice positive affirmations daily. Write truthful, positive statements about yourself in a journal every day, when you wake up and before you go to bed. Make positivity an everyday habit. If you have trouble coming up with something positive to write at first, take your time and open your mind and heart. Even the act of choosing self-improvement is a positive trait!
5. Be honest. You should love yourself and be honest with yourself and others. Accepting yourself the way you are will help raise your self-confidence. Even accept the flawed areas you find within yourself as honest aspects you wish to adjust.
6. Stop giving so much importance to others’ opinions. If you constantly worry about what others think of you, you will never be able to choose your own path. Make choices and decisions based on your wants and needs, not solely on other people’s expectations. You can look to trusted ones for guidance and wisdom, but ultimately your decisions are your own responsibility.
7. Stop being a perfectionist. Perfectionism can stop you from taking action, as you are too worried about not doing it perfectly or not being satisfied with your performance. As a result, you procrastinate. Instead of striving for perfection, go for the “good enough” result. Remember the saying, “Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.”
8. Don’t berate yourself for making mistakes. Talk to yourself as a friend would in times of failures. Everyone makes mistakes. Focus on what you can learn from your mistakes and let the regret go.
9. Stop repetitive thoughts. Avoid overthinking things. Instead, distract your mind by focusing on something positive. A good rule of thumb is this: If you have considered the same thought 3 times, it is time to either do something about it by taking action or let it go.
10. Smile more often. Smiling actually changes the blood flow to your brain, and releases endorphins, thus encouraging happiness and relieving stress. Smiling more often can also change the way others respond to you, which can create a positive interactional loop.
11. Exercise more often. Being physically fit and mentally, emotionally sound helps you gain better control over yourself and elevates your self-esteem. Go for a brisk walk or engage in vigorous exercise at least three times a week, as allowed by your general physical health.
12. Eat a well-nourished, balanced diet. If you don’t eat right, it can affect your mood significantly. Plan healthy meals and stick to it. And be proud of your accomplishment.
13. Get adequate sleep. Sleep is one of the most important factors for all areas of wellness. People with low self-esteem tend to get either too little or too much sleep. And both the conditions make it more difficult to improve your self-esteem. Do not underestimate your need for sleep.
14. Take care of yourself. When you look your best, it raises your self-confidence and self-esteem. Pay attention to your personal hygiene. Style your hair, trim your nails, floss your teeth and wear clothes that make you feel good about how you are presenting yourself.
15. Stay focused on the present. Dwelling on the past and worrying about the future is usually pointless. You can’t change the past or predict the future. Staying in the moment will also make it easier to focus on the positives in your life.
16. Write down three things you are grateful for at the end of the day. Whenever you feel down, you can go through the list to give your self-esteem a boost.
17. Do what you enjoy. When you do something you enjoy and become proficient at it, you are raising your self-esteem and confidence.
18. Care for others. When you do something good for others, you feel uplifted and valued. It’s really a win-win scenario. You can be genuinely helpful to someone while feeling your self-esteem and confidence get a boost.
19. Get a pet. Pets can give you much-needed attention, affection and unconditional love. They make you feel as if you are the best person in the world. Spending time with your pet will also distract your mind away from negative thoughts and boost your mood. Just don’t count on them for all of your emotional needs....you need people too!
20. Celebrate small achievements. Success cannot be achieved overnight. Start with small steps and gradually reach higher. Be proud of the small steps that you have successfully taken towards your goal.
21. Be helpful and considerate in small ways. When you are kind to others, you tend to be kind to yourself as well. Take a few minutes to help someone out every day. It could be something as simple as letting someone go ahead of you in a long line.
22. Try something new. Get out of your comfort zone regularly and do something challenging. Try to learn a new skill or a new language. Finding the courage to take risks and be open to new things will change your opinion about yourself.
23. Do something you have been putting off for a long time. Clean your garden, tidy up your wardrobe, fix your car – do anything that involves making a decision and getting it done. It will be a weight off your shoulders which can make a huge difference to your self-esteem.
