Self-esteem is something that comes from within, and your level of self-esteem depends on how you value and perceive yourself.
People with healthy self-esteem are confident about their abilities and take pride in their accomplishments, appreciating their own worth. They accept their faults and know that they are not perfect, but at the same time, they don’t let their flaws harm their self-confidence or self-image.
Moments of low self-esteem are normal. Everyone goes through it. Every single person has something they are self-conscious about. But when you find it hard to maintain healthy self-esteem, your self-critical thoughts start affecting your behavior and decisions. It stops you from living your life to the fullest.
You start fearing judgment from others. What you often forget is that nobody judges you like the way you judge yourself.
To overcome low self-esteem, you need to make conscious efforts to improve the way you think and feel about yourself.
- List your strengths and weaknesses. Take an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Write down 10 of each. If yourself-esteem is low, listing your strengths could be a tough job, but force yourself to identify 10 strengths. Think of the traits that others have appreciated in you, such as being a pillar of support when a family member or friend needed you, doing a great job at work or organizing amazing parties. Note it down even if you think the strength is stupid or too small to add to the list.
The list of strengths will help you feel good about yourself, while the list of weaknesses will give you a fair idea as to what you need to work on. You can also share your lists with a close and trusted partner or friend for feedback.
- Celebrate your successes. When you think you are not good at something, it can stop you from doing things that you enjoy. This can make you feel worse about yourself. Just try your best and instead of criticizing yourself when something doesn’t go well, focus on your successes and celebrate them.
- Improve what you can change and learn to accept what you can’t. Self-improvement always follows self-acceptance. Accept the things that you have no control over and work on things that can be changed. When you accept your flaws and have the courage to change what you can, you can overcome low self-esteem.
- Learn to live in the moment. When you start living in the moment, you’ll tend to make decisions consciously and wisely. These conscious decisions and actions help you raise your self-esteem.
- Practice mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation helps you stay connected to yourself. It helps you become active and assertive. When you are aware of your thoughts, it enables you to choose your responses and participate in your life.
When you take responsibility for your life, you feel empowered and this boosts your self-esteem.
- Stay authentic to yourself. Stay authentic to yourself – know who you are, what your purpose is, and your values, principles and goals in life. When conflicts arise, be grounded in what you believe in and resist bowing to the pressure of others. When you succumb to pressure, you feel powerless and it affects your self-esteem.
- Live purposefully. Living purposefully is living consciously. When you live purposefully, you take responsibility for your choices and actions. You have a goal and you take the actions needed to achieve it.
- Practice personal integrity. When you stand by what you believe in and live according to your values more and more, you overcome low self-esteem. Acting against what you believe in will make you feel worthless – over and over again. When it comes to self-esteem, it is your inner voice that matters.
- Adjust your self-image. Your self-esteem depends on how you see yourself. Everybody has a mental image of themselves and this self-image determines your self-confidence and self-esteem. Work on your self-image if it’s not a good one.
- Know yourself. Get to know yourself well. Analyze your thoughts. Start listening to them. Write them down. This will help you analyze the causes of your negative thoughts. Think of your limitations, and look at whether they are real limitations or just limits that you believe exist. Dig deep within to know your true self.
- Replace negative self-talk with positive internal dialogue. Positive thoughts or positive inner dialogue work effectively to improve your self-esteem. Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. Instead of saying, ‘I always screw up’ or ‘I am a failure,’ turn things around by saying, ‘I can work this out’ or ‘I know I can do it next time.’ With regular practice, you will see how changing your thoughts will make great things happen.
- Act positive. Thinking positive is helpful, but you also have to put those thoughts into action. When you start acting on your positive thoughts, you start changing yourself. Your actions define you, so take positive actions. Put positivity in everything you do and think.
- Do not set unrealistic expectations. When you have unrealistic expectations for yourself or from life and fail to achieve them, your self-esteem takes a blow. Be mindful and realistic in your expectations.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparisons are almost always unfair, as you tend to compare your weaknesses to other people’s strengths. And more importantly, what you think you know about another person’s life is usually not the full picture.
Remember, you will never be perfect – nobody is. Be OK with your imperfections and focus on your strengths. Accept that there will always be someone better off than you, and stay focused on your own goals and achievements.
- Avoid being judgmental. Be non-judgmental and simply accept yourself – your flaws, your experiences, your failures and successes. Resist the inner critic.
- Be around people who love you for who you are. Spend time with people who love you and treat you the way you would want to be treated. This will boost your self-confidence and help you feel good about yourself.
- Talk about your low self-esteem. It is only when you start talking about how you feel that you can reassess how you view yourself. Talk about your feelings and low self-esteem with someone you trust. More often than not, your view of yourself is completely different from how others see you. A new perspective can help you feel better about yourself.
- Stop trying to please others. Let go of pretenses. Stop your autopilot thinking and behavior aimed at pleasing others without even thinking about your own needs. Have the courage to be who you are without any excuses or pretense. Being unapologetic for who you are paves way to overcome low self-esteem.
- Be compassionate with yourself. Love and accept yourself the way you are. When you are compassionate with yourself, you provide yourself love, security and acceptance. This helps you feel good about yourself.