24. Get relaxed. Do something that is relaxing – may be a walk, dancing, singing or getting a massage. Anything that will relax you will reduce your stress level. When you are relaxed, your mind tends to focus on more positive things.
25. Go on a trip or an adventurous activity. Getting out of your house and spending time in a different place can help raise your self-confidence.
26. Read inspirational material. Be it an autobiography or a self-help book, read something that inspires you and makes you feel good about yourself.
27. Take care of your relationships. If you have good, valuable relationships with your friends and family, it boosts your self-esteem.
28. Teach a skill. Teach someone something you are good at. It helps you gain a sense of control over yourself and taps into your self-confidence, further giving it a boost.
29. Find your passion. Finding your passion or pursuing a long-term goal will help give you a sense of purpose in life. It will boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.
30. Give and receive physical affection with family and friends. Physical touch strengthens the bond between many people. It reduces stress and improves your mood. Give out lots of hugs and kisses if physical affection appeals to you. If you are a bit more reserved in regards to touch, consider the kind of physical engagement that does feel good to you.
31. Raise your standards. Challenge yourself to do a bit better at work or be a more loving parent. We all have room to improve, and focusing on our own standards can be very rewarding.
32. Broaden your network of friends. Meeting new people and socializing will help you feel good and also create a new life and career opportunities.
33. Set boundaries. Be clear about what is okay with you and what is not. Don’t allow people to take advantage of you.
34. Make amends. If you have hurt someone, apologize and ask for forgiveness. This will help release the negative hold it has over your self-esteem.
35. Clear your debts. Living with debts can lower your self-esteem. Becoming debt-free is a great accomplishment, and it gives you new freedom to do things you want to do.
36. Quit using substances. Smoking, drinking and doing drugs can lead to low self-esteem. Also, some turn to substances to cope with low self-esteem. If this is you, know that you are not alone and that there is help out there. You are encouraged to reach out to your local hospital or community mental health center for more information.
37. Be a mentor. Guiding, supporting or mentoring someone will earn you their respect, which will boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.
38. Slow down. When you are rushed and overscheduled, you do not have time to make positive changes in your life. You are always stressed and worked up. Create to-do lists and get things done promptly.
39. Do not gossip. Gossiping about others often makes us feel superior.....in the moment. But trying to raise your self-esteem by belittling others just doesn’t lead to healthy self-esteem.
40. Initiate and make plans. Be an initiator, the one who takes charge. Don’t wait for others to lead the way. As you do it more, it will improve your self-confidence.
41. Tame your expression of anger. Anger is a natural emotion. However, uncontrolled, persistent anger can be a sign of low self-worth and despair. It’s important to identify the true internal source of the persistent anger and to consider the healthiest ways to express it.
42. Find productive ways to spend your time. Avoid watching endless hours of TV, playing games or surfing the web. Spend your time on something creative instead. It will increase your self-worth.
43. Consider others your equal. Look at everyone you meet as your equal and potential friend, instead of being your competitor.
44. Be a learner. Approach all things with a beginner’s mentality, instead of thinking you know it all. This will help you be humble and open-minded.
45. Accept compliments. Most of the time, people with low self-esteem brush off compliments. You don’t take them seriously because you think you are not worthy. Instead, absorb the compliments, appreciate them and really take them in.
46. Don’t be afraid of voicing your opinions. Be fearless when it comes to voicing your opinion and take pride in it. If someone disagrees, they just have a different way of looking at things. Everyone has a right to their own opinions – including you.
47. Identify what you can change and what you cannot. If you are not happy with something and you can change it, take action. But if it is something you cannot do anything about, accept it. Obsessing over your shortcomings can lower your self-esteem. In fact, you may be the only one who notices it.
48. View success differently. Many people define success according to wealth, status and possessions. Instead, view success as successful and loving relationships, enriching experiences, and meaningful and passionate work.